Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why I Chose Automation as a Career

Or rather, how it chose me.  I did not start out with a career goal of being a marketing person in the industrial automation industry.  But choices lead me to working for a manufacturing company building coated optics. I was exposed to quality, manufacturing, production control, sales and marketing—an entire supply chain’s worth of experience. I inspected solar cell covers, did technical writing for the process engineering group, used scientific instruments to measure the thickness and wavelength of the coatings within the quality department, and finally, ended up in sales and marketing.  That experience over 9 years gave me a quest for understanding how things were made, an interest that stays with me until this day.

When that position ended (as unfortunately many marketing positions do, due to a downturn in business) I found a position within another company that both manufactured and sold industrial automation products.  This was my first foray into “pure” industrial automation, and it was an eye opener.  The people, the technology, and more important, the relevancy to our everyday life, intrigued me, and selling to various types of manufacturing—from lumber, to tires, to food, to electronic components,  was fascinating. 
So fast forward a few (!) years—ok, 25 or so of them—and I’m still in the business, albeit not outright selling stuff, but still working in the industry.  Why?  Because, more than anything, it’s one industry where skills you develop are so specialized, that it is easier to find a job.  Secondly, there’s continuous education required, because the pace of technology and the cross over from consumer to industrial is happening at a pace faster than ever before—so you are never, ever bored.  Lastly, because, after all these years, it’s still a fun place to be.  There’s a solid community within our industry, and people you meet 10, 15 or 20 years ago are still in your life. So, if you are looking for a REAL career—one that challenges you, informs you, and rewards you—look into industrial automation.  I, for one, am infinitely glad that I did.  

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