You are not registered yet. Please click here to register!


 
 
plc storereviewsdownloads
This board is for PLC Related Q&A ONLY. Please DON'T use it for advertising, etc.
 
Try our online PLC Simulator- FREE.  Click here now to try it.

---------->>>>>Get FREE PLC Programming Tips

New Here? Please read this important info!!!


Go Back   PLCS.net - Interactive Q & A > PLCS.net - Interactive Q & A > LIVE PLC Questions And Answers

PLC training tools sale

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old February 12th, 2018, 07:14 PM   #1
CJlikesCHAIRS
Member
Abu Dhabi

CJlikesCHAIRS is offline
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Nope
Posts: 55
Looking to get a Controls Engineering degree, where do I start?

I've been doing control systems design and PLC/HMI programming for about 3 years at my current company and I've really come to love it. However, I don't have any degree and would like to pursue it to make myself more marketable for the future.

However, as I look around for degree programs, I can't seem to find anything useful. Should I get an Electrical Engineering degree and just focus on controls/automation? What do others do and what looks good to an employer?
  Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2018, 07:34 PM   #2
rupej
Member
United States

rupej is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: NC
Posts: 427
If you've got the experience, the actual type of degree usually matters very little. An electrical engineering (or any engineering) degree might be slightly preferred, but I think I would go with computer science because it's probably easier. Engineering Technology would be another good one.
  Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2018, 07:48 PM   #3
CJlikesCHAIRS
Member
Abu Dhabi

CJlikesCHAIRS is offline
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Nope
Posts: 55
So by the time I'm done whatever degree I choose I'll have about 8 years experience, and it won't matter the exact degree? I've been looking at engineering science and electrical engineering, but you're right I think computer science would be easier then those
  Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2018, 09:11 PM   #4
seth350
Member
United States

seth350 is offline
 
seth350's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Over yonder
Posts: 257
I wondered this myself. Thought I could go back and get a bachelors degree and be better off for the future.
The questions you need to ask yourself:
How much do I really enjoy my work?
Would I be unhappy if I weren’t able to do this work anymore?
Do I want to be a manager/boss?

If you answered A lot, yes, and no then you don’t need a full blown college degree.
In most scenarios, the degree will unlock doors to become “manager/boss”. I said unlock, not open. The boss is too busy doing payroll, attending meetings, and managing to do any control/Automation work, or rather he shouldn’t be doing any.

If you enjoy what you are doing and would like a more in-depth understanding of what pertains to your work, then most colleges allow a person to enroll and take only certain classes. You pay for that one or however many and that’s it. I did just that at a community college for plc programming and it was 3 semesters. Basic/intermediate/advanced.

I was fortunate to have a professor who had 40+ years in the business and taught more from his own experiences than the $100 text book I had to purchase for the class.

I think for someone wanting to know more and add another tool to their Swiss Army knife, then the college debt is not worth it.
__________________
“Did the Lord say that machines outta take the place of livin’, and what’s the substitute for bread and beans? Do engines get rewarded for their steam?” -John Henry
  Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2018, 09:17 PM   #5
CJlikesCHAIRS
Member
Abu Dhabi

CJlikesCHAIRS is offline
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Nope
Posts: 55
I love doing the work, so in that case if I took some selected courses and possibly some certs or something along the way, would that plus 5+ years experience be worth more then just the degree to an employer? I just don't want to be without any options incase anything happens at my current job.
  Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2018, 09:41 PM   #6
seth350
Member
United States

seth350 is offline
 
seth350's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Over yonder
Posts: 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJlikesCHAIRS View Post
I love doing the work, so in that case if I took some selected courses and possibly some certs or something along the way, would that plus 5+ years experience be worth more then just the degree to an employer? I just don't want to be without any options incase anything happens at my current job.
It’s a lot like fishing...

