Some of the hardest physics-based quandaries to address concern the behavior and movement of fluids. Less predictable by nature than other substances, gases and liquids demand careful engineering to maintain systems’ integrity.
Pipeline engineers make a career out of designing pipe systems that can withstand extreme fluid behavior. If you’re interested in a career in the field, consider these keys to a successful career as a pipeline engineer.
Before a company can install any piping, they must make sure their designs will hold up for years. Computer modeling programs are their primary tool for doing this. As a baseline, a prospective engineer should delve deep into Python, C/C++, and several other programming languages while gaining experience with MATLAB.
On the job, they may use a number of different simulation tools. On the whole, these construct pipe models and track how they would behave with passing gases and/or liquids. This involves a lot of complex computations that measure how temperature, pressure, vibrational forces, and more act on a pipe system when in place.
Meanwhile, another key to a successful career as a pipeline engineer is on-the-job training underneath a current engineer. With their supervision, you learn the components of different pipe structures, how expansion joints work, plus a bevy of related terms. Like a trade job, pipeline engineering requires adaptability and hands-on knowledge that supersedes academic know-how. This realistic experience will teach you an invaluable lesson: how to react to unprecedented engineering problems.
Usually, you learn from a senior engineer after passing a prerequisite Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) program. This would follow your time in undergraduate school.
Despite your knowledge, you need sharp communication skills to function within a group of engineers and related professionals. Articulating what you did/do and its importance is always a struggle, but practicing this increases what you can offer your company.
In turn, listening well to others prevents miscommunications down the line. Not only that, but investing in the nitty-gritty of others’ work helps you synthesize ideas and build a positive team culture. This is just as valuable as the technical side of your job.