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My take on the major challenges facing engineers in the next two years (blog)

“What are the major challengers facing engineers/businesses in the next two years”. This was the question I recently asked members of a process control discussion group on LinkedIn.

The group came up with 20 different issues, however there were three that clearly stood out as having major implications for the industry around the world.

Security: With on going development with wireless, cloud based technology and greater functionality from software programs like SCADA, there comes a need for greater security measures.

From the discussion many felt that there needs to be stronger integration between security and automation engineering in order to be truly successful.

Wireless: Which systems to use WHART or ISA100.11a? This will be solved, however in the meantime there is plenty of discussion on who drives this technology.

Beyond this, other issues around wireless were related to security and interestingly, the use of mobile platforms such as tablets and iPad such devices. These technologies are changing the way engineers engage with their environment.

Attracting students to engineering: I’ve linked staffing with education as it does seem to go hand in hand. The key issues discussed were how to attract school leavers into considering engineering as a career.

Many causes were outlined including students having too many course options, engineering does not pay, and long hours.

However, I recently read an article in The Manufacturer that discussed an industry scheme of taking students to visit factories to demonstrate what goes on and all the opportunities that exist. Maybe this is the solution or part of the solution?

The other topics that were brought up as challengers for the process control industry were:

  • Legacy systems
  • Maintenance
  • Robotics
  • Sustainability
  • Energy

Like all industries, the technology evolution is changing the way we work; however it does present greater challengers and opportunities.

What would be your top three challenges facing engineers in Australia? Let us know.

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