Do you intend to catch the biggest fish? Yes? Well, then you must use big bait.
What do you do if you land a fish that is not the biggest fish? Throw him back?
How do you know that he isn’t the biggest fish in the pond? You don’t.

The employer is the fisherman. The would be employee is the fish.
__________________
“Did the Lord say that machines outta take the place of livin’, and what’s the substitute for bread and beans? Do engines get rewarded for their steam?” -John Henry
  Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2018, 09:46 PM   #7
CJlikesCHAIRS
Member
Abu Dhabi

CJlikesCHAIRS is offline
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Nope
Posts: 55
That's a great analogy. I appreciate the help by the way, thank you.
  Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2018, 11:43 PM   #8
MitsM83
Member
United States

MitsM83 is offline
 
MitsM83's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 90
I have no degree related to electrical engineering or controls in any way. Matter of fact I dropped out of high school. But yet I have a job as an Electrical Engineer at a big name company. We have a few hundred robots welding widgets to other widgets. They pay good to keep the ones and zeros going in a place like this.
I get job offers all the time in the controls/engineering field but like I said I have no degree. Every one in my work group has a big shiny degree and they are quick to talk about them. Most have masters and I've been told one is a Dr of some sort. They ask me for help often with their projects

Bettering your self is all ways good, but you have the internet. You want to be good at something, do it. Document your work create a portfolio to attach to a resume and you'll have no issue getting a job.

Degrees, in my opinion are a way to get your foot in the door. Sounds like your foot is all ready in there.

Hope this helps.
__________________
"You are either creating the automation, or you are being replaced by automation", Some Dude
  Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2018, 11:47 PM   #9
MitsM83
Member
United States

MitsM83 is offline
 
MitsM83's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 90
I want to add that going to school could be great for you.

Just please do not go 30k in debt to get a job you all ready have. That is what I meant by the above ramble.
__________________
"You are either creating the automation, or you are being replaced by automation", Some Dude
  Reply With Quote
Old February 13th, 2018, 07:18 AM   #10
CJlikesCHAIRS
Member
Abu Dhabi

CJlikesCHAIRS is offline
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Nope
Posts: 55
So with some good work already in the field and a few years experience would be enough to get an interview? I'm kind of in the same boat as you, no degree but I'm the "Control Systems Designer & Programmer" because I can't be called an engineer since I have no degree (haha). But I work with a lot of engineers and no one has asked anything about my background since I know what I'm talking about in meetings and on site.

Thanks for the advice, I think I'll start putting a small portfolio together and see where it goes.
  Reply With Quote
Old February 13th, 2018, 07:47 AM   #11
AustralIan
Member
United Kingdom

AustralIan is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 786
Check out Mechatronics or Mechanical or Process or Chemical Engineering.

The electrical side of PLC's is not the hard bit, a lot of it can be done with relatively inexpensive rules of thumb. Eg, don't put a motor more than x meters from a VFD. Always use screened cables.

The hard part (and also the valuable part) is knowing that the process is poorly designed, or can be improved for roughly this cost for roughly this saving. Or that not including a sensor for temperature could result in bad things happening.
You want to learn about kinematics and gas properties and thermodynamics and all those physical properties of the things you want to control.

Plus, you already know how to program.*

* Actually, we are all still learning this one.
  Reply With Quote
Old February 13th, 2018, 09:28 AM   #12
mk42
Member
United States

mk42 is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: MI
Posts: 1,956
Please don't take any of the following as advice against getting a degree if you think it's the right thing for you. There ARE doors that are closed until you have that peice of paper. Sometimes for good reason, usually not. There are a couple guys on this board that know the math of control systems like the back of their hand, and use it regularly. Most of the rest of us don't, although there are times that maybe we should. If you're getting the degree because there are things you want to learn, go for it,

However, if you're getting the degree just for job prospects, I'm not sure it's needed. You/we are fortunate to be in an industry where a large portion of the "controls engineers" worked their way up from the trades. My manager has an associates and a boatload of experience. That's all he needed when he came on board. Unless you've been looking around and seen that you've missed out on opportunity because you didn't have the degree, you might not need it. If you do need one, an associates might be sufficient, you might not need the full bachelors.

