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Instrumentation Engineering Technologists Spotlight

In the oil and gas industry, electronic instruments communicate with well systems and equipment in refineries, upgraders and pipelines. Instrumentation Engineering Technologists design, adapt, install, maintain and repair these intricate systems.

What a typical day looks like:

Instrumentation Engineering Technologists use technology to make machines do what they’re supposed to do. They read and analyze drawings, schematics and equipment manuals to design, repair or adapt the specifications of a device.

Working with a multidisciplinary team, Instrumentation Engineering Technologists are one part of a big puzzle that designs devices that play different parts in larger, complex processes. Technicians focus more on maintenance and repairs, receiving work orders and traveling to the field (e.g., drilling rigs, pump stations or refineries) to troubleshoot equipment instrumentation issues. On the design side, they work on software systems and contact instrumentation suppliers to select the right devices for the process or system.

These technologists can work either in the field or office, depending on whether their focus is the maintenance, calibration and repair side, or the design side of the business. Employed by industrial instrument servicing companies and exploration and production (E&P), oil and gas services and pipeline sectors of the oil and gas industry, they usually work a standard 40-hour week with overtime needed to meet project deadlines or troubleshoot issues.

The kinds of problems Instrumentation Engineering Technologists solve at work:

Instrumentation Engineering Technologists are called in to repair a device or electronic systems. They determine if it is a device malfunction or a design issue. Maybe the device works perfectly but it was the wrong device for the application. They interact with operators to sleuth out the cause of the issue and then they calibrate and repair analytical equipment, instrumentation, controls and their associated systems or replace defective electrical, electronic or instrument parts as needed.

Skills used most on the job:

Instrumentation Engineering Technologists have strong computer skills and use many new software packages to do their job effectively. They also have a strong aptitude for math, chemistry and physics and can visualize 3D objects from 2D drawings. They can also monitor operations, repair equipment and install programs.

The task may seem simple, like measuring flow rates, pressures, weights, levels or temperatures, but the technology behind it all is very sophisticated. Instrumentation Engineering Technologists harness the power of technology to make everything run smoothly.

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