Designer, site manager or salesman?

Designer, site manager or salesman?


Let me start with an email I got a while ago:

I am a student of the last semester of II degree studies at the University of Technology (COW specialization – District Heating, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning). call you with a specific question.
Perhaps you do not come across such letters every day, but I hope for a reliable answer, of course, if you find a moment for it.
I have Industry Experience, treated more as an internship / summer internship: 3 months as an assistant designer and 3 months as a construction engineer. Recently, I would like to try my hand at trading as a sales engineer, technical and sales advisor or sales representative “in the sanitary industry, regardless of the emphasis: HVAC, heating / heating or WOD-KAN. I sent some CV and this time I got an offer, and
later a meeting for which I have an appointment next week in an international company in the field of heating and heat engineering as a “Sales Engineer”. I would like to ask you if I can and if it is not a problem – for advice. What do you think I can count on as a Sales Engineer in an international company when it comes to remuneration (basis and commission – I still have the status of a student), as well as duties that I will face at the very beginning. I must admit that I am an ambitious man, and this industry is however
demanding about my current position. You are a person who has qualifications and is knowledgeable in our industry, so I would like to ask you for a short advice on how to behave, and for obvious reasons I would like to prepare very well for the meeting, do well.
I will understand if you do not find time for an answer, but I must admit that it would be extremely helpful for me – just your speech on this subject, because the end of my studies is approaching and I would like to take the right direction for, say, further self-realization. On the Internet you can find a number of pages where in my opinion there are overstated statistics, or inappropriate for me, because all ads are aimed at people with min. 2 years of experience in sales or in a similar position.

It doesn’t matter if you are already a student of environmental engineering or just graduating from high school. You must read this article. It doesn’t really matter if you study environmental engineering, construction, energy or mining. The rules that I will describe in a moment are universal and apply to every industry.

After this article you will know:
1. Which profession pays off the most: designer of sanitary installations, manager of sanitary works, investor’s supervision inspector or seller . technical, manager of the region, director of the region and many others)
2. Where will you earn the most: being a designer, manager or salesman?
3. What You Can Do And What Should You Do
4. Is a woman in construction worse than a man?

Most of the graduates intend to find a job compatible with the field of study. In our industry, the problem is with the right “anchoring”. We have so many different fields that even I, 7 years after graduation, having the qualifications to design and manage construction works, do not understand everything.

Environmental engineering is a very broad industry, in which we can distinguish the following industries?

– water supply installations,
– sewage installations,
– gas installations,
– ventilation and air conditioning installations,
– hydrant installations,
– sprinkler installations,
– sewage systems rainwater,
– sanitary sewage systems,
– water supply networks,
– heating networks,
– gas networks,
– melioration,
– hydrotechnics.

If I forgot something, correct me! There is a lot of it, right?

When looking for a job you will have a lot of questions:
Which industry to choose?
Which profession does not fit?
Where will I earn more?
What would I like to do? What if he is disappointed after a few months?

Unfortunately, with most of the questions I will leave you alone, I can only tell you in a few sentences what the construction industry really looks like!

I agree with the first thesis. I have been listening for 15 years that the profession of an engineer is profitable and well paid. Based on my experience, I confirm. Becoming an engineer paid off. The first 3-4 years are the worst. Or maybe even 5-6 years.
Except that 30,000 are missing. engineers do not agree anymore. There are thousands of engineers, only employers are picky, they require experience for which they are able to pay well (this experience also varies and it all depends on the company we work with and our charisma).

Every good engineer is supposed to get a nice job right away?

I just ask you two questions. Who is a good engineer and when do we become one? What is a good job? I do not deny that Poland has many great engineers, and even more have very good earnings, but we are still talking about engineers with several years of experience.
The article is addressed to people with no experience, after studies, who are just choosing their career path. However, it may happen that someone works in the design industry, and after reading this article, he will change the industry to sales or executive “and vice versa”.

I created this industry blog because I believe that the curricula provided by technical universities in Poland do not fully prepare students for the profession of engineer. Students do not expect their career path to be straightforward. However, too few practical tasks make the path of an engineer’s personal development long and winding.

