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Currently life in the mining and oil & gas sectors is tough and some of you may be scratching your heads nervously when pondering the future.

In these uncertain times it is good to keep in mind what is required for a good resume or cv...

 

Dear Colleagues,

Currently life in the mining and oil & gas sectors is tough and some of you may be scratching your heads nervously when pondering the future.

In these uncertain times it is good to keep in mind what is required for...

We’ve all heard of or experienced computer security problems with our computers and perhaps, even PLCs and your SCADA system. Ranging from viruses chomping your database to sophisticated denial of service attacks on your industrial and office network from someone based in the depths of West Waziristan.

Dear Colleagues, 

We’ve all heard of or experienced computer security problems with our computers and perhaps, even PLCs and your SCADA system. Ranging from viruses chomping your...

I noticed this morning an announcement from some senior government bureaucrat saying that (young) engineers should be paid more - the same as merchant bankers receive, she reckoned. I agree.

Dear Colleagues,

I noticed this morning an announcement from some senior government bureaucrat saying that (young) engineers should be paid more - the same as merchant bankers receive, she reckoned. I agree. In addition, governments throughout the world have been making agonising cries about the...

In the past two years, there has been a huge jump in the use of drones or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) throughout the world. Have you thought what you could do with one of these to enhance your next engineering project?

Dear Colleagues,

In the past two years, there has been a huge jump in the use of drones or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) throughout the world. Have you thought what you could do with one of these to enhance your next engineering project?

The laws in various...

Over 120 years ago, the venerable, and brilliant Nikola Tesla claimed that it was possible to transmit power around the world using a system of towers and balloons and was backed financially by a few of the early venture capitalist types to make it happen.

Dear Colleagues,

Over 120 years ago, the venerable, and brilliant Nikola Tesla claimed that it was possible to transmit power around the world using a system of towers and balloons and was backed financially by a few of the early...

You may argue that it is impossible to give a few casual tips on troubleshooting SCADA systems as the field is vast. And you’re quite right on this score.

Dear colleagues,

You may argue that it is impossible to give a few casual tips on troubleshooting SCADA systems as the field is vast. And you’re quite right on this score. However, I did a useful presentation recently outlining the typical components of a SCADA system and some typical items one could look for when troubleshooting these...

An intrinsically safe circuit is “A circuit in which no spark or thermal effect in any part of the circuit intended for use in a hazardous area is capable of causing ignition.”

 

Dear colleagues,

An intrinsically safe circuit is “A circuit in which no spark or thermal effect in any part of the circuit intended for use in a hazardous area is capable of causing ignition.”

After an introduction to hazardous areas (or locations as our North American cousins refer to them), the...

With all the travails of regular power interruptions in South Africa; we are again reminded of the tried and tested diesel generator being the workhorse we all turn to for a consistent power supply for small to medium requirements.

 

Dear colleagues,

With all the travails of regular power interruptions in South Africa; we are again reminded of the tried and tested diesel generator being the workhorse we all turn to for a consistent power supply for small to medium requirements...

Many people assume wrongly that inspecting, testing, maintenance, and commissioning is a fairly straightforward process and is often a rubber stamp confirmation of a good design.

Dear Colleagues,

Many people assume wrongly that inspecting, testing, maintenance, and commissioning is a fairly straightforward process and is often a rubber stamp confirmation of a good design.

Click here for a short presentation I made recently on the subject with a focus on:

  • Asset records
  • Condition...

I am always staggered by the ongoing high number of serious electrical accidents and even fatalities every year in industry – ranging from electrocution, shock, explosions and arc blast.

Dear Colleagues,

I am always staggered by the ongoing high number of serious electrical accidents and even fatalities every year in industry – ranging from electrocution, shock, explosions and arc blast. 

Click here for a short review on the key issues here from a presentation I did...

A potential problem with our centrifugal pumping systems is cavitation. Very often pumps handle liquids with suction conditions very close to a liquid’s vapor pressure.

Dear Colleagues,

A potential problem with our centrifugal pumping systems is cavitation. Very often pumps handle liquids with suction conditions very close to a liquid’s vapor pressure. When a liquid is drawn into the pump inlet there is a pressure drop resulting from the fluid friction along the pipeline, valves...

One of the vexed topics of engineering is how to minimize the damage from lightning and surges. As part of a regular series of presentations which I do on various topics, please click here to access the full set of slides relating to this presentation.

Dear Colleagues,

One of the vexed topics of engineering is how to minimize the damage from lightning and surges. As part of a regular series of presentations which I do on various topics, please click here to access the full set of slides...

I was reminded about this issue last week when one of my colleagues – an experienced chief engineer – laughed at a cost over run we had with some consultants working on a project.

