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#67625 07/10/06 08:56 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 806
N
Member
As far as the electrician/electronics tech thing goes, I wear both hats, so I have a bit of a different perspective here.

Traditional "electrical" equipment is getting more and more "electronic" all the time, particularly in the areas of industrial control and automation. Nowadays, an industrial electrician needs skills in PLC programming, debugging computer interfaces, networking, and solid state electronics to even begin to repair modern control systems.

While the days of making a living repairing consumer electronics are long gone, an electronics tech who specializes in industrial electronics like drives and process controls can make a good living, particularly if they ALSO have traditional electrical trade skills like running conduit and pulling wire. If you can pick up a basic familiarity with stuff like hydraulics, pneumatics, and the like, and you can walk into a job anywhere there is industry.

There is a growing overlap between the various trades, and being the person who can get a facility back online after a failure will be a pretty outsource-resistant position for the forseeable future.

[This message has been edited by NJwirenut (edited 07-10-2006).]

#67626 07/10/06 10:11 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 169
S
Member
I am 47 and halfway through my third year as a apprentice. I was a machinist for 20 years and when the plant closed down I went into the electrical field. I wish I had done it earlyer. I have had both good days and bad as with any otherjob. I have found out that the more I know the more I need to know. My advice is to stick with it and Im sure you wont regret it. This fourum has been fantastic with all the guys and gals. From answering my questions to helping me stay in the field after I was going to toss two years away. Im glad I stayed.

#67627 07/11/06 04:54 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 30
J
Member
I spent about 30 years writing heavy duty software: operating system architect, code for the inside of storage systems, medical ultrasound, ... I got tired of companies merging, sending my work off to India, Russia, ...
I've just completed two years of technical School in a year and passed my journeyman's test. In the past three months I've done commercial and condo contruction wiring and am enjoying it.
I would avoid any "intellectual-only" jobs. These are simply too easy to send to the lowest wage country anywhere in the world. Engineering is not immune. Software engineering (and not just simple stuff) is already being done this way. Other sorts of engineering will increasingly go the same route.
Electrical installation, troubleshooting, and repair will most likely always require someone to be onsite. [As equipment goes more and more to PLC (Computer controlled) some remote diagnosis will creep in but is unlikely to completely eliminate onsite work.]


JFW
#67628 07/11/06 11:04 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,788
Likes: 14
G
Member
I agree there will probably be good opportunities in the commercial/industrial area but residential is quickly becoming a low skill high volume business. The builders are trading parts for skills. The reason I suggested working a summer job in a right to work state is because a reasonably intelligent guy could be running crews by the end of the summer and anyone with a rusty pair of Kliens and a mouthfull of wirenuts can be an electrician. It is sad but true. I would like to see a demand for better qualifications but it doesn't seem to be the trend. I am also not that convinced that the industrial control and automation field is going to remain a black art. The same thing that happened to the mainframe computer field is going to happen to this area. These boxes are going to become modules that get snatched out and replaced when the red light comes on. The only difference will be the size of the wires going to them. Maybe I seem bitter but I have had several great careers become obsolete. I'm sure there will always be a great job out there on the bleeding edge of technology but that will be a moving target so you need to stay flexible. One thing I do know is you should be sure you have lots of cards in your wallet and lots of skills so you can jump when the "edge" moves.


Greg Fretwell
#67629 07/11/06 11:25 AM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
Member
..stay away from Iron foundries in Northern Indiana....


Tom
#67630 07/11/06 11:56 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
D
Member
Quote
I would like to see a demand for better qualifications but it doesn't seem to be the trend

I'd love to see this happen in PA. I couldn't imagine the amount of guys going out of business, if the state had a licensing program. Pay rates would go up, once the supply of "station wagon" electricians and out-of-state "wannabees" get erased. It would be the best thing for PA, once the politicians get off their butts and do something...

[This message has been edited by Dnkldorf (edited 07-11-2006).]

#67631 07/11/06 02:55 PM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 4
S
stevie Offline OP
Junior Member
gfretwell,

So if you were 18 today what career would you pursue?


By the way great feedback guys. Keep it coming. And I really appreciate it.

#67632 07/11/06 04:00 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,788
Likes: 14
G
Member
My first thought was spanish or chinese language teacher but seriously I expect the world will finally start to embrace some of these "alternative energy" schemes so that may be a growth industry.
The fact remains you can probably make a good living as an employee but you won't get rich until you work for yourself. That requires more business sense than trade skill. It also requires a lot more work and a whole lot more risk. Yoiu should never stop learning. The world is a dynamic place and things are always changing. This doesn't have to be college, you can learn a lot while you are working and the internet is a great source.


Greg Fretwell
#67633 07/11/06 05:15 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 14
W
Member
Many years ago, a friend of mine was in the business of repairing 2 way radios, for police, commercial fleet trucks, etc. I noticed that he only worked alone, but was always complaining about having too much work. When asked why he never had any help, this was his reply.
You have to have electronics training etc. in order to fix radios. Those who are smart enough to fix radios always want that corporate "lab" job. Nice, clean, inside work. This job requires field work. Imagine having to go fix the radio in a cement truck!
My friend was always in big demand, and made big bucks!
Now look at electricians!
More and more states are requiring stringint training and certification. Many who are smart enough to learn it would rather go for that, "lab" job. Nice, clean, inside work. To be an electrical engineer or the like.
Causing a shortage of field electricians! Making us worth more. Supply and demand you know.

#67634 07/11/06 05:45 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,716
R
Member
Gfretwell
Quote
The reason I suggested working a summer job in a right to work state is because a reasonably intelligent guy could be running crews by the end of the summer and anyone with a rusty pair of Kliens and a mouthfull of wirenuts can be an electrician.
are you sure you want to use the title Electrician in that sentence? Your idea of an Electrician and my idea of an Electrician are quite different. The jest of your sentence may be true of wiring houses in your area, but be assured that is not the case everywhere. Those you are looking at as being Electricians are simply Installers as I said in my earlier post.

Quote
I would like to see a demand for better qualifications but it doesn't seem to be the trend.
I agree, but in areas such as Asheville we have a 1 to 1 ratio even in the residential side. Unfortunately this requirement is not statewide.

Quote
Maybe I seem bitter but I have had several great careers become obsolete.
I'm sorry for that but, Electricians are still in demand.

Quote
The fact remains you can probably make a good living as an employee but you won't get rich until you work for yourself.
I would say that depends on the employer the benefits and what ones definition of rich is.

Quote
That requires more business sense than trade skill. It also requires a lot more work and a whole lot more risk.
I absolutely agree with every word there.

Roger



[This message has been edited by Roger (edited 07-11-2006).]

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