I'd agree with others that say that an EE type degree probably won't help you as much, even if it's probably the one most people assume you'd have. I think you want a degree to help you understand the process you are controlling. My ME degree comes in handy a lot, when the main systems I'm controlling are either temps or a mechanical system powered by a motor. ChemE's are very common in the process world.

For the interviews I've sat in on, the degree/college experience has only come up when the employee was entry level. Otherwise, it was perhaps a filter, but the job req usually says degree or equivalent experience. Can you do the job, and can you prove it? As long as you can get past HR, you'll be fine.

If you have trouble getting past the HR filter, then the degree might help. However, it usually means you're just going around applying for openings, which isn't the best way to do it. The more successful way is to bypass HR and use your network to find openings where you can apply to the manager directly, if you have the contacts to pull it off.
  Reply With Quote
Old February 13th, 2018, 09:48 AM   #13
Tom Jenkins
Lifetime Supporting Member
United States

Tom Jenkins is offline
 
Tom Jenkins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 5,919
My degree is in mechanical engineering. My PE license is so old that they didn't differentiate between disciplines on the test. If you go for a degree I think you will get more benefit from EE than from computer engineering. It is perhaps more difficult, but it will better align with the physical world and not so much with manipulating abstract bits and bytes.

I want to stress that some of the best people I worked with have never been to college. At the end of the day getting the job done is what counts. However, I suggest that a degree is going to become increasingly important. It will provide several benefits.

First, it will ease your path. Many of the folks that determine hiring and promotion don't have a clue about your actual job, but they think they know what a degree in EE means.

Second, a good degree program should give you a broad background in physics and other sciences that will make understanding the processes and systems you control faster and more comprehensive.

Third, it will allow you to work with engineers and technicians as a peer more easily. It is wrong, but without a degree you will have to prove yourself a bit more.

Fourth, a college is different than a trade school. It should provide you with exposure to the arts, literature, and non-technical realms of thought that will enrich your life, whether or not they fill your wallet.

Last edited by Tom Jenkins; February 13th, 2018 at 09:51 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old February 13th, 2018, 10:10 AM   #14
Rob...
Supporting Member
United Kingdom

Rob... is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Manchester
Posts: 145
I've never had a degree, at this point in my life I doubt that I will have much use for one.

However the only time I have felt like it would have been useful is recently applying for a visa to work in the USA. Still, I guess we will see how that goes in the coming months.

Immigration staff and attorneys don't like experience. They want pieces of paper.
  Reply With Quote
Old February 13th, 2018, 12:10 PM   #15
Toine
Member
Netherlands

Toine is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: NL
Posts: 207
Like Tom my background is also in ME and I agree with all points made by him. It has been my experience that although the ME or EE road may be more difficult than computer science, the knowledge gained is also more valuable to me. Math is one aspect, other topics in mechanical engineering are also very useful for my daily work. A good understanding of the process at hand is required to control it.
  Reply With Quote
Reply
Jump to Live PLC Question and Answer Forum

Bookmarks


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Studio 5000 reading analogue input low and high engineering values matt.smith LIVE PLC Questions And Answers 9 March 1st, 2017 08:14 AM
VFD Fail to Start isaacchandler99 LIVE PLC Questions And Answers 9 December 15th, 2015 08:21 PM
How's the job market where you live? FactoryTalktotheHand LIVE PLC Questions And Answers 53 June 21st, 2014 03:21 PM
Multiple start buttons tmerc65 LIVE PLC Questions And Answers 18 June 14th, 2009 01:50 PM
ActiveX controls in AB VersaView CE iknowsomeplc LIVE PLC Questions And Answers 0 December 16th, 2003 11:17 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:11 AM.


.