I was a field apps engineer for two years, and I did it part time for a year with a different company. Furthermore, I've met several other apps engineers who transitioned from test engineering. Granted this is purely anecdotal evidence, but is there a good career path from one to the other?
Let's look at why a test engineer might do well in this position
- He has a solid technical background.
- If the company has multiple product lines, he probably has written tests or helped to test those products, so he has a breadth of knowledge.
- A test engineer who has seen various product failures can help customers who may have similar problems.
- A test engineer has seen the negatives of the product (i.e. - failures) but is still focused on the product (making it work right by correcting failures, or at least weeding out bad products). With this attitude a field applications engineer can build a layer of trust with the customer while at the same time help to sell him on the product.
But in the end it all still depends on the person.