Planning Engineering Careers Staff and Line
- C.S. Matthews (Shell Development Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- November 1968
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,223 - 1,228
- 1968. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 1.6 Drilling Operations
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The basic aim of engineering career planning should be to provide the optimum opportunity for self-development. Planning for the early years should encourage development of technical proficiency. Later planning can then be directed either toward development of a highly qualified specialist or toward development of an administrator.
During the last decade two factors have tended to emphasize the importance of career planning for engineers. The first of these is the growing dependence of companies upon engineering and research for economic success. The second is the shortage of engineering talent. These two factors make it imperative that the talent of each engineer be developed and used in an optimum manner optimum from the standpoint of both the individual and the company. The aims and goals of both the individual and the company must be compatible. Successful career planning strives to satisfy the need and desires of both.
To develop and use staff in an optimum manner, career planning is necessary. Career planning may be thought of as the providing of an environment conducive to the growth of an individual, and with his growth, the growth of the company. Provision of this environment the challenges, training, responsibilities, recognition and reward is the duty of the career planners. Other than to provide this environment and to provide motivation through recognition and reward, there is little the career planners can do to aid the development of an individual. The responsibility for this development rests solely on that individual. He alone can provide the necessary motivation and effort for his own growth. These two aspects then, career planning and self development, go hand in hand, and each is equally important in development of a successful career.
Helpful advice in planning the career of the young engineer has been given by Sands and Brown. Danielson has given insight into how engineers view themselves and their careers in his "Characteristics of Engineers and Scientists". This insight was gained through interviews with scientists and engineers and thus is of considerable value to the career planner. Much has been written about preparing the engineer to manage. Miller has discussed the training of engineers for management and Wilson has discussed the selection of candidates for management from the engineering ranks. From the viewpoint of aiding self-development of an engineer Douma points out what management expects of an engineer and suggests methods for achieving these expectations.
Many of the thoughts given in the sections to follow can be found in these cited references. In addition, I have drawn heavily on the thoughts of colleagues in my own and in other companies. To them must go the credit for most of the ideas that will be discussed. These ideas are directed specifically toward career planning in an exploration and production organization of large to medium size. However, many of the ideas will apply to career planning in any organization.
Career Planning for the Early Years
The basic principle in providing the environment conducive to engineering growth in the early years is: Treat the newly hired engineer as a professional, not as a trainee, from the day he starts. Sands and Brown have made this point well. Although some sort of training is usually necessary, most of this can be combined with the doing of a useful job. In doing a job the new employee not only will learn faster, but also will gain a feeling of accomplishment and worthiness.
The responsibility for guidance and development in the early years should be placed with the supervisory engineer at the first level. He should encourage the new employee to undertake the technical approach from the start. The supervisor should also make it clear that the purpose of the engineering effort is to produce profits. The new employee should be told that he will be judged on the basis of how well he applies his technical knowledge to this goal.
It is the local supervisor who can best tailor a program of "learning through doing" to fit the individual engineer's needs and can but fit this training to the local work load. He can also arrange for such formal training as is needed to round out the engineer's background. Training is particularly helpful for engineers who have entered the petroleum field after graduation in another engineering specialty such as mechanical engineering. Early training courses should provide an orientation to drilling and production and an introduction to the technical knowledge available in these areas. They should emphasize continuing on-the-job technical development. The content of the early training courses should be restricted to material closely related to the engineer's current work.
As the engineer develops skills he should be given added responsibility. Again, it is important to do this early, for the young engineer is anxious to prove himself and nothing negates enthusiasm so much as a "later on" attitude.
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