My Career goal is basically to be a Power Engineer (hoping to divert from Computer Engineering later) and provide better electricity in my country, we already have electricity in most parts of the country, but there are irritating power cuts that happen without warning. Looking at Asia and how fast they are moving forward, would China and Japan, basically Asia, control the world's power sector in the next few years? If yes, should I start preparing to join their revolution or just run my own show? If no, why and what path should I take?
#engineering #engineer #power #computer-engineering #solar
G. Mark’s Answer
Well, the answer to this is fraught with semantics. Which is a fancy way of saying, "Well, it's complicated." So let me get to the point. First, if you're looking into Power Engineering, and the way you describe your particular area of interest, you're by definition not "running your own show," because your goal is to provide a service to others. Sure, you might start some sort of company that would cater to that sort of thing, but in general, power generation is by nature a large-scale operation. And what you describe is to benefit from the fact that it's getting larger all the time. In Asia, power consumption will grow like crazy because all developed countries need more and more power all the time. And to provide it dependably and efficiently is the best way to compete with other developed countries. So should you take advantage of it? Absolutely! And since you mention switching over from computers, keep in mind that pretty much anything you do that will benefit anyone will likely be migrating toward merging with computer technology. So I'll just summarize this with what should be pretty obvious by now. The answer to whether you should get involved in Power Engineering, and particularly with the approaches you've listed and options you've listed, is "Yes!" In fact, it will be absolutely essential to progress in the world of new technology.
I'm an energy engineer by training :). Here are a few thoughts:
- In addition to control, I would think about what kind of power you mean and what end sector (e.g. heat/cooling for buildings vs. baseload energy to power cities)
- Once you do the above, I think it'll help you find the true leaders of the area you care about. For example, each place is focused on something different. Understand how. And the way I'd break down the revolution is that the government/country level usually sets the standard for the goal and the guidelines for that goal (e.g. we need to be 30% renewables by this year and do it in this way). Governments are also involved in providing direct funding/financing to these efforts. It ends up being companies and groups of individuals though, who do the day to day work of creating the technologies and efforts that enable the revolution.
- When it comes down to who's doing the day to day work, you'll start to see that every different place or company is leading on a different aspect of power. For example, one company in a certain country might be leading the innovation around heating and cooling for buildings. Another company in another region of the world might be leading on wind power.
- In addition to all the above, I would focus on building your core skills. Because no matter what, power/energy is fundamentally the same everywhere! And you'll need really good skills to work at the leading places/companies.
- Lastly, follow the top energy / power conferences, and subscribe to articles that talk about movements of ambitious goals in energy. It'll help you keep on top of this!
First of all, being an engineer in the power/energy sector is a great career. i have been in the business for over 25 years and very happy with my career choice. You already have some good advice from others, so I will add a little to that.
1. Be a great team member and team leader. Working in teams is a must. Developing skills to solve problems in a team environment is critical to advancing in your career. You certainly want to contribute, even stand out, but getting things done requires a team.
2. Be committed to learning continuously. Sometimes people get out of school and think they are finished with the educational portion of their lives. A commitment to learn, broadly and deeply, is an investment in you that will make you better and more valuable to your company/industry.
3. Get your hands dirty. If you get an opportunity to go out into the field and get hands on experience, jump on it! Especially early in your career. there is no substitute for hands on experience.
Your plan is very ambitious, and I'm sure you can achieve it. However, achieving your will require more than just technical skills: you will need to convince people, to collaborate and to create a big organization.
If you join bigger teams and influence them, your impact will be faster and more solid. You will be able to learn from the experience of people, and avoid repeating their errors.