Freelancers Call Field Engineer Service ‘Simple, Efficient, Profitable’

Field Engineer today has about 45,000 skilled engineers around the world who have developed profiles on the company’s platform and made themselves available for contract work. Who are they?

Gregory Malsack of Milwaukee has a full-time job managing and maintaining servers and infrastructure for an Oshkosh, Wis.-based company. With his flexible hours, Malsack is able to take on side gigs and, on average, does two or three jobs each month through Field Engineer.

Gerald Monks of Joliet, Ill., also has a full-time job supporting, maintaining and troubleshooting routers and switches in a Lombard, Ill., network operations center. Because he mostly works the midnight shift Thursday through Sunday, he also has time for freelance jobs and is now doing as many as five a week—even several in a single day.

The Field Engineer database lists engineers in more than 180 countries, including about 24,000 in the U.S. and Canada. They are of all ages, according to Field Engineer CTO Kaushik Bhaumik, and all skill levels—from basic cabling technicians to engineers with top-level certifications and expertise in network design and project management.

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They also run the gamut in terms of their work situations. Some have full-time jobs and take on contract work to supplement their income. Others who prefer the freedom of the Gig Economy string together numerous contract jobs to make their living. Others are retired or semi-retired and perform contract work for the money and to keep their skills sharp.

Malsack has been working with Field Engineer for about two years. Most of his work is circuit turn-up jobs, the final step in building new T1 or fiber internet or phone systems before they go live. The jobs are typically scheduled a week or a week and a half in advance and take between two and four hours. He has college diplomas in computer electronics and small-business management, and by his estimate has more than 50 industry certifications.

“The Field Engineer service provides a huge benefit in handling all of the back-office stuff: planning, hardware acquisition, customer service. All of the things that a guy on his own can’t bill for, but takes time, which is his bread and butter,” Malsack said. “I simply accept the job, perform the job, turn in the work order and pictures, and get paid. Simple, efficient, profitable.”

Monks, for his part, has been working with Field Engineer for more than two years, taking on jobs in the metro Chicago area, northwestern Indiana and even western Michigan. “I do a lot of rack-and-stack,” he said of the servers and routers he installs—often for IP telephony systems—and does troubleshooting for customers.

Monks’ work background is mostly in telecom and his resumé boasts the ITIL Foundation certification, Cisco Certified Network Associate and CCNA Voice certifications, and a number of Microsoft server certifications.

While he has worked with other freelance job services, Monks said they don’t provide the kind of backup he gets from Field Engineer.

“You really don’t have any support [with some of the other freelance services]. You have to figure it out yourself.” He cites the detailed work orders provided by the Field Engineer system—right down to the provided maps to the job site. And if a job runs over, the system takes steps to reschedule an engineer’s next job. “With Field Engineer, you have someone there to help you,” he said.