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自动化技术将何去何从?

吉姆平托,action instruments technology创始人(原总裁兼首席执行官),自动化行业分析家和评论家、作家、技术趋势顾问和天使投资人。

自动化产业正迅速地朝着“技能短缺”的方向发展 ,这一现象将在目前这一代工程师退休后显现。负责未来工厂和过程自动化设备运作的新工程师和技术人员将来自何方?

许多人认为自动化产业正迅速地朝着“技能短缺”的方向发展,这一现象将在目前这一代工程师退休后显现。
负责未来工厂和过程自动化设备运作的新工程师和技术人员将来自何方?我希望以下的观点能有所帮助。
去年在休斯敦的展会上,我和两三个石油公司的技术人员聊天。他们都是三十来岁,大概有10年的工作经验。我们聊到了有关薪酬和前景的话题。作为既聪明又有抱负的年轻小伙子,他们参加展览会不只是为了寻找新的设备,而是在探寻更好的工作。他们渴望进步,但感觉被阻挡了。透过每年薪水的增长幅度,可以看出进步的过程过于缓慢和困难。
然后,他们的“老板”出现了,我开始和他交谈。这时他的那两位员工都谨慎地离开了。他承认,公司的确已经制定了与业内其他公司类似的带年度加薪计划的薪级表。没错,对于优秀的员工,确实有增长和提升的空间。但是,对于大多数人来说,不换工作就没法跨越一个或两个薪级。我问他,从一个新手发展到能承担一定责任的级别,他认为需要多长时间。他说他自己花了10-15年,这一年限可能就是“平均值”。
过去,仪器仪表技术员和工程师并不精通电脑。不得不通过漫长的“学徒期”来获得过程工程技能,——通常学徒期长达数年甚至几十年。今天的问题是,企业的管理者正在简单地延用旧的用工模式。
随着整个产业的工作环境转向高科技,新一代的过程和自动化工程师以及技术人员将完全不同。他们是伴随着电脑游戏、互联网、pda和手机成长起来的。一些电脑游戏比典型的过程设备或监控系统更为复杂。相比之下,如今控制室里的软件工具和智能设备对于这些工程师来说简直就是小菜一碟。但是,公司的政策仍然是通过过时的学习标准去衡量进展情况。这就是为什么如今这些聪明的年轻人避开工厂和车间的工作,而出去寻找自动化业务以外的工作。
仪器、系统和自动化学会(isa)正努力工作以扩展“认证自动化专家”的形象和价值。但是,由于缺少对专业的认知,工作受到了阻碍。关键的问题是——自动化专业人士会被认为能带来更高的底薪和更快的发展吗?如果没有这种认知,认证将一文不值。isa所面临的挑战是说服雇主,让他们认可cap计划所带来的优点。如果cap认证能带来较大的薪酬差异,工程师们就会希望获得这项认证。但直到目前,这还只是空话。
可编程控制器(plc)及《the technology machine - how manufacturing will look in the year 2020》一书的合著者迪克·莫雷建议说,改变这一现状需要大量的社会变革及思维定式的改变。孩子们必须“感觉”到他们的工程师爸爸正在从事有意义的工作。薪级标准必须改变,以鼓励最聪明和最优秀的人才成为工程师和创新者。制造业的人士必须被认为是专业人士。工程和制造业中的英雄们必须得到承认和赞扬。
未来的工作场所——相当于“工厂”——必须是明亮且能激发人们工作欲望的地方,人们在那里享受工作,并且工作具有挑战性和成就感。知识工作者不需要时间卡、预定的工作时间和监督者。如今的年轻人很聪明,甚至有点傲慢。他们希望工作,但与他们的父母不同,他们不希望工作成为他们的生活。如果能被吸引,他们将成为未来自动化的工程师和技术人员。

whither automation skills?

the automation industry is quickly developing a "skills shortage" which will occur after the current generation of engineers retires. where will the new engineers and technicians come from to operate future factories and process automation plants?

many people think that the automation industry is quickly developing a "skills shortage," which will occur after the current generation of engineers retires.
where will the new engineers and technicians come from to operate future factories and process automation plants? here are some insights that i hope will help.

i was chatting with a couple of oil company technicians at a houston exhibition last year. they were in their 30s and had about 10 years of experience. we got to talking about pay and prospects. as smart, ambitious young men, they were at the exhibition not just looking for new equipment, but prospecting for better jobs. they were eager to move ahead, but felt blocked - progress, doled out through annual salary increments, was too slow and arduous.

then their "boss" appeared and i started talking with him while his two juniors discreetly disappeared. he acknowledged that the company had definite salary scales, with annual pay increases, comparable with the rest of the industry. yes,there was indeed room for growth and promotions for exceptional performers, but most people did not jump more than a pay grade or two without switching jobs. i asked him how long he felt it would take new recruits to progress to some level of responsibility; he said it had taken him 10 to 15 years, and that was probably "average".
in the old days, instrumentation technicians and engineers were not really computer literate. and process engineering skills had to be acquired through a long "apprenticeship" - often years, and even decades. the problem today is that corporate administrators are simply extrapolating old patterns of employment.
as industry transforms into a high-tech workplace, the new generation of process and automation engineers and technicians will be completely different. they will have grown up with computer games, the internet, pdas and cellphones. some computer games are more complex than typical process plants or monitoring systems. by comparison, the software tools and smart equipment in today抯 control rooms should be a cakewalk. but company policies are still measuring progress by obsolete learning standards. and this is why bright youngsters shun jobs in factories and plants, and go off looking for careers outside the automation business.
the instrumentation, systems and automation society (isa) is working diligently to develop the image and value of "certified automation professionals". but progress is stymied by lack of recognition of the profession. here`s the key question - will automation professionals be recognized with higher base pay and faster advancement? without that recognition, certification is worthless. isa`s challenge is to convince employers of the merits of the cap program. if there`s a big pay differential that comes with cap certification, engineers will want to achieve that status. right now, it`s just eyewash.
dick morley, father of the programmable logic controller (plc), and co-author of the book, "the technology machine - how manufacturing will look in the year 2020", suggests that the remedies require significant social change, a modification of the mind-set. kids must "feel" that their engineer-dad is working at something significant. pay scales must change, to encourage the brightest and best to become engineers and innovators. manufacturing people must be considered professionals. heroes of engineering and manufacturing must be recognized and lauded.
future workplaces - the equivalent of "factories" - must be bright and stimulating places where people enjoy working and the jobs are challenging and rewarding. knowledge workers don抰 need time cards, defined working hours and staff-sergeant supervisors. today`s young people are smart, and even brash. they want to work, but unlike their parents, they don`t want work to be their lives. if they can be attracted, they are the ones who will be the automation engineers and technicians of tomorrow.

[我要评论] | 本文来自:2008年第6期“国际组织”上 ,已经被阅读过86683
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