In an industry where the field is ever-changing with customers, interests, and equipment constantly updating, it is difficult to find an engineer who is ready to learn on the job as well as contribute to a project the moment they walk into the office.
Hiring engineers, newly graduated from college, often means they may have little to no hands-on experience or applicable techniques. Even with engineers who are experienced, confidence in craft can take years to cultivate without a proper guidance method. Learning on the job often prepares an individual for surviving in the world of system automation rather than thriving in it.
At Automationnth, we have spent years developing a comprehensive curriculum that guides young engineers into the field of controls automation: NTH University, or NTHU. NTHU is a first-rate program that essentially acts as an apprenticeship to standardize and accelerate controls engineer training. With the baseline of excellence established, controls engineers fresh out of the NTHU program can contribute to a project meaningfully and quickly.
“I have been in the electrical controls industry for more than 30 years. I have seen many approaches to training young engineers in the field of controls and automation. I have never seen a more comprehensive approach to giving new engineers the skills needed to be a team asset right away than Nth University.”
- Shane Cox, Staff Controls Engineer
Several Automationnth engineers started as students of NTHU Internship program before becoming entry-level controls engineers. The Internship Program of NTHU provides collegiate students a space to grow their capabilities in a variety of circumstances.
Through the program, students gain hands-on experience that is both regulated by mentors and consistent in material, from HMI and PLC programming to panel fabrication. The internship culminates with a project where the intern designs and builds a training box from scratch and then programs it to run a sorting application on a small conveyor.
“The two most important lessons and experiences that NTHU gave me: First, the confidence to take on any project from beginning to end …. Second, the connections with other engineers and electricians… Knowing them already made the work environment more fun and interesting when working on other bigger projects.”
- Diego Villanueva, Controls Engineer II, NTH U Class of 2020
NTH University coursework also includes topics such as pneumatics, system startup, ethernet/IP networking, vision systems, and robotics. New hires straight from school start their full-time work by completing more self-guided courses, and engineers who finish this program earn what we consider to be a “Masters in Automation.” NTH University courses also help experienced hires fill in knowledge gaps.
“Engineers that come out of our NTHU program are more capable than any new engineer I have ever worked with in the past. They have a good grasp of the many different disciplines of a controls engineer and can immediately be a contributor on any project. After seeing how capable NTHU graduates are, I wish I would have had the opportunity to experience this curriculum when I was a new controls engineer.”
- Andrew Shade, Staff Controls Engineer, NTHU Mentor since 2019
Besides technical education, NTHU also imparts a priceless safety education. By educating NTHU students on how to work mindfully on the panel shop floor, the parameters for individual safety as well as group safety increase astronomically.
Students will cover topics such as the NTH Emergency Action Plan, HAZCOM, Lock-out/ Tag-out Procedures, etc. Not only are they prepped to maintain the safety guidelines for the home field on the NTH panel shops, but NTHU students are also ready for in-the-field installations.
Students of NTHU take courses that improve their customer relations abilities as well, such as Course 108 – Customer Service for Engineers. At Automationnth, we believe that excellence in Automation means providing the absolute best customer care, ensuring a cradle-to-grave mentality that Automationnth cultivates with every project. By developing a customer-centric mentality, NTHU students are prepared to look for the customer’s best interests in each job task.
“Not many companies invest this amount of time and energy in developing their young engineers. NTH University was one of the primary reasons why I decided to join NTH.”
- Hajah Saleh, Senior Controls Engineer, NTH U Class of 2018
We estimate that engineers who complete our internship program and continue with more advanced NTH University courses develop at 2x-3x the rate at which they would with the traditional “learning by osmosis” approach. This enables us to give our new hires substantial responsibilities on big, complex projects within their first year of full-time work.
When a student graduates from NTHU, they are taught more than the industry core competencies standards; they are taught Automationnth standards. NTHU teaches the core competencies to be fully applied to the NTH Degree so that our design builds are built better with less error than our competitors. Some of the NTHU courses can be provided to our customers. If you would like more information on NTH training, click here.