skills for control engineering

Hi,
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 start job-hunting? and is there any scope for control engineering other than in mfg industries? thanks for your answers ajay
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ajay wrote:

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 courses.
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.
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Tim Wescott
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This makes you a sure bet for an Engineering Manager position. :)
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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.
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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*.
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Anthony

You can't 'idiot proof' anything....every time you try, they just make
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Hi all, 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 loops on robots, 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,
ajay
Anthony wrote:

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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 college.
Michael
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On Thu, 30 Jun 2005 15:15:01 GMT, "Herman Family"

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?)

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Re PLCs, do what i did - buy a cheap 2nd user PLC on ebay & teach yourself how to program it.
CG...

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