Dear Colleagues,

I was reminded about this issue last week when one of my colleagues – an experienced chief engineer – laughed at a cost over run we had with some consultants working on a project. Rightly enough he said – you should have engaged them on a fixed price contract and defined precisely what you...

Descriptors for busy lives tend to suggest a sense of drowning; being ‘snowed under’ or ‘swamped’. The more positive expression of ‘having a full plate’, somehow struggles to adequately portray the complexity of modern living.

If it weren’t for the persistent need to professionally develop or bolster existing skills at a campus or training facility, the life juggling act could be simplified.

This education conundrum though, like all conundrums, has been solved – the solution is of...

No matter what your engineering discipline - you would have learnt about Ohm’s Law at some time or other (even at school). Herewith a simple application question which tests your conceptual knowledge. I posed this a few years ago and have brought it back somewhat modified.

Dear Colleagues,

No matter what your engineering discipline - you would have learnt about Ohm’s Law at some time or other (even at school). Herewith a simple application question which tests your conceptual knowledge. I...

Engineering professionals are generally not particularly enthused with writing. It is often regarded as an onerous chore outside their key skill set.

Dear Colleagues,

Engineering professionals are generally not particularly enthused with writing. It is often regarded as an onerous chore outside their key skill set. We are also subjected to written reports which are gibberish, unreadable and full of gobbledygook. Perhaps you even are guilty of writing like this? I know that I am.

An...

Is there nothing more irritating than the strident noise of lawnmowers or mulching machines with their staccato crackling sound on a quiet Saturday afternoon?

Dear Colleagues,

Is there nothing more irritating than the strident noise of lawnmowers or mulching machines with their staccato crackling sound on a quiet Saturday afternoon? In my book, silence is often more desirable than privacy. This short note is on audio and levels of sound and how you can eliminate high levels of noise....

We all keep a reasonably up-to-date engineering resume (or cv) – unless of course we have been with one company for ever.

Dear Colleagues,

We all keep a reasonably up-to-date engineering resume (or cv) – unless of course we have been with one company for ever. In these uncertain times it is good to keep in mind what is required or indeed, you may need to help a buddy who needs support in writing his or her resume. A good resume is vital whether you are an electrician or a chief...

A topic I often avoid discussing is quality. Mainly because it conjures up ideas of masses of paper work and enormous costs with no discernible increase in the quality of a product or service.

Dear Colleagues,

A topic I often avoid discussing is quality. Mainly because it conjures up ideas of masses of paper work and enormous costs with no discernible increase in the quality of a product or service.

However, someone for whom I have the greatest admiration is a fine electrical engineer...

There is furore at present with the allegations being made about bribes paid to host the Soccer World Cup in Qatar.

Dear Colleagues,

There is furore at present with the allegations being made about bribes paid to host the Soccer World Cup in Qatar. 

I believe we get exposed to challenges to our ethics on a daily basis. Most of the time; we ignore these challenges but occasionally the price is high and we succumb ever so slightly (and silently).

In the nutshell – ethics is about...

It is often considered risky practice in advertising to say something with a negative message; but hopefully you will see the importance of avoiding these damaging items (as listed below) in your engineering career.


Dear Colleagues,

It is often considered risky practice in advertising to say something with a negative message; but hopefully you will see the importance of avoiding these damaging items (as listed below) in your engineering career.

Remain positive and in top problem...

I have always maintained that we don’t sell ourselves enough. And let’s face it; selling yourself isn’t about simply flogging a product or service or trying to schmooze yourself on a disbelieving recipient.

Dear Colleagues,

I have always maintained that we don’t sell ourselves enough. And let’s face it; selling yourself isn’t about simply flogging a product or service or trying to schmooze yourself on a disbelieving recipient. But about being adept on promoting ourselves in terms of one’s...

People learn 70% of what they know about their jobs through informal means (US Bureau of Labor Stats – 1996). So stop pouring your money into formal training without pausing to consider these other more powerful options...


Dear Colleagues,

People learn 70% of what they know about their jobs through informal means (US Bureau of Labor Stats – 1996). So stop pouring your money into formal training without pausing to consider these other more powerful options.

Formal training accounts...

Conflict is a key part of our lives as engineering professionals. Especially these days with so much change occurring. Conflict is a verbal (or indeed non-verbal) expressed disagreement between individuals or groups. It may occur, for example, between an engineering supervisor and employee, or manager and supervisor. And, as you all know, conflict can even exist within an individual...

 

Dear Colleagues,

Conflict is a key part of our lives as engineering professionals. Especially...

