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Thread: Controls Career Path

  1. #21
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    I learned it backwards. I knew IT before mechanical. I suppose its falls on the individual and whos around them. I think I turned out fairly decent.

  2. #22
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    Thanks for the feedback, i guess the real question is whether its easier and faster for an IT guy to learn the required mechanical knowledge or a mechanical guy to learn the required IT knowledge? On a generalised/averaged basis of course as obviously it all comes down to the individual in the end.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaes View Post
    Thanks for the feedback, i guess the real question is whether its easier and faster for an IT guy to learn the required mechanical knowledge or a mechanical guy to learn the required IT knowledge? On a generalised/averaged basis of course as obviously it all comes down to the individual in the end.
    If solid mechanical guy is really interested and committed to learning the IT side, for most positions this will be faster. Self directed learning about networking, programing, and general computer skills is easier to do after hours than learning the ins and outs of mechanical equipment (although youtube does have some good content for that as well). That said, those guys seem to be few and far between, and someone with an IT background that is willing to get their hands dirty to help with install and do checkout on VAV systems will come up to speed much faster than your typical mechanical guy.

  4. #24
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    Computer says "No"



    Dont be the Controls guy that believes the computer over whats happening in the field!

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by control$ View Post
    Plus a new service truck, tools, and better pay then the office guys. (Salary is for smucks!)
    Say it louder for the people in the back! So sooooo true! Salary sucks....
    Hmmmm....smells like numbatwo to me.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaes View Post
    Would you say IT is the most important skill for a new BAS tech these days?
    This has been hashed out a lot on this forum. IT turned BAS guy or Mechanical guy turned BAS guy? I am personally a mechanical guy turned BAS guy. I find that they end up being 2 halves of the same position, each with strengths.
    I can be in a finger pointing session with a hostile group and demonstrate clearly that BAS is not the issue - not because it is working fine so it must be mechanical, where the IT based guy often ends up because of a lack of mechanical knowledge - but instead since I am a better mechanic then the other guy, I will diagnose their system and show them where it is broken.
    On the other hand, we have an IT guy turned BAS guy who designed out Envysion graphics package using javascripting templates... I COULD do that... but it would take me 3 or 4 months longer. Easily.
    Both scenarios are not common, and the best is having a few of each on the crew with a good culture that has them helping each other out.
    So which one does the recruiter look for? The one who demonstrates he is good at BAS, and learns quick. The background that got him there adds a flavor, but the requirements are the same.
    Hmmmm....smells like numbatwo to me.

  7. #27
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    Jul 2014
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    WhoIs -

    Controls have come along way since the DOS days when you would scramble to get your
    PC memory down to 612kB (don't laugh) to get the DDC pgm. tool to run (days of knowing
    config.sys, autoexec.bat). I started in DDC controls mid 1990's. Never been too 'boring' with
    the technology advance - from master-slave to peer-to-peer to Client-Server. You took
    company classed, picked up tips from the other techs but more importantly - you read a lot and
    did lab work on your on time to learn.

    After a long run I left controls not really of boredom - in the end I was a Controls Service tech
    and as I approached the 3rd year I asked myself do I really want to drive another "24K" miles per year
    and climb ladders to look at a VAV box? (the pay was hourly - if you worked over 40hr you got overtime,
    company vehicle, out of the office, lots a great/interesting control/HVAC work). Worked in Colorado at the
    end - most beautiful country in the US - summer or winter. Drove all over the place. Never regretted that.

    So I took the 'big leap' - quit Big Red and went back to school - took more Tridium courses and picked some Energy
    Certificates (CEM, CMVP). Later got a job with an energy control company that used Tridium and they required the
    CEM (it can happen). Pay went up 30%. If you are really serious about an 'energy career' you have to at least get the CEM
    (at the minimum it teaches you the vocabulary and the anacronyms - you don't want to be saying 'what's a ratchet
    charge?'). Possible to find an firm that might hire you and then pay for your CEM course (Big Red did). Many different
    types of 'energy jobs' but most pay less than what an experience DDC tech can make. Kind of an 'odd' business - but can be
    very 'anti-boring'. And knowing controls is very critical in energy conservation.

    Controls or Energy, either way I'd invest in some Triduum knowledge and then do some actual programming/commissioning
    work with it. I do not see your email address in your profile. If you post it I'd be happy to sent you my 174pg Niagara
    Workbench Guide (NWG) - with all the 'gory' step-by-step instructions (they should make a "Beer Paypal" - no $ just brewski ticket). For Tridium training you can't go wrong with Vern at MOV training.

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  9. #28
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    oops - 'Big Red' did not pay for my CEM - they paid for the Tridium AX cert - (getting 'old' - time to retire...)

  10. #29
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    A couple years now semi-retired. For the past ten, in addition to my regular job, I've been teaching our trade. Before I go on, I should say that I have never been able to sit for very long, and going to the same location day after day is an absolute non-starter.

    Like so many others here, I started my career as a Mechanic, but from there, I moved on to become a Test and Balance Technician, and then I spent another 20 as a Control Man. Throughout those years I moved through four of the majors, and also worked for a couple smaller companies. As the years passed, it was not unusual to regularly have somebody reach out with another opportunity.

