Appealing to all the pros out there.
As some of you might know looking for a job is hard work these days and trying to find people who are willing to give you a shot is even tougher. I am pensioning for anyone of you who could give me some advice on how to approach getting a position in the controls field. Or any folks who may have a contact into the Boston controls market. I do not have any formal controls experience but do have a background in HVAC and a degree in computer science along with some years of experience in both. The controls biz fits me I believe because is appeals to both sides of abilities and skills. So how do I get in? Any advice? I have applied to all the big names (JCI, Siemens, TAC, Honeywell,
) and I am keeping my eyes open for any opportunities abound big or small. What else can I do? Any thoughts?
appeal to all pros
hopefully neither of us will be breaking any forum rules here...so I'll generalize...i do know that some "big companies" have links on their corporate sites to individual dealers and their current job postings. if you haven't looked for that, you might try that...i know the manufacturer who we rep does this. while it is hard for you to get your "name" out there, it is also hard for those of us in the field looking for folks, so just try to persevere. it does sound like you have some good skills some folks would be looking for...especially a techy postion...entry level programmer or entry level startup person. i hired someone with only computer science skills about six months myself and would have really loved for him to have had the HVAC skills you have. BUT I'm not in Boston, so seriously, good luck in your search. this can be a challenging and rewarding career.
The best advice I can offer, is to share my story. I started with a small HVAC company, that did residential HVAC, some commercial, and they also had a small controls group. I got in, worked my way up, from crawling under houses to working on bigger commercial jobs and then eventually showed interest towards controls. The next thing I knew, I was doing it. That's coming from a guy that started in the industry as green as they come. I didn't even know what flex was. All of this was accomplished in just under 3 years. I'm sure others here have similar stories.
You shouldn't have much of a problem. Show you're confident, willing to learn and know the mechanical side of things. Check this out, it should be a confidence booster on finding a job - http://www.hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=184301
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I share a little of my history in the controls industry.
I started out 20 years ago doing Industrial controls and progrmming, I went thru the Electrical apprenticeship to go along with the education I had from college, I found that writing programming was simliar to writing code for computers. HTML was just starting to be used in the industry higher end customers for interface(not like today).
The best beneift that I had was that I work with 4 older gentelmen that had been in the controls side for about 30 to 35 years each, I pick there brains alot and with my background in computers and IT, along with the wirring side made it easy to understand and do the work.
One of the reason that I am where I am at is that I showed the willingness to stride to make myself understand and keep up to speed with the new technology, but keep in mind that I still needed to work on older system also.
I have training and experience in the follwoing control system: Allen Bradley, GE, Siemens, IDEC, Modbus interfaces and programming, along with now doing CSI(INET7) and TAC products.
I also have a background in network communications, I.E. network cabling, network routers and more.
I would recommend that you start with a small company to get your feet wet and try to attend traing class that the company may be able to get you into, the more personal touch with a comapny that you have the more they will take care of you as an employees, also try your local communinty colleges to see if they offer classes in the controls field. The JR. college around my area have several classes that deal with the construction trade, and a few of them are HVAC controls classes.
Like CrabMaster said "Show you're confident, willing to learn and know the mechanical side of things"
I also say "Knowledge is the key, but wisdom will open the door."
I feel your frustration on that. I had a hard time breaking in too. Best bet is to find a contact at a company you would like to work for. Research the company and their products as best you can on your own. Try to impress upon your contact a deep desire to join their team. Follow through, Contact them as much as you can without becoming a nuisance. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Try to have answers to their questions before they ask them. Most important, don't give up! Someone will give you a chance if you are persistent.
Don't be afraid to think outside the box too for entry level controls positions. I actually got my feet wet in the industry by working in an Energy Management Department at a local university. There were three control systems at their large campus which allowed me to get some experience on three systems. As it turned out, when the vendor for my "favorite" line came through the office one day, I "discretely" tried to impress them with my knowledge of their system. They talked to their customer (my boss) about hiring me away from him. No hard feelings were in fear, and off I went to a new career... good luck...i know we all have our experiences, but i think we all seem to agree that showing a true willingness to learn and being willing to start in "at the bottom" can be the key to finding your way into a controls position.
There's another option that I've seen work, but I didn't think of in my previous post. Maybe find a maintenance type position somewhere that has a certain control system your interested in learning. Learn it as best as you can, and then move on to a company that actually installs and reps it. I've seen that method work in several instances. You'll have alot more to offer up front with your experience and you'll definately appear more appealing.
Yes I am definitely pursuing all aspects and have thought about taking any position that will get me controls training or experience. I am willing to do just about anything and know that once I am doing work related to controls (currently doing HVAC installs residentail light commerical) I can also leverage my experience down the line for a position I really want. I am also trying to read every and all materials that I have found in relation to learning control theory and applications to help get as much of the common tech language you are all talking about. I know there is a lot to this trade and that's one of the reasons I like it so much I have always been a jack of all trades kind of person anyways.
How long would you say a company expects a green guy to be somewhat competent at doing something like commissioning? What is the hardest aspect of field? Whats the cream of the crop stuff?
Didnt I send you an email a few months ago? I gave you some branch offices and quite a few local Boston area control contractors. Did you try any of them?
Yep I have gone threw that list and have sent my resume and continue to search for other places but still haven't really turned anything up yet.