In varying degrees, most of us are working virtually in teams undertaking our engineering work. From use of email to Skype and sometimes, web and video conferencing; we are all moving to working together with colleagues and friends at far flung locations connected only over the Internet.

 

Dear Colleagues,

In varying degrees, most of us are working virtually in teams undertaking our engineering work. From use of email to Skype and sometimes, web and video conferencing; we are all...

Would-be students; graduating from school or requiring further education down the track, have commonly approached government-run vocational colleges for training solutions. A variety of reasons account for this. Traditionally government grants have been available and tuition costs heavily subsidised. There are also a large number of sizeable campuses and due to this the assumption exists that a broad range of courses are available and offered regularly. Another factor which has increased the...

One of the best investments I ever made in my basic skills was learning to touch type thirty years ago (yes - on a typewriter). A mere 20 hours investment, has been worth tens of thousands  in terms of a real payback. There are many other basic skills which we tend to neglect but are critical to our engineering careers and personal lives.

 

Dear Colleagues,

One of the best investments I ever made in my basic skills was learning to touch type thirty years ago (yes - on a...

Courtesy of Jarie Bolander

Something almost every manager struggles with at some point in their career is motivating those they’re leading.  Everyone needs to be motivated.  Sometimes it’s encouraging a less engaged team member to be more engaged. Other times it is making sure your all-star performer doesn’t become complacent.

One of the biggest challenges a manager faces when motivating members on his team is knowing which techniques to use for each team member, which is...

Courtesy of Ken Norton

I’ve worked in technology for twenty years, the past thirteen as a product manager. I’ve gained somewhat of a reputation for being effective at working with software engineers. This skill has earned me a place in history as one of the three greatest product managers of all time.[1] (On this exclusive list I am joined only by Steve Jobs and Niccolò Machiavelli.)

For years I’ve kept my secrets close to the vest. But no longer: today I will share with you my...

Courtesy

In my last post on when organizations care about careers, I talked about various things an organization can do in order to utilize their employees effectively and in the process, help employees realize their career goals.

However, not all companies care about careers, and when they don’t, individuals suffer. It is essential for everyone to be focused on their own career goals and manage the career proactively, with or without explicit support from the...

Courtesy Gemma Falconer

In today’s businesses, there are many types of methods of communication: email, telephone, in-person meetings and so on. Videoconferencing is becoming a more common way to communicate between clients, employees and companies – not just to save on travel costs, but to liaise with remote workers or interview international candidates.

Things start to get complicated when each communication has different etiquette. The goal is always to be professional even though some...

Courtesy Daniel Huckstep

When it comes being great at what you do in life, there’s no real formula. Some people have that natural talent for something, and others just love it enough to dedicate the time to get better at it.

Regardless of how you ended up where you are, there is always room for improvement. I’m going to talk about some of the things that have helped me along the way become better at what I do: write kickass software. Realistically, you can substitute “Software...

Courtesy

In this post, I would like to discuss about characteristics of high-performance teams as defined in The Wisdom of Teams. For more detailed review of the book that I wrote sometime back, see here: Part-I, Part-II and Part-III.

The book defines a team as follows (my formatting)

A small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and working approach for which they hold themselves mutually...

Courtesy

Taking initiative is about picking up organizational challenges to solve without being asked and delivering results. Taking initiative is a well-known way to achieve stardom at workplace. A FastCompany article has this to say from the book How to Be a Star at Work: 9 Breakthrough Strategies You Need to Succeed:

For stars, initiative generally has four elements: It means doing something above and beyond your job description. It means helping other people...

Courtesy

In my last post, Product Manager, or Product Experience Manager, I described the disparate features and experiences that got broken in SiteZ and made the case that product management team should be responsible for overall product experience. In the final post of this series, I will present my views on how product management team should manage experience so that such issues can be minimized or avoided. Note that I am not talking about creating initial product...

Courtesy Style for Students Online

When asked about grammar checkers, some teachers of English will immediately darken their eyes and pronounce them evil. No, this is not because they worry about losing their jobs to computers (English teachers will always be needed, certainly), but because they recognize the limitations of grammar checkers and fear that they make writers lazy or unthinking. Because my paper passed the grammar checker’s test, some think, it must be fine....

Dear colleagues,

We employ an eclectic mixture of experienced engineers, graduate engineers and engineering students both on staff and contract ranging from few days a year to “14 months a year” (i.e. they work day and night).

What drives me into a frenzy (and other engineers around town) is the absolute rubbish these young students are being taught at university or college. From how to program an ancient microprocessor (yes!) to totally irrelevant theoretical mumbo-jumbo.

The challenge we...

