Opportunity abounds for career-oriented automation professionals who want to enhance and develop technical knowledge and professional skills, especially when these skills can lead to higher wages, elevated workplace status, peer recognition, and so on. For many, however, the challenge is getting started. A wealth of information, training programs, and other technical resources are readily available to help you move forward.
Within the ISA Interchange site, various industry experts share their knowledge. In particular, industry subject-matter expert and ISA’s 2010 Life Achievement Award winner Greg McMillan posts a series of questions and answers gleaned from a highly talented and diverse group of individuals who were chosen to participate in the ISA Mentor program launched last October at the ISA Automation Week conference. Topics include documenting the control system, automation migration projects, distillation and reactor control projects, temperature, and more.
Mr. McMillan is also sharing his knowledge in a series of live Web seminars. Covering the root causes of poor performance in pH control systems, his Web seminar on pH Control Solutions is scheduled for Wednesday, 15 February. McMillan's book, Advanced pH Measurement and Control, Third Edition, covers this topic in-depth.
On the other hand, if you need to understand how to get the best temperature measurement and control performance for important unit operations in the process industry, sit in on the Temperature Control Solutions Web seminar on Wednesday, 22 February. McMillan's book, Advanced Temperature Measurement and Control, Second Edition, provides a comprehensive view of this topic.
Other upcoming Web seminars cover various topics, including advanced process control, electrical safety, wireless technology, cyber security, and more.
Gerald Wilbanks, who is ISA’s 2011 Life Achievement Award winner, dedicated his lifetime to technical education, professional practice, certification and credentialing, and leadership to the automation industry. In the May/June 2011 issue of InTech magazine, Wilbanks wrote a column entitled, Certification and licensure: What is the difference? In it, he stressed the importance of honing your skills to advance in the workplace and how best to present this expanded skill set to a prospective employer or current company. According to Wilbanks, two excellent means to express the ability to perform a job function are to obtain a certification or to become licensed in the area of automation and process control. He discusses the various differences in certification and licensure showcasing ISA’s Certified Control Systems Technician® (CCST®) and Certified Automation Professional® (CAP®) certification programs and the Control Systems Engineer P.E. license as examples.
To help prepare for the CSE exam, three books are now available. Newly updated by Gerald Wilbanks, PE, and Randy Marek, PE, Control Systems Engineering Study Guide, 5th Edition provides information about the scope and design of the CSE examination, sample questions, and resource references for further study. Bryon Lewis, PE, wrote Control Systems Engineering Reference Exam: A Practical Study Guide to review the foundations of process control and demonstrate the breadth and width of the CSE examination. A new title, Control System Engineer Technical Reference Handbook by Chuck Cornell, PE, CAP, PMP, was written not only as a study aid for the CSE exam but also as a technical reference for future use by the instrumentation/automation professional.
Meanwhile, Abdul Rauf, a senior application engineer at Avanceon, wrote a three-part series on the CAP program starting in the July/August InTech. He revealed a fascination with robots early on in his childhood and that interest pushed him to pursue automation as a career. On the way, he discovered ISA’s certification program, specifically the CAP Body of Knowledge. He credits the ISA book, A Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge, 2nd Edition, for helping him pass the exam.
Finally, an entire archive of CCST and CAP certification questions and answers from a team of industry experts is located in InTech.
To round out your skill sets, additional resources are available on ISA's Web site, including books, technical proceedings, standards, training programs, and networking events, such as Division Symposia and ISA Automation Week 2012 in Orlando, Florida, 24-27 September. Stop on by and visit me at the ISA Bookstore!