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Archive for November, 2009

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INTRODUCTION

So many professionals asked me about Certifications in Instrumentation and Control field. This post is an answer to their questions.  Having obtained P. Eng., CFSE &  CAP, I would like to shed some light on why professional certification is important, Which are the choices  and some of the strategies which have worked for me to prepare for these certificates.

WHY ?

Why do we have to obtain these certificates though we have enough experience and skill?

The reply is about creating personal brand. Distinguishing yourself from the  crowd. Just like Sony, Apple and Lexus are brands, we can create our own brand by obtaining these certifications. Brand gives you premium.  Secondly, it provides credibility, which is by third-party like ISA ,CFSE , APEGGA or ASET. Hiring managers have now so many choices with professionals for a particular job. You can create better  impression about yourself to these hiring managers not only for jobs, but also for pay rise.

Definitely,  right experience and skills are required for job and no certificate can replace that.  However, these certificates can complement to that. This shows commitment towards continuous improvement and strive for excellence. Polls have shown that higher education definitely gives you higher salary, similarly these certificates will provide you an edge and leverage to ask for higher pay/salary. Here is the details if you want to know more.

http://www.automation.com/survey-results/automation-com-2008-salary-survey-results

HOW ?

Having answered why do we need these certifications, I delve into the details of “how”.

Professional Engineering license is the first that comes to mind. If you are in Canada, Engineering is a regulated professional and one must have this license or must work under the person who has such license.

Even, so many jobs ask for P Eng. as a mandatory requirement.

The details on how to get P Eng ( for Alberta, Canada) can be obtained at:

http://www.apegga.org/Applicants/Engineers/toc.html

APEGGA also conduct seminars regularly to provide information on registering as P Eng.

Even though,  if you do not have the experience for applying (e.g. for foreign graduates , minimum 10 years of experience in Engineering is required, out of which one year must be in Canada), one can start preparing resume and talking to reference in advance. This will reduce the effort and simplify the process of applying for P. Eng.

The registration details for Technologist are at :

http://www.aset.ab.ca/pages/Membership/CertificationProcess.aspx

CAP/CCST

Once you get  P. Eng. or P.Tech. (Eng), the next certification can be CAP (Certified Automation Professional), CCST( Certified Control System Technician) and/or CFSE (Certified Functional Safety Expert)/CFSP.
CAP is the certificate provided by ISA (International Society of Automation).  According to ISA website, CAPs are  responsible for the direction, definition, design, development/application, deployment, documentation, and support of systems, software, and equipment used in control systems, manufacturing information systems, systems integration, and operational consulting.

CAP details are at:

http://www.isa.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Products_and_Services/Certification3/Certified_Automation_Professional1/Certified_Automation_Professional.htm
 
To write CAP exam, one must study all seven domains: Feasibility study, Definition, System design , Development, Deployment and Operation & Maintenance. In addition to distribution of questions in these seven domains, there are seven Technical categories, which are: Basic Continous Control, Basic Discrete, Sequencing and Manufacturing Control,  Advance Control, (Reliability , Safety and Electrical), Integration and Software, Deployment and Maintenance and Work structure.

If you would like to know some more details on PE and CAP, this article  from Control magazine will help you.

http://www.controlglobal.com/articles/2008/pe_cap_certification0810.html

You can find  CCST details at:

http://www.isa.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Products_and_Services/Certification3/Certified_Control_Systems_Technician/Certified_Control_Systems_Technician.htm

CFSE/CFSP/TÜV Functional Safety Engineer

If you are doing work related to Safety Instrumented System (SIS) then CFSE or CFSP is the way to go. According to  CFSE website:

This certificate ensure that personnel performing SIS life-cycle activities are competent as required by the IEC 61508, 61511 and 62061 standards.

The reason that  one should become CFSE/CFSP is that standards require a proof of qualification to insure safety knowledge & skill are up-to-date, and some companies now require CFSE holders to oversee safety projects & CFSP holders to execute them.

For CFSE/CFSP details:
http://www.cfse.org/process.php

Apart for CFSE/CFSP,  TÜVRheinland offers TÜV Functional Safety Engineer certificate. The details can be obtained at:

http://www.tuvasi.com/en/t-v-functional-safety-program/t-v-functional-safety-engineer.html

PMP

Other than, these certificates, Project Management Professional (PMP) by PMI (Project Management Institute) can be pursued if the work demands project management like many Automation companies like Honeywell, Emerson  & Invensys asks PMP for the Project Manager job handling project related to Automation.

Here is the link:

http://www.pmi.org/CareerDevelopment/Pages/AboutCredentialsPMP.aspx

STRATEGIES

Now, I will discuss some of the strategies which have worked for me to obtain these certificates.

(1) Consult the person who has already done such certificate. Ask him to be your mentor if possible.

(2) Buy/obtain the training material as suggested by these organizations.

(3) Take training class if you can afford or your company pays for that. I haven’t taken any training class for obtaining CFSE, CAP certificate.

(4) Create group and discuss. I personally feel that this really helps as one can share the learning and discuss doubts.

(5) Make a schedule and read every day. i.e, 25 pages on normal day and 150 pages on weekend. Discipline is the key to success.

(6) Practice and Practice…Keep practicing online questions or written questions. Treat as if you are giving real exam.

Hope this post will inspire at least one person to obtain any of these certificates. If you are looking for job, this is the right time to prepare for these certificates.

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Creative Technology

Pranav Mistry is the master of technology when it comes to interfacing physical world to Digital world.

He is the innovator of Sixsense, a wearable device which provide awesome physical Interaction to Computing world.

Here is the video of his presentation at TED India.

http://www.ted.com/talks/pranav_mistry_the_thrilling_potential_of_sixthsense_technology.html

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Do not give up

I am touched by this Video of  Nick Vujicic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4uG2kSdd-4

This video will definitely uplift your spirit.

When going gets tough, the tough gets going..

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Dell-Latitude-C500-keyboard

I am writing this post to demonstrate , how effectively one can use Internet to repair Computer.

My Dell Vostro Keyboard’s key  ‘P’  was not working. I tried usual stuff of cleaning the key , but all in vain.

Next step  was to search for keyboard on Ebay. I found 1 keyboard costing 15.00 USD. I ordered the same.

My friend Asit Shah sent me video from YouTube on how to replace Dell keyboard. After seeing the video, it took me less than 10 minutes to replace the faulty  keyboard.

Total money spent : 15 USD.

Total time spent : 30 minutes ( 20 for searching on Ebay and placing order + 10 for replacement of keyboard).

Special thanks to Asit Shah for making this possible.

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Wealth Creation and Management

I read “Richest Man in Babylon” by George Clason. A classic on Wealth. A 5000 years old philosophy still applicable today.
Here are the key points:
(1) Save 10% of your earning minimum.
(2) Invest that to profitable venture.
(3) While investing take advice of expert of that Investment.
(4) Pay 20% of your earning to reduce debt.
I have personally implemented this and seen the result.
I do see that investing in your home is one of the best investment a person can make. Stock offers another good investment option. Automating the saving plan really helps. Another good strategy is making Bi-weekly payment on mortgage as you make one more payment in year.

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This is my first blog post. I thought a lot about what to write. Then , a thought came about goals, vision, Blue print. This is the first step to success, Ultimate secret, pinnacle of Success. Reading through blogs of successful people and watching You tube and based on my own personal success, I realized that figuring out what we want to accomplish in life is of paramount importance. It’s the first priority.

Are we doing that? Taking time to think and write about our goals, vision …

As soon as you get time, write down your goals in a diary and reflect on it. It will take some time to become meaningful and relevent.

Start doing now.

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