We employ an eclectic mixture of experienced engineers, graduate engineers and engineering students both on staff and contract ranging from few days a year to “14 months a year” (i.e. they work day and night). What drives me into a frenzy (and other engineers around town) is the absolute rubbish these young students are being taught at university or college...

 

Dear colleagues,

We employ an eclectic mixture of experienced engineers, graduate engineers and engineering students...

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” can really gnaw at you. How can you make sure that you’re being paid what you are really worth? Essentially your remuneration is based on the contribution you make to the business you work in.


Dear Colleagues,

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” can really gnaw at you. How can you make sure that you’re being paid what you are really worth? Essentially your remuneration is based on the contribution you...

Whether you like or not – we are all in a feverish state of learning new things. Whether it is to learn how to use a new process at work or how to use the Windows operating system or how to handle a new automated torque wrench – we are all learning. Particularly in engineering there are a ferocious number of new technologies and approaches hitting us almost every day – all which we need to learn if we want to keep up to date in our career.

 

The tragedy is that most people are...

When we have a moment to reflect, I suspect we sometimes wonder whether our sign offs on our emails are appropriate or a little bit tired. Perhaps not? Naturally at the end of your email message, you should avoid lengthy quotes, massive corporate logos and a brief signature.

I also wonder about the significance of these overly lengthy legal disclaimers that are often included at the bottom of email messages. Who has ever relied on this and why would you include it (apart from a corporate...

Today, as engineering professionals, information technology and software skills are generally a key part of our skill set. Whether it is only using Word and spreadsheets, troubleshooting an errant industrial automation system or specifying the requirements for a new PLC and SCADA system – software is a key part of our daily work.

So the question that is often asked is this: What are the skills (and indeed, personality traits) that make you extraordinarily successful in working with software...

Increasingly job interviews are being conducted over the phone and indeed, Skype, as this allows for a reasonably effective version of video conferencing. Skype is a great way to meet up with people far away and it is also convenient and quick, even for a meeting a few blocks across town. However, undertaking a job interview over skype can add its own level of stress and you should take some care.

A few suggestions follow on making it an effective job interview.

Preliminaries
Conduct...

The New Year has been well and truly launched. Do you stick to your New Year's resolutions? Apparently only 14% of people do - especially in relation to their occupations.
Peter Drucker, the famous management guru, remarked that first of all we need to set our sights higher when it comes to the vision we have for our careers. And then we need to commit to achieving this.

Ten million British jobs could be taken over by computers and robots over the next 20 years, wiping out more than one in three roles. Thus says The Telegraph newspaper; naturally using inflammatory rhetoric to excite comment.
One can clearly see low-paid repetitive jobs disappearing at a rapid lick. According to the article, jobs for those earning less than £30,000 are at higher risk of being automated by machines or software. Some figures put the job losses as high as 35% of jobs.

Your Email Address
 Consider it from an employer’s perspective. Ensure it is simple and appears sensible. Choose your provider with care (remember gmail is free) and personalise it conservatively. Rate the following examples: [email protected]  versus,  [email protected]
Your Voicemail Message
Friendly is good, but the message should be brief and effective. (Don’t be tempted to reveal your character here). Make the recording in a quiet environment. Include your name and...

Being somewhat of a cynic, I don’t have many engineering heroes.  But the inspirational engineer - Andy Grove, the former chief of Intel, the microchip maker must surely be one of them. His wrote a well known book entitled “Only the paranoid survive” reflecting on the difficulties in surviving and growing in business.

 

Dear Colleagues,

Being somewhat of a cynic, I don’t have many engineering heroes.  But the inspirational engineer - Andy Grove, the former chief of...

Below you will find templates for resume writing  and some cover letter examples.

But first, bare the following in mind:

Both your cover letter and resume need to be tailored for specific jobs. If you are saturating all available positions with applications, this will be exceedingly tiresome. BUT, it is absolutely crucial if you are serious about succeeding.

Perhaps send generic ones out to those positions you have less interest in, but give all you have to the positions...

Informal Job Search Networking

It has been suggested that up to 60% of all positions are acquired through networking!

It does, however, take a concerted effort to get the best out of those in the network. They need to be nurtured, just as you would any relationship. Contacts include friends, family, neighbours, college or university alumni and people linked to relevant associations. Generally, your list should include anyone who may provide you with job leads or further...

Some of this information will vary depending on where you are in the world.

Online Sites

In Australia,for example,a popular online site for job searching can be found at; www.seek.com.au. You can even create an account with Seek so that relevant job alerts are emailed to you. Another Aussie one is http://www.careerone.com.au/. A similar site in the UK, for example, can be found at www.jobsite.co.uk.

Company Websites

Many large companies advertise vacancies on their websites...

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