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I got my electricians licence a few years ago working in commercial construction throughout my apprenticeship, and since then I've been really thinking that automation, control, and programming is what I'm really interested in pursuing based on the little bit of experience I've had with PLC's in school and building automation systems in the field, and how much I like computers and technology in my spare time. Problem is, I'm not quite sure how to move my career in the path from basically only doing construction. Every job I see posted requires engineering or previous experience in this field. I'm 31 years old, and don't know if going back to school for 4 years is right for me. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to transition into this area? Should I head back to school in engineering? How do I get the right kind of experience? Are there any online course options that are attractive to employers? How should I be teaching myself this stuff in my spare time? Any good books? Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.
 

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IMO, you will need to get schooled in PLC. My son is studying it now but is doing it in the evenings after his day job. Once you have the training maybe you can look at commercial or industrial work where the PLC job is needed. Depending on your area you may not be able to just do PLC so get the training and slowly make the transition
 

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I got my electricians licence a few years ago working in commercial construction throughout my apprenticeship, and since then I've been really thinking that automation, control, and programming is what I'm really interested in pursuing based on the little bit of experience I've had with PLC's in school and building automation systems in the field, and how much I like computers and technology in my spare time. Problem is, I'm not quite sure how to move my career in the path from basically only doing construction. Every job I see posted requires engineering or previous experience in this field. I'm 31 years old, and don't know if going back to school for 4 years is right for me. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to transition into this area? Should I head back to school in engineering? How do I get the right kind of experience? Are there any online course options that are attractive to employers? How should I be teaching myself this stuff in my spare time? Any good books? Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.
Welcome to the forum:thumbsup:

Not only should you be teaching yourself this stuff in my spare time, but I'm sure that there are schools the specialize in this area of the electrical trade, I don't think that you'll need 4 years of electrical engineering however.

There are tons of YouTube video's that you can learn from on this topic.

Good luck.
 

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When it comes to PLC's and Instrumentation, for most people they need formal training for the basics. Once you learn the fundamentals it is fairly easy to progress. For years 99% of what I programmed was Allen Bradley but now there are better (and cheaper $ $) brands out there. I started programming in 1985 and still have to refresh myself with each project. If you can think in a "logical" way you should have no problem.
 

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I don't think you don't need a 4-year degree unless you want to become an engineer; some PLC and industrial control classes on the other hand is a good idea. Around here most of the electrical maintenance guys in factories are expected to be able to use the PLC for troubleshooting, and do some minor programming; that might be a good spot to gain some practical experience.
 
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