What is a Control Engineer?

The primary role of a control engineer is to design and develop equipment that will monitor and control the efficiency of engineering systems and machinery.

Control engineers are required in a range of sectors, but are often employed in the automotive, construction and manufacturing industries. Control engineering systems are needed for both advanced systems, such as manufacturing aircrafts, and also for day-to-day systems, such as in washing machines.

It is a relatively new discipline, and one that has significantly grown due to recent advancements in technology.

Desirable Skills of a Control Engineer

Qualifications Needed to Become a Control Engineer

There are specific degrees in control engineering available, and they usually lead to an MEng qualification. However, having a degree in related fields, such as computer engineering or systems engineering, can also be favoured by employers as they often have particular modules that relate specifically to control engineering.

Understanding Automatic Control

The purpose behind control engineering is for as little human intervention to be needed. It’s crucial that you are able to know the principles behind automatic control, and how it operates. Knowing how to create open-loop and closed-loop control systems will enable you to create bespoke and accurate control systems.

Excellent Attention to Detail

Employers won’t want to hire engineers who take little care in the work they produce. Control engineers should be particularly attentive, ensuring that any programming or functionality testing they complete is reliable. Engineers who frequently rush to get work complete will instantly put themselves at a disadvantage and struggle to cope with the workload.

Troubleshooting Skills

Troubleshooting is a skill that engineers from all industries should be able to fulfil. Being able to accurately identify a problem within the system, and being able to correctly solve the issue is an essential trait that a control engineer must have. You must have a logical, systematic method of finding the source of the problem, as troubleshooting isn’t just about temporarily fixing the problem, it’s about making sure the same problem doesn’t re-occur.

Ability to Work with High-level Computer Technology

The majority of a control engineer’s daily tasks will involve high-level computer technology, so it’s mandatory that you feel comfortable using it. Confidence and experience in using computer-aided design (CAD) is an example of one of the skills a control engineer might need to know, as is understanding how programming methods, such as PLC and HMI, operate.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

A solid level of communication is needed in order to be a successful control engineer. If clients bring a problem to your attention over the phone or email, it’s important that you are able to provide clear advice and consultancy support that will lead to the problem being solved.

It is also likely that you will have to communicate with other engineers who have been working on the same project as you. Whether this is consulting with different departments, or providing technical direction to other engineers, being able to cooperate with colleagues is crucial to ensuring the final product gets completed and delivers its functional purposes.

Flexible Working Hours

Control engineers usually have to be willing to work irregular hours. As unexpected faults can occur with machinery and systems, you will often have to be on-call and available during different times of the day, including weekends, to be able to visit customers and rectify any problems immediately. Meeting the needs and solving problems of customers as soon as possible also helps to ensure the company maintains a positive reputation.

Work Experience in Control Engineering

Having work experience in a related industry can be particularly favourable for employers of control engineers. It not only shows that you have a genuine interest in the trade, but it also gives you an insight into what working in that sort of environment will feel like.

Control Engineering Opportunities in Bristol and the South West

We are often paring the finest engineers with some of the most established businesses in the south west. If you’re looking for a career as a control engineer, make sure you submit your CV with us today. Control engineer vacancies and related opportunities often become available, so make sure you have signed up for job alerts to avoid missing out!

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