On Building Teams
The Ignition Effect10 min video / 9 minute read
Companies are building more well-rounded teams by encouraging applicants and new hires to be Ignition-fluent. Hear how this enthusiasm for Ignition helps form powerful pairings of people from different industries whose unique skills and expertise complement each other.
Steven Downer: Yeah. Well, I'm excited to say that since there was me working on Ignition, that we now have nine people working regularly on Ignition, with six plus of our greatest clients. And yeah, I just, I'm really excited to get my Gold Certification. Another coworker has gotten his Gold Certification, and so it's been neat to see that and others go through the Inductive University and pick up the skills they need along the way on the process.
Madiha Javed: There's a lot of our controls engineers that they're more hardware-facing; they're able to learn Ignition with us. I'm more of an Ignition-facing person and not hardware at all, but I feel like we are able to share knowledge back and forth and just help each other be more well-rounded, but we also are looking for people that know Ignition. We put out job applications up for just Ignition-specific people, people who have at least like a Core Certification or at least an Ignition university.
Remus Pop: So one of the unique things that we're doing right now is actually we're trying to hire an Ignition developer for our team. And if you would've asked me maybe two years ago what that profile would look like, it would be very similar to my background: a controls engineer that's got a lot of experience in the shop floor maybe has some Ignition experience, but not required because you could learn it pretty easily. It's a really great tool. It's easy to pick up and especially with the training tools that Ignition offers. But over the last two months of searching for this role, we've kind of morphed it to look into more of a full-stack developer. So where traditionally our industry would look heavily into the factory space, we're now starting to look more into the IT and developer space. So what the kind of resource that I'm looking for now, and I think that's it's true to see with the growth of Ignition, is getting more modern software development background to it. So the profile of what we're looking for in talent has now morphed to kind of match that. I now need a, I'm now looking for a full-stack developer as opposed to a controls engineer.
Alicia Lomas: When you're looking for engineers, you're hoping that they come in with the experience. They're using the PLCs you're using. They're using the SCADA system that you're using. Not always the case, but I would say over the years it's become more and more that people... They may not have worked on Ignition, but they've done some of the Inductive University classes because they were interested in it, they've certainly heard about it. It helps me hire people because they're excited about Ignition. So even if they haven't used it but have heard about it, they're like, "Whoa, I've always wanted to use Ignition." So it kind of helps my chances of getting somebody excited about the role, being able to tell them that you're gonna be able to develop on Ignition and we're doing all of these things with Ignition, so you're gonna be able to come in and help us build this foundation.
Alicia Lomas: So it's definitely becoming more and more prevalent. It's hard because a lot of the Ignition developers are at systems integrators, so being an end user, it is a little bit challenging to find somebody that wants to leave the systems integration space. But when I do find them, they're really excited, and we're doing equivalent stuff of a systems integrator just at one company versus serving multiple companies. And there's value there because you get to see the problems, define the solution, fix the problems, and actually, like, live with the solutions and make it better. You're not... you don't put in a solution and walk away. This is your baby, which is very exciting.
Jerry Eppler: So we've obviously added to our team. We've grown from no employees when we started to having five employees now. And none of our guys have actually come from integrators. They've all come from a specific industry where they use Ignition. And what's really cool about that is we kind of get these unique skillsets that, put together, we make a really powerful team. So having somebody from a specific industry it's not surprising, but it's sort of interesting that they've only used maybe, let's say, half of the tools in the toolbox of Ignition. We bring one person off from one industry; they've maybe used a specific set of the tools in the Ignition toolbox quite a lot and then maybe never done anything with tags because it was all... they just did database application sort of things. Someone else might have a whole bunch of experience with tags and have done very little database. Someone else might have a lot of HTML experience and not much SCADA experience. But what's cool about Ignition is it's just so easy to learn the platform, and especially with Inductive University, with the forum and just having peers that are experienced and know best practices, it's pretty quick to bring somebody up to speed and have them go from very little understanding to becoming quite a master in Ignition.
Phillip Bourner: When I started, Ignition was just an an add-on to projects that we did for our DNI part of the company. And now it's its own specific projects just for Ignition systems for all different industries. And we got a whole department, sub-department just on Ignition.
Elizabeth Hill Reed: So DMC hires mainly directly out of college. And so a lot of folks that haven't had exposure to the industrial automation world. And so we do have a pretty formalized training process that we go through. And part of that training process is going through Inductive University, and that really enables our engineers, who don't have a lot of experience in industrial controls, to hit the ground running once they start on projects because they've gone through all of the Inductive University classes. We have a hands-on lab that they are able to complete as well. And so that has really helped us prepare our engineers for actually doing project work.
Keith Gamble: As we kept growing and building the team, we were hiring a lot more engineers from various different industries, much more traditional software engineering and database administration, application development, people that had never even heard of SCADA and HMI. Over time, we almost doubled the team and have a much wider group of engineers focused on all kinds of different work at this point, really helping us be able to focus on a lot of different projects with a lot of different clients and really have a wide diverse team with a lot of different experience and skillsets and backgrounds.
Chris McLaughlin: Vertech has a policy of every single person that comes into the company gets trained in Inductive University, and we want them to become certified. It's a big deal. And so, that is free. One, we really like that. And two, it's a very powerful tool for being able to create engineers that can start contributing to projects.
Julio Velasco: I got offered a position as a project manager to lead the Sacramento branch for Automation Group. And I was gonna take Ignition with me. And at the time, Automation Group really didn't even use the software. We were just using still the legacy stuff that existed for decades. And I basically made all my engineers that worked for me at the Sacramento office get certified with Ignition 'cause I was like, "I'm gonna sell Ignition." And now, I believe about maybe 70% of our work is Ignition-related somewhere or another. So it's really taken over, and sometimes we don't even actually sell it. The customer comes up and says, "Hey, can you guys do Ignition?" We now have a software team. And most of the people in our software team are Ignition-certified or Ignition-fluent.
Evelyn Granizo: Since the very beginning of our journey with Ignition, we have been worried about certifying all our engineers. When we hire new engineers, the first thing they have to do is to learn Ignition. They all go through Ignition university to learn to use the software until they get Gold Certified. It is always interesting to see new professionals to start their journey with Ignition.
Will Baker: Today we probably see more people with a skillset for Ignition. We also ask for it today.
Bart Mans: When we really started with Ignition, I was the first Ignition programmer. We really saw a potential and we get more and more requests from customers, which had SCADA or MES questions, and we could solve those questions with Ignition. So we really started building up a team, and the team grew and grew. I was first one, second one is Yuri. Yuri is currently our team lead of Ignition department. And he's the second Ignition programmer. And together we grew as a team and as a company. Eventually, for me, that resulted in becoming co-owner of AT-Automation, which I'm really proud of. And that's mainly, of course, due to Ignition. I think it's really important that everyone in the controls engineering department, but also in the HMI, SCADA, and MES department, they are aware of all the capabilities of Ignition.
Bart Mans: I think it's a combination between the two departments. Whenever you buy, you need to build a SCADA system. You need to know what the controls engineering department is doing and the other way around. So everyone who starts at AT-Automation, from marketing to sales to controls engineers, everyone at AT-Automation gets a little training in Ignition so that they know how it works. And maybe in a case when they visit a company and there's a small issue with Ignition, they can also solve it. So it's really a cross-interaction between those two divisions and controls engineering and Ignition. They need to work together.