After graduation, the employer expects experience from us that we do not have. Of course, he can hire us right away, but for the entire gross PLN 1,600. I know cases of working on an internship for a period of 1 year, just to win the favors of the employer and have a chance for an employment contract for PLN 1600 gross (after a year of internship – congratulations). I also know cases where someone has been looking for a job for a year, a year and a half and cannot find a job. It depends mainly on the region of Poland east – west, place of residence, village – city, etc. The easiest way to find a job is in a big city: Poznań, Warsaw, Wrocław, Kraków, Gdańsk etc. These are cities where the labor market is very large and open to new, ambitious people. Of course, I am not persuading anyone to change their place of residence, but I am writing that it is easier to get a job in the city that meets our expectations. I have been living in Poznań for 12 years and there is a lot of work here !!! When I hear that someone cannot find a job in Poznań, I get nervous and take 10 deep breaths. There is no problem with finding a vacancy, the problem is with graduates who have too high an opinion of themselves and think that they should earn more as graduates than the employer offers them. What do you have to make me pay you PLN 2,500 net. You have finished your well, you have no experience, the knowledge passed on in studies and experience in the industry are two different fairy tales. Let’s be honest. When starting work in the profession, we learn everything from scratch. In elementary school, we learned to read and write. Studies teach us contacts with people, extracting the most important information from the maze. If our father, uncle, does not run a construction company in which we worked every vacation, we have no experience and nothing to offer to the former employer.
In construction, everyone has to work off a few years, gain experience and only then can say that they have some experience. On purpose, I didn’t even mention the building license. Many people think that the moment they get a building license, a beautiful new world will open up for them, in which they will earn real money.
Permissions are just a piece of paper that without experience means nothing.

Let’s look through the eyes of an employer!

What is the difference between a senior assistant with several years of experience and a designer who passed the building license exam a month ago? Only that this young designer already has great ambitions for high earnings, he feels “taller” because he has powers. All trouble. It’s better to fire him and hire a senior assistant who will do the same, for less money, without whining.
I’m not judging anyone here, and I’m not saying that it always has to be that way.

This was the case with me, I did my powers, waited after six months, then I applied to the Director for a salary change. After a month, I got the answer – TERMINATION! That was what I had with my powers. I was looking for a job for several months (with 5 years of experience in the industry and construction qualifications for unlimited design in the field of installation, heating, ventilation, gas, water and sewage networks, installations and devices). I didn’t find a job, maybe I wanted too much (I called 3500-4000 PLN net during the interviews), or maybe the employers wanted to give me too little. One lady proposed PLN 2,500 net + commissions for timely completed projects, and if I have a delay in delivering the project, I would earn PLN 2,500-3,000 net. I laughed at you at the interview. I thought about my friends, senior assistants, who are not responsible for the projects (always the designer who conquers the project) and earn up to PLN 3,000 net. And I have to work for the same money and conquer projects. We will not play like this. I started a company !. The first two years were really hard and if not for the help of my brother, who owns, one of the best interactive agencies in Poland, incl. is one of the few authorized Google partners in Poland – I would not stand out. This is not a sponsored entry, but the gratitude of the older brother 🙂 I will write about the development of my own company and how to enter the market in 2 years in a separate article. But I don’t know when it will be, it’s too early to write for free how I developed my company. Some people just don’t deserve that.

I will not elaborate on the features that every engineer should have. I will describe it in detail in a separate article.

Certainly every engineer must have great imagination and predisposition to technical sciences. It cannot do without it.


What does an installation designer do?
Performs conceptual, construction and working designs for the sanitary industry in the field of:

1. Water supply:

water supply systems
water connections
water installations (cold, hot, circulation)
fire networks
fire connections
fire installations
water treatment plants

2. Sewerage:

sanitary sewage systems
sanitary sewage system connections
sanitary sewerage systems
rainwater sewage systems
rainwater sewage systems
rainwater sewage systems
technological sewage systems
technological sewage connections > technological sewage systems
technologies of sewage pumping stations and sewage treatment plants

3. Gas:

gas networks
gas connections
gas installations
technical gas installations
medical gas installations
compressed air installations

4. Heating:

district heating networks
heating connections
central heating installations (radiator, floor)
solar collectors
heat pumps
heat hub technologies
gas boiler house technologies
oil boiler house technologies biomass boiler house technologies

5. Ventilation and air conditioning

gravity ventilation installations
mechanical ventilation installations
technological ventilation installations
air-conditioning installations

As a designer, I must tell you about a very important difference between a designer of sanitary networks and a designer of sanitary installations. When designing networks, we have 80% consultations and only 20% of design. When designing installations, the opposite is true, we have 20% agreements and 80% design.
It results from the entire administrative procedure, decisions, arrangements and opinions that we have to obtain when designing up to 100 m of water supply network. That’s all a designer does, and it’s not easy.

