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Expert Success Tips For Industrial Automation Engineering Professionals

Whether you’re an industrial automation engineering student or a seasoned professional, possessing an arsenal of useful tips and tricks to succeed can prove useful. This article provides tips to improve your skills and help you stand out from the rest of the crowd.

In the rapidly evolving world of industrial automation, mastering the right skills is essential for students embarking on their educational journey and professionals navigating the ever-evolving industry landscape.

Dr. Steve Mackay, the Dean of Engineering at the Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT), and to Raymond Kene, a lecturer at EIT’s School of Electrical Engineering spoke to provide expert insights. Their combined experience offers valuable perspectives on the skills needed to thrive in automation engineering.

What is Automation Engineering?

Industrial Automation is a field that revolves around the study, design, and implementation of systems that control and operate various processes without human intervention. The automation industry continually seeks individuals who can drive innovation and create novel solutions, making it a sector worth considering.

The need for skilled professionals spans numerous engineering domains, including automation. Opportunities in automation abound in diverse sectors and industries, making a career in automation an attractive prospect.

Automation engineering embodies the art of conceptualizing, creating, and implementing intricate automated systems. Its roots trace back to embracing principles that govern the design and operation of scenarios autonomously driven by programming and sensors. Engineers occupy a diverse landscape of roles within the realm of automation expertise. Their responsibilities encompass designing, developing, and meticulously overseeing various projects, highlighting the necessity for a versatile skill set.

Traditional industry stories often focus on the idea that there isn’t a set routine, and this idea strongly connects with the field of automation engineering. Automation engineering is dynamic and ever-evolving, making it an exciting and challenging career choice. The ever-changing job dynamics demand adaptability, urging potential candidates to embrace a flexible and ‘go-with-the-flow’ attitude—a highly sought-after quality by employers.

Raymond Kene                                                        Dr. Steve Mackay,

Expert Tips for Industrial Automation Engineering Students

A robust understanding of core engineering principles is a prerequisite for students aspiring to enter the industrial automation industry. Proficiency in mathematics, physics, and electrical engineering lays the groundwork for comprehending automation systems. However, it’s the practical experience gained through internships and hands-on projects that truly equips students with the real-world challenges they’ll face in their careers.

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For electrical engineering students specializing in industrial automation, the demand for their skill sets in today’s marketplace is undeniable. Here are three practical tips from Kene to excel in studies and pave the way for successful career development:

Create a Goal-Oriented Study Roadmap: “Establishing a clear roadmap with specific objectives is key to achieving success. This includes obtaining a degree from an accredited institution within a defined timeline and acquiring industry-recognized certifications. For instance, pursuing the Professional Certificate of Competency in IEC 61850 Based Substation Automation under the school of industrial automation, instrumentation, and process control can enhance specialization.”

Address Skills Gap: “Identifying and bridging skill gaps is crucial for specialization in industrial automation. Skills such as process automation, control and instrumentation, programming, and project management are essential for competency in this field. Focusing on developing these skills will strengthen your expertise and competitiveness in the job market.”

Build a Professional Network: “Cultivating a professional network expands opportunities for visibility, recognition, and career advancement. Platforms like IEEE, Engineers Australia, and the Engineering Council of South Africa offer avenues for students to connect with industry professionals, access training resources, and participate in conferences and seminars tailored to their field of interest. Leveraging these networks enhances learning, fosters collaboration, and opens doors to potential employment and leadership roles.”

Additionally, EIT’s Dean of Engineering outlined several key skills and knowledge areas essential for aspiring engineers’ long-term success.

“Keep a keen eye on the advancements in simulation technologies, which are rapidly replicating real-world equipment. Staying abreast of these developments is crucial.

He highlighted that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are steadily growing fields that warrant careful attention. However, Dr. Mackay stressed the importance of navigating the vast amount of misinformation surrounding these topics.

“Also, don’t neglect traditional areas of industrial automation, such as interfacing with electrical engineering topics, valves, and instrumentation. While these topics may seem conventional, they form the foundation of industrial automation.”

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Lastly, the Dean recommended keeping a close eye on robotics, including personal robotics, as they hold immense potential. “And ensure you stay updated on business aspects such as profit and loss and project management topics, as these factors significantly influence project success.”

Tips for Industrial Automation Engineering Professionals

Continuous learning is not just a recommendation; it’s a superpower for industrial automation engineers. It’s the secret to honing your skills, staying ahead of the industry’s rapid evolution, and thriving in a fiercely competitive environment. By mastering new programming languages, earning certifications in specialized areas, and actively seeking opportunities for skill development, you’re taking control of your career trajectory and paving the way for your professional success.

Kene stressed that the pace at which industry technology and applications evolve requires automation engineers to remain current. “Automation engineers will remain relevant in the industry by constantly seeking avenues to enhance their skills through workshops, seminars, and conferences,” he said.

As an automation engineer looking to stay competitive and continuously grow in your career, Dr. Mackay recommended these three practical strategies:

Read avidly about industrial automation through varied posts from learned industrial automation societies, often referred to as Instrumentation and Control societies, and engineering magazines.
Join discussion groups on LinkedIn and other forums, such as YouTube, to stay updated on breaking topics.
Engage with new courses in emerging technologies, such as Python for Industrial Automation and IoT [Internet of Things].

Additionally, Dr. Mackay suggested spending an hour every morning engaging in social media discussion to stay informed and connected.

Sharing Dr. Mackay’s sentiments, Kene added that enrolling in certification programs and learning new skills relevant to solving business and industry problems will keep individuals relevant in their field of work. “This provides an opportunity for you to move up the ladder in your organization and across vertical industry,” he concluded.

Source: eit

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