1. How long have you worked as an engineer?
2. How long have you worked for this organization?
Five years - I have been working for Chevron, an major oil company, since I graduated with my degree in Chemical Engineering.
3. What are your responsibilities?
I work as a process engineer in a oil refinery. I am responsible for monitoring the operation of several small units within the refinery that treat fuels.
4. What do you perceive to be the major rewards of this job?
It is very interesting and "real world" paced. Every day I come to work not knowing what type of issue I may be troubleshooting within my plant. I have to use many different technical skills (and often people skills) to solve the problem! It is also very well paying.
5. What do you like most about this job?
I like that the work is varied, face paced, and technical.
6. What are the major frustrations in this job?
I don't have any major complaints. The worst things are probably the hours (I'm "on-call" 24/7 if there was an issue) and working in a very industrial environment isn't for everyone (to go out in the field I have to wear steel toed boots and a hard hat, I have to climb ladders to access equipment, etc.). I don't sit in a glamous office all day in a skirt and high heels.
Also, oil refineries are not located in "nice" locations - most are along the Gulf Coast or away from major cities.
7. What are the most frequently recurring problems?
Often I have to troubleshoot an issue in a distillation column and determine how to fix it. Or I will need to analyze how much life is left in the catalyst in the reactor to determine when it needs to be replaced.
8. Is this job better or worse now than it was a few years ago? Why?
About the same.
9. What advice would you give to a person coming into a job like yours?
Good question. Many engineers are guilty of having poor social skills - but we do need them! For example, I often need to convince a 50 year old operator (usually high school educated) that he should increase the temperature in the distillation column to resolve the issue. He has a lot more experience working on the unit but I have the technical background. Carefully explaining the technical details is important to work the issue out and this takes good communication and interpersonal skills.
10. What are the education requirements and experience for this job?
A bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering. Having one or more technical internships during the summer while you are in college is a must to be able to easily find a job when you graduate.
Hope this helps!