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  • By Bill Lydon
  • The Final Say

The new year is upon us. Looking back, automation professionals really made great contributions in 2020. They kept production running in a range of industries and kept utilities operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Automation professionals worked behind the scenes to help many others meet the needs of the general population, and certainly everyone in the ISA organization congratulates and supports them. 

Automation professionals clearly make positive contributions to society, and this will certainly continue in 2021 and beyond. Automation professionals are critical for companies. They are needed to understand, evaluate, and make recommendations to management about the adoption and application of new technology so companies can prosper and grow.

These are exciting times to be involved in industrial automation. The manufacturing digital revolution should be attractive to people looking for technology-oriented careers. Hopefully, as we continue to tell the story of how automation people contribute to technology advancement and to society overall, we will be providing inspiration to attract young people to the profession.

I believe the changes that come from the digitalization of manufacturing and production systems through the use of new technologies are starting to have impacts that will be as transformational as the introduction of programmable logic controllers and distributed control systems were years ago.

I am hearing about automation professionals moving up in their organizations, joining and often leading digitalization initiatives that transform the entire business. They are increasingly influential and are enabling substantive changes within their companies at higher and higher levels. They are the ones helping senior management meet new goals, adapt to challenges, and ensure uninterrupted, high-quality output.

If you are talking with young people about the automation profession, encourage them to explore the career options. A great way for them to learn more is by getting an ISA Student Membership. That way they can evaluate and make an informed decision about joining the world of automation. An annual membership costs less than two fancy coffees. If young people decide to pursue a career in automation, ISA membership also sets them apart from other applicants for internships and employment opportunities. 

The ISA organization, including its InTech magazine publications, and, are committed to providing automation professionals with the information needed to keep up to date with and understand the latest automation technologies, techniques, and solutions.

Look for my 2021 Top Trends report later this year to help plan for what’s coming next. I am sure you made progress in 2020, and also that your professional challenges likely continue. Let us know what you’re working on and how you’re progressing in these exciting times of transformation.


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About The Authors

Bill Lydon is an InTech contributing editor with more than 25 years of industry experience. He regularly provides news reports, observations, and insights here and on