The designer of interior installations only deals with what is in the building. All arrangements end with the architect, constructor and electrician!
Take this into account when choosing a job as a designer or assistant designer.


What does an engineer / site manager do ?:

– I supervise the construction in accordance with the provisions of the Construction Law, Polish standards as well as health and safety and fire regulations
– is responsible for quality, timeliness and financial discipline during the works performed,
– supervises the execution of works based on the contract requirements technical documentation,
– creates schedules and plans for the organization of works,
– supervises the development of executive and as-built documentation,
– supervises the work of subcontractors,
– coordinates the delivery of materials and equipment for construction,
– manages subordinate employees,
– is responsible for people’s lives on the construction site.

A few points, but how serious. The latter is the most important. The construction manager is responsible for the lives of all people on the construction site. Often, the manager carries out several construction sites, and visits some only at the beginning and end of the construction site. It does not change the fact that the manager is responsible for poor construction site security, lack of employee examinations, OHS training, etc. If something happens, the manager will be responsible for everything. Of course, the manager carries out some or even all of the industries mentioned above in the designer.


A technical and sales advisor or sales advisor is a hybrid of an engineer and a salesman. A good seller does not have to be a specialist in his industry, he must know the products (have a certain level of knowledge, not fully specified). Technical problem solving should be dealt with by the technical department, which is supported by the sales department. However, a sales engineer is often a person from the technical department who does not leave the office on a daily basis and deals with the technical support of a sales advisor. These names are used in various companies, and the name of the vacancy itself depends, for example, on the staff, who does not even know why this name is different. It’s just what it’s supposed to be called and no matter what names are used by other companies. Let’s agree that we put everyone in one bag for the purposes of this article. I am writing about typical salespeople.
You should always carefully read the scope of duties and expectations of our employer. To avoid the situation that we are employed as a technical department engineer, and in fact we will look for new customers and travel all over Poland.
A sales engineer is one of the most important links in the company, he is responsible for the first contact with the customer and making a good impact.
The main task of the seller is to find new customers who can buy products or services of our company. The key is to establish long-term relationships with customers through periodic customer visits and maintaining positive relationships. Such clients can be design offices, contractors, municipal companies or other Investors.
In this profession we can earn the most , in return we have to show the greatest charisma and cleverness. The seller should be easy to establish and maintain contacts.
A trader is assigned to a given region and depending on the size of the company and the number of sellers for the whole country, you can have one voivodship, eg Wielkopolska, two voivodeships, eg Wielkopolska and Kujawsko-Pomorskie, or a half of Poland, eg the northern part. In terms of delegation, the work is comparable to a construction manager who goes to a construction site.

Main tasks of a sales engineer/sales advisor:
– looking for new customers,
– maintaining good relations with customers,
– conducting trainings,
– meeting customer needs,
– regular sales meeting,
– coordinating sales projects,
– supporting marketing activities,
– cooperation with all we operate companies,
– selection of devices and assistance in designing devices,
– negotiating commercial contracts,
– signing contracts,
– preparing reports for the headquarters (probably one of the worst and most time-consuming activities of the seller).

The seller is not easy, he leaves the construction site thinking that he has just sold a few air handling units, but he does not know that he comes out through the main gate, and the competitor’s seller enters through the back gate with a better offer. And so on and on… ..

