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Engineering Power engineering, what is it really like day to day?

  1. Sep 19, 2012 #1
    I am a 1st year engineering student, and I am trying to decide what route to focus on after my first year. Right now the classes I am in are basic for all engineering disiplines, so I have a short window to figure it out. Next semester, though, I start more specified classes so I gotta decide soon. I really, really, really like power lines, electricty, sub stations, and that sort of stuff so I am interested in power systems engineering but I cannot seem to find much on the net about what they actually do day to day and what the various jobs are in power engineering.

    I have read that it is a good job field but I would really like to hear what you guys have to say on the subject. If I do not go for power systems engineering then I may end up just going into electrical engineering in general and see what else I can find.

    I just happen to really like electricty, from how it operates on an atomic level all the way up to the generation and transportation of it.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2012 #2
    A huge growth field with increasing demand for energy, the establishment of a smart grid, and a large move toward distributed power on micro grids. All this cheap and abundant natural gas creates a large demand in this field.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  4. Sep 19, 2012 #3
    Oh that's great to hear, i'll be heading to my advisor later today to make the switch!

    What does a power engineer do in his or her daily routine?
  5. Sep 19, 2012 #4
    There is no standard routine. Each job is different and there is a huge variety. That is true of all engineering fields. I'm a mechanical design engineer in a closely related field. I've worked with pwr folks in many capacities in the last several decades. But looking ahead for the next generation it looks better than ever before.
  6. Sep 19, 2012 #5
    That sounds good to me. My biggest fear in my adult life was ending up in a job that was more or less the same thing everyday. Luckily my current job lets me choose my own hours and lets me decide what I do and when I do it (within reason, I can't decide to not work for a year and still get a paycheck.)

    From your experience, what do power engineers generally oversee? Are they designing sub stations (do they even do that,) or what?

    Your input is very, very appreciated man. I talk to my new adviser next week so this info will help me out while talking with him about my future.
  7. Sep 19, 2012 #6
    You can work in a utility where you take care of all assets delivering the power. You can be working in a generation station. Or you can be monitoring a state/many states power system in the real time. You can be doing very mechanical job like designing transmission towers/substations.

    Or, you can end up in some oil company. They fly you to a remote location, you work there for a week and then next week off.

    Or, you can be in some consulting company designing solar panels/wind etc.

    You can be working in a manufacturing plant making generators/motors or you can make transformers.

    ... and so on.
  8. Sep 20, 2012 #7
    Root is right. There are a huge number of job options and each is different.
  9. Sep 21, 2012 #8
    I finally have picked out a career where every pathway sounds interesdting to me.
  10. Sep 22, 2012 #9
    My cousin is a power engineer. He had a job once where he did nothing for 8 hours a day (he was basically only there in case something happens to the building and he would have to solve the problem) so he brought his guitar and lap top and other things to work to kill time. now he has another job and he says he doesn't really do that much either.

    He says he gets paid for what he knows, not what he does. mostly he just monitors the building's data?( i don't know anything about power engineering so i don't know the correct terms for what he does) and if there is anything wrong he fixes it.
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