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Survey insights

First of all, I really enjoyed and appreciated the article "The pay raise engineers have been waiting for," based on the results from the 2018 salary review [September/October 2018 InTechwww.isa.org/intech/20181001]. This information is very interesting and the type of content that will interest all of the readers who are involved in automation, instrumentation, and control. It is well done, and I applaud the effort to put out the survey and to analyze the input.

I would like to bring up one point with respect to both the survey and the "recipe" on page 15. This includes some ingredients that will help professionals to maximize their salaries and expand their income. You include some excellent points-most of which I included in my career path and salary adjustments.

However, there is one major area that is not explicitly included that can have a major impact on a person's role with the company and the future income. It may not even be included on the survey, and if it is not, it should be added. That factor is "professional credentialing," such as obtaining a legal license to practice engineering (PE), qualifying for a professional certificate as a Certified Automation Professional (CAP), becoming a Certified Control Systems Technician (CCST), or some other professional certification (CSFE, safety, etc.).

These are all achievements following some professional education or degree that add to the status and reputation of the individual, while making him or her more employable. The individuals find that these credentials not only increase their salaries, but also open new doors of opportunity for advancement in the company leadership roles. I speak from experience. My company gave an automatic salary increase for obtaining a PE license, which opened up new salary grades, and was required for a person to become a department manager.

In fact, ISA is a major supporter of the legal license to practice engineering and offers many certifications in our professional field of practice. This is a prime activity for the professional development department of ISA and a key to many of the educational efforts of the society. ISA also offers many books, manuals, standards, training classes, and seminars as preparation for these credentials to expand the professional development of people in this profession.

Please consider including "credentialing" in future salary surveys and using the data in the analysis-I think you will find a difference in the salary of a licensed engineer as compared to someone with the same experience level, but not licensed.

Gerald Wilbanks, PE
ISA Fellow

Author's response

Thanks so much for the kind words. We actually did include professional licensing in the survey, but opted not to include it in the article, which now I see was a mistake. It will be included in future articles.

Looking at the raw data, you are absolutely correct. Of the roughly 1,600 respondents that answered the licensed professional engineer question, 23.8 percent said they were licensed and reported a $22,000 increase over those who were not.

For the ISA certifications question, 30.1 percent of respondents answered that they had been certified. Their salaries averaged $2,460 more annually than those who were not.

Thank you so much for sharing these insights and experiences; they are incredibly helpful and very, very much appreciated. These points will definitely be implemented in articles going forward.

Cory Fogg

Alarm management

While the ["OPC: Interoperability standard for industrial automation"] article [November/December 2018 InTechwww.isa.org/intech/20181204] is generally excellent, I kept hoping, while reading it, that the major challenge in trying to achieve information integration and OT standardization in the many industrial situations (e.g., many pharmaceutical plants) involving a plant's use of numerous diverse packaged automation systems from different vendors might be included as an example.

As Mr. Burke may be aware, the national standard (ANSI/ISA 18.2), originally published in 2009, and the similar international standard (IEC 62682) address alarm management in the process industries. The issues involved in achieving effective alarm management in the process industries, which include information integration and OT standardization, are so significant for plants using distributed packaged automation systems (e.g., different PLCs from different vendors controlling different plant operations) that ISA commissioned a committee to develop a formal technical report addressing this topic. The ISA18.2 WG7 worked for about five years on this issue, publishing their results (ISA-TR18.2.7) over a year ago. Their TR is titled "Alarm Management when Utilizing Packaged Systems."

Anyway, alarm management is one of several topics that has received significant attention in recent years regarding some of OPC's objectives. I was hoping some of this effort might be mentioned in the article.

Joe Alford

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