I've just graduated from a university with an
MS in EE focussing on Control Engineering,
I love the field and the careers available,
though I fear that I may not have the necessary skills eg.
I dont have any practical mfg experience, havent used PLC's or ladder
logic, and havent any experience in industrial control...
Would it be wise to take some courses at a local tech college before I
and is there any scope for control engineering other than in mfg
thanks for your answers
Taking courses at a tech college _while_ you're job hunting may not be a
bad idea, but I wouldn't put off the job hunt. Having some techie
courses under your belt may help you land your first job, but I doubt
they'll make much difference afterwards.
I'm not sure what you meant when you said "focussing on control
engineering". If this means that you've taken the usual theoretical
course in controls then there are more things that you can do than
install PLCs -- and you may find that choosing PLCs and motors and
valves and whatnot is more about having lots of common sense and strong
2nd-year EE skills than it is about having those graduate-level controls
There _is_ scope for control engineering beyond manufacturing. The best
place to go to be recognized would be aerospace, but your skills will be
useful (if not well understood) just about anywhere.
In aerospace expect to start out as a plain old EE or junior level
systems engineer, because the folks that are really effective at this
are old smart guys. Even in aerospace you can expect that to be good at
control engineering you not only have to understand a control loop, you
also need to be able to listen to a system that's misbehaving, or feel
it vibrating, and be able to tell what's going on.
Anywhere else you'll need to look around at companies that seem to close
control loops in their products. You can't expect the management to
understand that loops are being closed -- in fact, you sometimes can't
even expect the folks who are closing the loops to realize that the
loops are being closed! What you can expect is that if you go to work
at such a company, if you're competent and ambitious and focussed and
patient, that eventually folks will realize that _you_ are the guy who
can make things work.
This makes you a sure bet for an Engineering Manager position. :)
I'll probably piss off a few folks, but I would encourage you to
consider maintenance for a little while, maybe a couple of years. Here
you will learn programming, put your hands on stuff, and learn what
NOT to build when you take that engineer's seat.
I, for one, will wholeheartedly agree with you. Knowing how it *should*
work electrically may not be how it works *mechanically*, or in *practical
application*. Theory is fine, it is just that more often than not, it just
doesn't work in the real world -- without some *slight modifications*.
You can't 'idiot proof' anything....every time you try, they just make
wow! I didnt expect this group to be so active,
Thanks Tim, Steve and Anthony,
I think I'd have to agree with steve here, since I have almost 0
practical controls experience,
I do work in a research lab, and I have worked on implementing control
still I'd like to get some more experience before diversifying,
I didnt make it clear earlier but I'm an F1 visa student,
and most aerospace companies are gov. owned or working
on fed projects - that rules me out...
thanks for all your inputs
and thanks for the encouragement Tim,
A proviso here is that maintenance is an art and science unto itself, and
that once you are in it you may have difficult moving out of it, especially
if you are good at it. Also, while it might serve you well in hands on
experience, the hiring folks for the control people may overlook you with
your experience in favor of a fresh (and cheaper) face straight from
That's probably about right...however, before starting my own company,
I worked in electrical maintence at a large tire manufacturer. I made
$65K-85K a year+bennies, depending on how much I wanted to work that
year, while engineers made $45K-65K+bennies, and put in more actual
hours per year than I did.
Maintenance is in addition an irritating, thankless job (sounds a lot
like engineering, right?)
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.