Most of engineers in the refinery that we have met, they tend to have a second thought on their career path. Tendency to choose a career path in inspection engineering line may be a promising proposition. Your credibility tend to be worth every penny as your salary band is quite steep ahead of your peers. Inspection engineer mostly decorated with a number of certification. This certification mostly too expensive to get. Therefore, the may commanding large amount of paycheck.
We are grateful to have Mr. Hanafi Ali at tuahjebat.com and shared his insight within inspection engineering section. He possesses 23 years of experience in this discipline and previously working with a Supermajor as well as the 7 Sisters. Lets find out what he has to say about his work experience and some advice to an avid inspection personnel.
What is background needed to be an inspection engineer, specifically?
Any types of traditional engineering disciplines are acceptable (mechanical, chemical, civil, material) in order to be an inspection engineer. But one have to bear in mind that only a mechanical engineering student can further pursuing a Professional Engineer since inspection is under mechanical discipline in Board of Engineers Malaysia. Chemical engineering prepares an inspection engineer to be good in corrosion management whereas electrical engineering prepares in the cathodic protection as well and Advanced NDT methods.
To become an Inspection Engineer, what is the best attributes to have by the candidates?
As an inspection engineering involves a lot of field work, physical adaptability to harsh work conditions like under the sun, confined spaces, are very critical. The ability to think and connect various discipline together is also essential.
Where is the location typically inspection engineer will work at?
All fresh graduate engineers should start their working life in the field. With experience, they can either opt to stay in the field or switch to office to manage the backroom aspects of inspection like Risk Based Inspection, data entry and management, as well as documentation review.
What kind of competency certificate for inspection engineer essentially good to have?
Strictly speaking, an inspection engineer does not need any more certificate apart from his basic degree. However, having competency certificates like American Petroleum Institute 510, Welding Inspection etc are essential for his knowledge base as well as independent assessment of his knowledge (via public examinations).
As compared to the other engineering position for instance piping, mechanical and rotating engineer, what made inspection engineer is the best among all?
Inspection engineering offers slightly bigger chance for mobility and freelancing as the work are quite specific, ie during plant shutdown. When the plant is running, inspection engineers normally do data entry, unlike rotating rngineer that has to monitor machines and mechanical (particularly maintenance department) engineer that needs to do planning.
What is the most difficult moment in your career while performing your duties as an inspection engineer?
I think inert entry into confined spaces especially toxic atmosphere has got to be one of those most trying moments in my life. Climbing 100 meter high columns are also a challenging feat.
Typically Engineer is a good problem solver but they are quite timid to speak in front of a large crowd. Can they be a good CEO in the future? What is your opinion?
Generally I don’t see many engineers who can transition from managing problems to managing people. Managing people is a different science by itself. Can they be a good CEO? Generally, I don’t believe so.
From the scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (excellent), how would you rate mathematic literacy to be an inspection engineer as compared to design, finite element analysis, stress analysis engineer etc.
I say a scale of 7 is good enough to be a competent inspection engineer as the formulas and concepts in most codes and standards are not difficult.
How do you see labour market in Malaysia with regards to inspection engineering?
Malaysia is unique in that it produces higher per capita engineers than most countries in the world (this is my perception, I don’t have data to back it up). In that many API Inspectors hold good and accredited engineering degrees. As for the labour market, I think it will remain static or in decline because inspection engineering is not yet quite well established as a discipline of engineering in Malaysia, ie no official body looking after inspection engineers.
Do you have any brilliant advice to undergraduate prior to their graduation?
Be ready for an adventure, take up risks in employment and work hard. There is no substitute for hard work, and working smart is a skill they can only acquire after they work very hard.
We would like to express our gratitude to Mr. Hanafi Ali for his precious time spending for with us. We wish you a good year ahead with upcoming anticipated uptake in petroleum industry!