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What do power engineers study?

  1. Jun 1, 2013 #1
    Hi all,

    I just finished my first of a 2 year program in Canada for electrical eng. technology, a technologist for my out of canada friends is a middle man between an eng. and a tech.

    We have a year to go, and then after I can consider transitioning to Uni to get a degree.

    All that aside...in terms of job security it seems like engineers working with power and energy seem to have a good and healthy amount of work, and steady employment, especially in Canada. I haven't really learned much about power engineering, and what power engineers know, and was hoping someone could chime in with some info about them, and in particular give me some insight on the types of skills or information i can read up on this summer as i have time off.

    My main areas of interest in power are:

    Energy stations (power plants, etc)
    power grids

    thank you all in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 1, 2013 #2


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    There's actually a ton of work out there in powering factories. I believe these are going to be the jobs with the most demand. From primary sub to factory sub to motor control center or power panels, to various loads, etc...along with all controls. Typically, this stuff can be huge horsepower...big giant cables, etc. Tire factories are a great example of this...they constantly need to upgrade to keep competitive with all the other brands. Some of the tire manufacturers are global giants in the business world. That means your jobs will be worldwide as well....not that you need to leave the office, but you will be working on plants in USA, Brazil, Japan, Indonesia...etc. A tire factory is just one example...

    Getting involved with the power companies or power plants should also hold a lot of jobs, but I'm guessing a bit less than the factories.

    Solar renewable is going to be the least job demand....at least for now.

    I'm from USA, but I don't see much difference between Canada in regards to this thread.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2013
  4. Jun 1, 2013 #3


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    One may wish to explore organizations like IEEE Power & Energy Society.


    For power engineering, the three big areas are generation (basically electrical generation and generators, and to some extent transformers), transmission and distribution (substations, distribution and transmission lines, reactive power control (for AC), transformers, relaying), and power electronics (motors, communications, machinery, electric furnaces, . . . ), which provide the load to the system.
  5. Jun 1, 2013 #4


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    Hi DeeJay,
    I am a graduate electrical engineering technologist (NL) currently attending engineering in Thunder Bay (ON). (Transistion student)
    I'm working in the summers doing the job I was doing before I went to uni - an industrial electrician.
    I know if you're interested in the electric power industry you won't likely being out of a job. There are major projects going on just here in NL regarding HVDC subsea transmission links from labrador to newfoundland through to the rest of the atlantic provinces. Similar exciting projects occur all the time in every province.
    I don't want to seem biased, and I definitely wouldn't want to misinform you - but I have reason to believe the power industry as a very stable one.

    All the best
  6. Jun 1, 2013 #5

    long story short, I went to uni and have two BA degrees, and worked for a few years as well. What are your thoughts on doing the transition program to lakehead? How are you finding it? Do you think it is absolutely essential for me to get another degree through lakehead, or should my BAs with my diploma help put me in a good position for employment?
  7. Jun 1, 2013 #6


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    It depends on the work you want to do, colleagues of mine who worked/work in the power industry who completed their tech diploma typically tend to work in the engineering dept. but typically doing things like CAD drawings and overseeing projects in the field. The engineers do most of the researching into the projects (at least that's how it seems)

    You will definitely be employable, in Canada (any province) w/ your tech diploma.

    I am finding lakehead good, last semester courses were all 90+ but as w/ any engineering program a LOT of work.

    I will say this though - they glamour students from all over the country into "diploma + 2 years = engineering degree" don't fall for it. You will have to do a barrage of make-up courses which they will not tell you about until you get there for your first summer transition which you force you (almost 100% of the people I've talked to) into a third year.

    I would of went to MUN given my time back

    With that said I have been told I will be MUCH more employable having completed an engineering degree combined with the tech diploma combined with my industrial elect. trade.

    For me, it was worth it, but I suppose it depends on what you wanted to do in the power industry.
  8. Jun 1, 2013 #7
    Well that is the allure of the program for me, as you and I both seem to be a bit older, I want to complete my studies as soon as possible.

    Autocad seems to be very important when I talk to people as well...perhaps I should invest some time this summer to develop my cad skills.

    Couple of questions

    1: what is MUN

    2: are the makeup courses only for the first summer (transition for 2nd to 3rd year) or for each year you are there?

    3: i have the summer off now and want to develop my knowledge, understnading and skillset about power....any ideas, topics, websites that i could look at to begin?

    BTW...kudos on a 90+ average...in engineering i think it's safe to say that is almost god-like

    thanks FOIWATER, best wishes.
  9. Jun 2, 2013 #8


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    I'm 23 actually,
    yeah for sure CAD is important a great asset for anyone to learn
    1. mun, memorial university newfoundland
    2. Engineering Analysis A, Engineering Analysis B, Engineering Mechanics, Thermodynamics & Heat Transfer (Summer courses, Eng Analysis A is a 8 month course, condensed to a month - it's hectic depending on your math abilities at the time of entry, to some i'm sure it's elementary)
    3. About Power - enjoy all you can about protective relaying, transformer/motor/generator theory, fault calculations, you know those sorts of things.. A decent book for elementary power system analysis is Power Systems: Analysis and Design (Glover, Sarma, Overbye)
    No it's not such a hard thing to attain a 90 average if you work hard every day of the year
    Thanks, best wishes to you as well.
  10. Jun 3, 2013 #9
    There will always be jobs in power - you may consider looking for hand on or "practical" work in assembly or service, but for a larger organization that has a continuing education program.

    The challenge will be the background theory - that is more heavily stressed in a 4 Ye Engineering program. The 2 year degree tend to be more focused on skills - still will be employable especially in Power. The 2 year programs will teach how to get the work done, the 4 year will teach WHY it works the way it does.

    OH FOIWATER - where are you from in Nfld?: I have family in Bay Roberts, Harbor Grace, and St. Johns, my dad grew up in Carbonear - and went to MUN - I am in the states now.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  11. Jun 3, 2013 #10


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    Nice to hear that Windadct, I am from the most northern part, outside st. anthony but I also have family in and around st john's, (nice to hear those communities mentioned as well, very familiar w/ them (and people from) them all!) I did my three year tech diploma in st john's, and debated going to memorial, in retrospect I should of, three years going back and forth to Ontario (western, ontario) and my job here (on the quebec-labrador boarder) (iron ore mining) is a bit much,

    I agree w/ you about jobs regarding jobs in power!
  12. Jun 3, 2013 #11
    Yikes - St. Anthony is remote..... we drove across once from the ferry at Port aux Basques. -- seemed like a good idea at the time....
  13. Jun 3, 2013 #12


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    indeed it is,
    try living in Labrador!
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