Industry 4.0 and What it Means for Your Future Engineering Career

Industry 4.0 is a modern phrase used to describe the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In each of the three revolutions that came before it, significant change occurred. The driver behind those changes was usually technology, but the impact was far-reaching. This includes changing economic structures in countries, the makeup of societies, and, importantly, the future prospects of workers.

What about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, though? After all, one of the key characteristics of Industry 4.0 is a further deepening of the use of automation in a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing. Many of these automation solutions replace people who previously did the work manually.

The reality is that some jobs will no longer exist as Industry 4.0 technologies become further embedded in manufacturing companies. There is a flip side to this, though. For engineers, that flip side looks very positive.

Industry 4.0 Opportunities

While Industry 4.0 technologies will replace some jobs, it will create many more. Those jobs will be in a number of areas but one of the most significant is engineering.

This is because companies will need skilled, creative, and innovative engineers to create, implement, manage, support, and maintain the solutions, technologies, platforms, and systems that are now possible in the Industry 4.0 era.

In other words, Smart Factories of the future may not need some of the workers that exist today, but they will need engineers.

Whether you are an experienced engineer, an engineer at the start of your career, or a student with aspirations to become an engineer, Industry 4.0 presents considerable opportunities.

Maximising Your Potential

As opportunities do exist and will continue to exist long into the future, you need to take steps now to ensure you are in a good position to maximise your potential. A key part of this is ensuring you continuously develop your professional skills.

This includes technical skills, learning new technologies, and enhancing your current level of knowledge. In addition, you should work to improve your soft skills as employers value these skills too.

It’s also important to have an open mind in terms of your engineering discipline. This is because manufacturing facilities of the future will require people who have a broad range of skills, rather than those who specialise in a particular discipline such as mechanical or electrical engineering.

You might need both in addition to validation skills and the ability to write code, for example.

This is one of the characteristics of engineers at SL Controls. Our team is made up of engineers who came to us with a solid foundation but who have then broadened their skillsets and areas of knowledge so they can contribute to the range of projects we work on for clients.

Your Future Engineering Career

We can guess at what the Smart Factory of the future will look like, and we can try to imagine the technologies that have yet to be developed but which will become essential when they do become available.

One thing is for certain, however – engineers are crucial to the journey.

Emer Feeney

Emer is SL Controls' HR Generalist. She has extensive Human Resource experience within multinational companies across the engineering, IT and insurance sector. Emer provides HR support in a number of key activities including talent acquisition, employee relations, policy implementation, training and development, and delivery of human resource programmes. Emer is also the Wellbeing Champion for SL Controls' Sligo office.

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