Q: I hold a diploma in electrical engineering and have some experience in the industrial and telecommunication fields. I am also pursuing BTech from an engineering college in Bhubaneswar and currently in the fourth semester. I have also done courses in automation, programmable logic control (PLC) and supervisory control and data acquisition (Scada). What further courses do I need to do?
— Sanjay Agrawal
A: With an increasing number of companies such as ABB and Siemens using automation for largescale manufacturing, there is a need for programmable logic controllers and supervisory control and data acquisition experts.
Since you are currently in the fourth semester, I would encourage you to intern with companies that employ engineers with PLC or Scada training. A mistake many students make is doing several courses back to back. It will be better if you intern with a manufacturing company in steel, cement and petro-chemicals so that you get an exposure to how these skills are actually used by these industries. The industrial training will help you to understand whether you need further training in any particular field. The experience you have in industrial training will give you considerable advantage in the workplace. In your summer internships, try and work in sectors where you have already worked so that you can enhance your knowledge in that field.
The summer internships will give you an insight into how the skills you learn in college integrate with the needs of the industry. While in college, focus on understanding the implications of all that you study so that you are better able to shine in interviews during placements. Also, attempt to refine your communication and presentation skills so that you are able to quickly move up the employment ladder.
There are a large number of companies which use Scada-based systems. It maybe worthwhile to think about the security of these systems as automation is prone to hacking and there will eventually be a need for professionals who are trained in penetration testing or other automation security measures.
Work on your weak areas
Q: I completed BCom (hons) in 2000 and enrolled with the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI). I also started preparing for various bank exams. I am now preparing for ICWAI finals. I am 31 and do not have any work experience. — Prashant Kumar
A: I sincerely feel you are attempting to bite more than what you can chew. On paper, doing ICWAI and preparing for bank exams seem like a good idea. But not being able to succeed in both is an indication that you need to spend more time on ICWAI and clear that before you attempt anything else. Try and seek a job with a small or a medium company. Another worrying aspect is the number of years you have spent in clearing the exam. Work on your weak areas in such a manner that you are able to clear the exam quickly.
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