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Computer Engineer Spotlight

Computer Engineers are the people behind the sophisticated gadgetry and hardware embedded throughout oil and gas operations. They do all the preparation and development work necessary to modify or integrate computer, information and communication system networks. In the oil and gas industry, this means that they are the brains behind complex production and processing systems, surface wellhead systems, high-pressure fluid control equipment, and marine loading systems.

What a typical day looks like:

The oil and gas industry has become increasingly more automated and complex throughout the years. Computer Engineers are responsible for the unending number of processes, hardware and software that make the industry tick. They do everything from researching, planning and designing the systems through to developing, testing and integrating computer and telecommunications hardware and other data communications systems.

Computer Engineers develop complex production and processing systems and find ways to retrieve, store and manipulate data for the analysis. They can have highly specialized or technical jobs or they can remain more generalized depending on preference and experience. A Computer Engineer working on a downhole tool will have a completely different experience than one who is integrating telecommunications hardware or dealing with fibre-optic networks.

Computer Engineers work a standard 40-hour work week and are employed by computer and telecommunications hardware manufacturers, engineering, manufacturing and telecommunications firms and information technology consulting firms.

The kinds of problems Computer Engineers solve at work:

Computer Engineers solve assigned problems and present high tech options and solutions that align with business goals. This could be something as specific as developing a sensor that turns off a compressor station when a certain valve opens. They might specialize in developing hardware for embedded devices in oil and gas equipment. Whatever the problem is, they undertake the research and find reasonable, timely and cost-effective solutions for the company.

Skills used most on the job:

Computer Engineers have a vast knowledge of electronics and even some mechanical expertise, as computer technologies often bridge over into mechanical processes in the field. They understand computers, electronics, engineering and systems. Their role isn’t solely focused on machines though; they also need to interact with technicians, designers and end-users through training and project implementation and maintenance phases.

Computer Engineers develop solutions to complex problems. This could include a wellhead tool that receives temperature data and sends it up to the drill rig for geologists to review, a tool receiving vibration data from geophones sent to seismic experts for analysis, or the controller box attached to the pump jack. If there is a technological solution, they are involved.

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