    A word of caution, there are employers who shy away from someone who moves around too frequently. Then, there are others who appreciate your experience and drive. (those are the good ones)
    My last "real" job, after Controls, was as an Energy Analyst with one of the majors. The job came with respect, great pay and benefits. My office was at home, and I spent half my time traveling across the country.

    So.... You ask about career paths. What career path do you want? Do you want to sit in a prairie dog farm, or do you want fresh air and sunshine? It's totally up to you.
    It sounds like you have a great foundation to build from. Use it.

  11. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artrose View Post
    A couple years now semi-retired. For the past ten, in addition to my regular job, I've been teaching our trade. Before I go on, I should say that I have never been able to sit for very long, and going to the same location day after day is an absolute non-starter.

    Like so many others here, I started my career as a Mechanic, but from there, I moved on to become a Test and Balance Technician, and then I spent another 20 as a Control Man. Throughout those years I moved through four of the majors, and also worked for a couple smaller companies. As the years passed, it was not unusual to regularly have somebody reach out with another opportunity.

    A word of caution, there are employers who shy away from someone who moves around too frequently. Then, there are others who appreciate your experience and drive. (those are the good ones)
    My last "real" job, after Controls, was as an Energy Analyst with one of the majors. The job came with respect, great pay and benefits. My office was at home, and I spent half my time traveling across the country.

    So.... You ask about career paths. What career path do you want? Do you want to sit in a prairie dog farm, or do you want fresh air and sunshine? It's totally up to you.
    It sounds like you have a great foundation to build from. Use it.
    Sign me up for the energy analyst! Sound good with being home and traveling.. Ive seen enough screw ups to last a lifetime on how not to do things...I dont do any programming though...never had to being a An advanced level diagnostic commercial tech...I get a new extended service van just under 2 years due to traveling and they get turned in at 135,000-150,000 miles...I buy my own (better quality)tax write off tools though (not recovery equipment/truck stock) ...beginning to feel burned out with the hours...Because the younger generation doesnt want to do their job properly...
    I know of 2 others who burned out already(And quit) and they are younger than I am by a few years..

    Id rather see my base salary match what I make with 20 hours of OT.(60+hour work week, not including being on call one weekend a month) ..I Truly think the government makes more money on my OT than I do...

    Id rather answer a phone to help another tech do troubleshooting diagnostics in the field than take the 2-6 hour drive...unless of course it give me a 18-20% commission on each completed service after 40 hours..then I would not complain...

  12. #31
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    It's easy to get burnt out in this line of work. When I was younger I looked at what had to be done and didn't leave till I hit the milestone..Learned to bring bolt-cutters after being locked in gates! I had to learn to leave when it started to get quit on the job site. Nobody in the office notices that stuff..but it'd how you learn.
    Now I try not to work late. Leaving a site a half hour late can add an hour to my commute...aint worth it. Kids and wife don't care if all the FCU's valves are wired wrong. Guess I'm getting old, but it beats being in a cubical all day. But lately the work load has gone from crazy (old normal) to they're trying to kill me (the new normal). Learn to say no..But answering a phone call at 5:30 on Saturday morning will make your 5:30 am Monday easier for sure.
    Like I said, plenty of work out there. Make it the job you want and don't let them screw ya.
    Controls, the cause of... and solution to... all your HVAC problems.

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  14. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by control$ View Post
    Now I try not to work late....
    Kids and wife don't care if all the FCU's valves are wired wrong. Guess I'm getting old, but it beats being in a cubical all day. But lately the work load has gone from crazy (old normal) to they're trying to kill me (the new normal).
    X2
    Busier than a one-legged man at a butt kicking contest....
    Hmmmm....smells like numbatwo to me.

  15. #33
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    X3 busier than a one armed sheet rock hanger!

  16. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norriski Tech View Post
    X3 busier than a one armed sheet rock hanger!
    I heard that one as a wall paper hanger.
    Hmmmm....smells like numbatwo to me.

  17. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norriski Tech View Post
    X3 busier than a one armed sheet rock hanger!
    Busier en a one legged man looking for corner to lay a turd, in a round barn.

  18. #36
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    To offer a perspective, I moved on from around five years of controls tech work to a stationary engineering position with a (VERY big) facility. The pay is better and the work is easier, but the knowledge requirement is there - you definitely have to earn it. Instead of simple repetitive tasks, it's more like reprogramming and fixing equipment independently. I've seen some big companies pick up controls workers to turn into facilities managers, but that's more of a swerve into "management" than continuing technical work. Massive companies have only recently grown enough to start their own controls teams.

  19. #37
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    I agree with several of the folks that have replied here in regards to getting as much Tridium knowledge as possible as it interfaces with many different types of systems. However, I would add that it would also be wise to learn what you can about building analytics. This is a new level of data gathering and analysis that interfaces with BAS systems, as well as other systems, and allows for customers and technicians alike to use their systems more efficiently and to accomplish many other tasks. This is becoming a large portion of the industry and will only get more prevalent no matter what segment of the industry you are in. Tridium has a analytics certification course and there are many other platforms out there that will interface with various BAS systems. I have some experience as both a technician designing and programming analytics systems, but also as a client using Analytics to manage multiple sites, schedule and track PMs, manage projects, and project cost savings. No matter which route you choose to go with your career try to make good lasting relationships with the people you meet in the industry because you never know where those connection may lead you in the future. Good luck!

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