We can cooperate with a design office for years, design devices already at the concept stage, then construction and execution design, conduct a dozen or so negotiation talks, and finally the contractor will buy a device from our competition – THIS INDUSTRY: )

The biggest advantage over other professions is earnings. The designer and construction manager have a specific career path and rather limited earnings (unless we have our own business then the earnings are unlimited). The seller is not enough that immediately after graduation he can get a decent base plus a commission, the earnings are unlimited (although this also happens in companies). The company should assume that the seller gets a commission on sales. The owner should care that the trader is motivated and brings as many orders as possible, and thus earns well. Unfortunately, this is not true. Some companies have a certain maximum commission on sales.
After exceeding a certain portfolio of orders, no matter how many additional orders we bring to the company, we will earn the same.

You have to take my word for it. Earnings depend on the company, sales director, sales policy, company capital and the owner himself and his sales approach (i.e. how much he intends to motivate his salespeople) and many other very strange factors.
Remember once and for all: TRADE WORK IT IS NOT EASY

It’s nice to try your hand at a little bit in each profession and decide for yourself what we can do after a few years.
There are people who were born designers and don’t even think about another job , even if their earnings remain at PLN 4,000-5,000.

The worst option is to be an assistant for 10 years or more. Without qualifications, we will not earn more than PLN 3000-3200.

After graduation, each of us wants to find a job quickly and does not think in which industry we will work. Most of us know if they want to work in a public administration unit, a small private company or a large corporation? We know if we want to start a professional career in a design office, executive company or public administration.
Most students have high financial expectations. We would like to earn from 2,500 to 4,000 PLN, and employers offer from 1,500 to 2,500 PLN. Why is it like that? After all, we finished the well and we are horny, we partyed the whole well, we obtained the Master’s degree in engineering, and our beloved employer does not want to give us 3000 PLN on hand? Why is it like that? Because studies and work are two different fairy tales, we have no experience and we have to learn everything. We have to pay the fees of graduating. Frycowe, which can last up to 5 years.
The way our professional career unfolds depends on our charisma and commitment.

Our career is a great chain reaction. Each choice gives rise to new choices. Which path we choose will influence the kind of people we meet or don’t know in our lives.

I started myself in a project where I worked for almost three years. The next 2 years I worked in a design and construction company. After 5 years, I found my way in my own company. I even had a small episode with the Employment Office. Personally, I do not recommend it, one big failure. I can’t imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t met a few people from those companies, people with whom I still work and I have very good relationships.

After graduation, I was at over a dozen interviews, among others in:
– a design office from Poznań (a large corporation with foreign capital),
– an executive company near Poznań (then a good company that implemented interesting projects of sanitary networks) ,
– a manufacturer of sewage equipment near Poznań.

I was faced with a choice that probably most of you have!

In the design office, of course, I started as an assistant. 1800 PLN net earnings at the beginning, work on the spot in Poznań. It wasn’t bad for 2008

The contractor company offered me a job of an engineer for the construction of a sanitary sewage system in Jelenia Góra. 2000 PLN on hand plus business trips. Total about PLN 2,500 after graduation. Work on a business trip from Monday to Friday, but the money is cool.

The device manufacturer was looking for a trade advisor. I would have the Lower Silesian voivodeship under me. Working in a delegation is still behind the wheel. At the beginning, PLN 2,000 over a period of several months of training at the company’s headquarters. Later, fieldwork, business meetings, etc. They promised three national averages, ie approx. PLN 8,000-9,000. Of course, go back to what I wrote about advisers. Money won’t do itself, we have to work it out. Such money is earned by salespeople with several years of experience, a contact base and hard-earned projects.

Guess what I chose? ……. I became an assistant designer.
I started the hard way to design permission. And although in other companies I could earn about PLN 9,000 more per year – I preferred to stay in Poznań, finish my job by 3 p.m. and live peacefully.
It took me a good 4 years to obtain the qualifications.

If I chose to contract, I could apply for robots management after 2 years. I would be a different person, I would have gained other experienced people and made other colleagues.

If I had chosen to sell after a few years, I would have been able to earn quite a nice cash, but I would have closed my way to qualifications, both for designing and managing construction works.
I would like to educate you, dear readers, students, graduates, etc. shape your future. If you can’t find a job for a long time, don’t give up. Take what they give, but don’t rest on your laurels and look for a new job. Usually, when we are looking for a job, there are no interesting vacancies, and when we have one, suddenly there are many interesting offers.

Add Comment