Questions about chemical/process engineering.

Ask questions about projects relating to: aerodynamics or hydrodynamics, astronomy, chemistry, electricity, electronics, physics, or engineering

Moderators: MelissaB, kgudger, Ray Trent, Moderators

Questions about chemical/process engineering.

Postby inkpen » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:43 pm

Chemical Engineering?

OK, i'm looking into getting funding for school and I got my eyes set on chemical engineering because I Love science (and I mean love. I would marry it I find it so fascinating). So far as getting my funding goes I have a bit of research to complete, part of that being I have to find someone who has the career already and ask them a few questions. Some of the questions are just out there but I figured i could find some help on here. So, if someone could assist me I would greatly appreciate it. The questions are as follows ; {also a response from 2 people would be preferred}

1. How long have you worked as an engineer?

2. How long have you worked for this organization?

3. What are your responsibilities?

4. What do you perceive to be the major rewards of this job?

5. What do you like most about this job?

6. What are the major frustrations in this job?

7. What are the most frequently recurring problems?

8. Is this job better or worse now than it was a few years ago? Why?

9. What advice would you give to a person coming into a job like yours?

10. What are the education requirements and experience for this job?

If you can help Thank You very much for helping me congregate my future :)
inkpen
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:37 pm
Occupation: student
Project Question: Engineering
Project Due Date: n/a
Project Status: I am conducting my research

Re: Questions about chemical/process engineering.

Postby billeykamp » Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:59 pm

Dear Inkpen,

I worked as a chemical engineer for >50 years, and I am now retired. I started at the very bottom and ended at the top. It was a great ride.

If you find you like it, and if you're reasonably good at it, it can take you places that few other professions offer. Chemical engineering is now a common pre-med education. It is the entree into the broad chemical and petroleum industry, and into bioengineering and medical engineering. It is a remarkably flexible and broad field.

I think the major reason chemical engineers have so many opportunities, and are so well paid, is tied up with the fact that it is, alas, hard. You have to do the chemistry and you have to do the math. Also the physics and the thermodynamics and the fluid mechanics. None of these things are particularly obvious. Plenty of us got through all that, but plenty more didn't.

Most of the many ChE's I've known, and especially my own career, ended up very different from what we imagined when we started out. So it is critical to learn it all, not just the parts that you find particularly interesting. I loved it. If you do it, I hope you will too.

I trust someone younger will address your other good questions.

Bill
billeykamp
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:09 pm
Occupation: retired
Project Question: n/a
Project Due Date: n/a
Project Status: Not applicable

Re: Questions about chemical/process engineering.

Postby audreyln » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:05 pm

1. How long have you worked as an engineer?
Five years.

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!

Audrey
audreyln
Expert
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:28 am
Occupation: Engineer - Chemical
Project Question: n/a
Project Due Date: n/a
Project Status: Not applicable


Return to Grades 9-12: Physical Science

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests