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Control and instrumentation engineers (C&I engineers) are experts who design and build control systems. Engineers help to automate operations in their workplaces. System mechanics, process management, automotive instrumentation, and control systems are some of the topics that instrumental engineers are expected to work with on the job. Despite the rigorous preparation and other requirements, a career in Control and Instrumentation Engineering is both lucrative and rewarding.
One to the drawbacks of working as a C&I engineer is that the job requires a lot of resources and time (Bolton 19). The job involves a lot of planning and, therefore, the engineer has to write a lot and refer to documents so as to ensure that the projects are both efficient and sustainable. As such, C&I engineers have a little time to spend with their families; an aspect that makes the career unattractive.
Another negative aspect of the career is that for one to be qualified in the Instrumentation and Control Engineering, they need to go through intensive training in university. According to Macquarie University Department of Engineering, their students learn computer programming, embedded systems, information technology, mathematics and physics in order to qualify as professionals (1). Besides, the course is expensive as one is supposed to spend a lot of time and money resources for them to earn a bachelor’s degree. Unlike students who pursue humanities and social sciences, C&I engineers are required to attend long lectures and work on complex projects as part of their training requirements. Besides, the exams are very complex which make numerous students pursue the course to either be depressed or drop out of school. In fact, most college students getting a bachelor’s degree in Control and Instrumentation Engineering do not get to enjoy their university life because they spend most of their time working on projects.
Thirdly, the Instrumentation and Control Engineering is unattractive because of the several work-related risks. According to the Lambton College’s website, some of the employment opportunities for this field include automotive manufacturing, chemical industries and petroleum refining (n.p). It is essential to note that these are high-risk industries where workers are exposed to accidents. The engineers are supposed to visit their plants regularly, whose environment is risky. There have been reports of amputation, poisoning and electric shocks in numerous engineering projects. Accordingly, instrumentation and control projects use electricity, chemicals, and heavy machinery which pose a risk to the people working in industries. In as much as these accidents can be controlled, safety is not guaranteed because of human and machine errors which can cause fatalities at the workplace.
The achievement standards for the career are very high. The C&I engineer is considered to have been successful when his project works correctly (Bolton 59). Otherwise, all his efforts are not deemed to have paid out if he fails to develop a successful system. The high delivery standards tend to be demotivating to the engineer, which also result in low job satisfaction. For this reason, the engineers usually encounter work-related stress.
Despite the numerous disadvantages associated with the career, Control and Instrumentation Engineering is a lucrative job. The professionals are rewarded highly regarding salaries and bonuses. The Macquarie University Department of Engineering indicates that the starting annual salary for C&I engineers was $50,000n in 2007 (2). This rate is high as compared to other lucrative careers such as economics and accounting. Part of the reasons why people yearn to be engineers is because the career is considered to be one of the most highly compensated jobs alongside law and medicine. Besides, the career is also attributed to a sense of pride one is deemed to be socially superior to being an engineer.
Secondly, Control and Instrumentation Engineering career is also appealing because it gives room for continuous learning. The Lambton College’s website notes that this career is lively for individuals who are passionate about a hands-on job experience in automation and building a technical foundation in the engineering field (n.p). Every new project for the engineers is an opportunity to learn new concepts. The engineers enhance their proficiency in their career as they gain much experience. As such, the success rate in their projects increases steadily as they become less prone to make mistakes. For this reason, C&I engineers gain more job satisfaction as they gain more experience and knowledge by working on more projects.
Control and Instrumentation Engineering is also attractive because it creates an avenue for the professionals to meet new people. The engineers interact with numerous people on a daily basis. For instance, the professionals meet up with company managers, surveyors, mathematicians, chemical and electric engineers, officers from different fields and individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds (Bolton 128). Through communication, the engineers learn how to interact with various people and create more connections in their careers. By building extensive networks, C&I engineers get to grow their careers.
Fourthly, C&I engineers have a wide space for career growth. In their junior stages, the professionals are required to work in a firm in which they have a chance to exercise their skills and gain more experience. However, working on more projects gives them confidence and capacity to work on bigger projects. With time the engineers stop working under the watch of senior engineers and play a supervisory role by giving oversight to the projects being handled by other engineers. C&I engineers can also develop their firms and employ junior employees, where they begin practicing as managers. In this stage, their salaries are high, and they enjoy much flexibility. Besides, the work-related risks reduce as the engineers rise through the ranks in their career.
Finally, the career is suitable because of the numerous job opportunities that are attributed to the relevant skills in the field. In fact, there is a high demand for specialists in Control and Instrumentation Engineering. According to the article in The Hindu “the demand is so high that every student finds at least two jobs waiting in the wings, by the time he or she completes her course” (n.p). This finding shows that getting employment is almost guaranteed for a trainee in the field. For this reason, job insecurity is a rare problem for C&I engineers.
Despite the negative attributes of this career, the benefits of becoming an C&I engineer outweigh the challenges in many aspects. For instance, the engineers have the chance to grow in their careers. Besides, the networking opportunity gives them new experiences and makes their job lively. Finally, the good pay is a motivation for the professionals as they find it easy to support themselves and their families.
Bolton, William. Instrumentation and Control Systems. Newnes, 2015. Print.
“Instrumentation & Control Engineering Technology.” Lambton College, n.d. https://www.lambtoncollege.ca/ICET/
“Instrumentation engineering in demand.” The Hindu, April 16, 2012. http://www.thehindu.com/features/education/instrumentation-engineering-in-demand/article3320296.ece
“What Does an Instrumentation and Control engineer do?” Department of Electronic Engineering. Macquarie University, n.d. https://engineering.mq.edu.au/wpcontent/uploads/2014/06/MQ_Instrumentation_and_Control_Engineering_Career_Fact_Sheet_08_FINAL.pdf
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