On Career Journeys

The Ignition Effect

12 min video  /  11 minute read

Ignition can empower surprising growth opportunities for control systems and careers. Hear personal stories about how Ignition has helped open new doors and advance people's career journeys in industrial automation.


Remus Pop: Let's see. So I first discovered Ignition, I think it was 2012. I was working for a battery company here in Michigan. And one of our goals was to deploy an MES system in our home plant. So we did a lot of that work, custom-built, and then, through some bankruptcy, we were acquired by a company in China. And so my job then became to deploy an MES system in China. But what happened through the bankruptcy is that our developers that had built the current MES system had left the company through bankruptcy, as will often happen. So it was my job to then find an off-the-shelf MES system to deploy at our sister site in Hangzhou, China. So, first thing I did, I just went to Google and I Googled "off the shelf MES." So I stumbled upon Ignition, downloaded it, saw that it was a pretty easy install. There was a free two-hour trial, so I started to play with it. I got it connected to a couple PLCs. I started building screens, and I was like, "Man, this is pretty awesome." So yeah, next thing you know, I was working with it in my current plant and figured that that was gonna be my tool, and that's what I went through, went with for the next deployment.

Remus Pop: So that was a pretty interesting culture shock, right? I was now in charge of deploying a software platform at our sister site in China. So I flew back and forth to China quite a bit. I lived there pretty much for two years. Learned a lot. Worked with a really great integrator called Quality Design Services. We used them as our key integrator. They had a lot of talent that we could leverage. And we did a lot of work over the two years. I think, in fact, at one of the conferences in 2015, they actually presented a lot of the project that we did during that time as one of the sessions during the conference. It was really cool, and it was a great learning experience, and I don't think I could have done what I did without that background of the training classes and just having a tool at my disposal that let me build this entirely new system in an entirely new country in an entirely new plant. It was pretty awesome. It was a lot of fun.

Keith Gamble: I took a job with a system integrator in North Carolina, and that was the first time I'd really heard anything about Ignition. I joined there thinking that I was taking a role doing database administration, and they threw me on an Ignition project. And that was the first time I was ever introduced. When I started working on that project, it was in 7.9, and it was a Vision project that was using the Mobile Module, and it was the perfect candidate for Perspective, and Perspective just wasn't out yet. So, right after Perspective came out, I basically convinced my boss to let me go rebuild the entire application in Perspective, 'cause I knew it was the right answer, as an engineer. And so, right there on day one, when Perspective came out, I was building an app for 40 hours a week, nonstop. And I got all of the Perspective experience that I could right up front. There was a time where I think I had the most bug tickets in your guys' ticketing system because I was calling in so many Perspective bugs because I was building a production app in what was essentially a beta platform. So that was exciting, and that was the first time I was introduced.

Keith Gamble: And at that time, I started to notice that the industry that we were working in was really underserved on the software engineering side of things. I didn't think that there were many platforms that were really enabling traditional software engineering. The platforms were very focused on SCADA and HMI, and they locked themselves down a little bit outside of that. But I started to notice that, especially with Perspective, Ignition was starting to open those doors a little bit and really enable that style of work to be done. Enabling better integrations with other types of platforms that weren't in the traditional industrial space. So I really put a focus into that and started getting interested and engaged in that.

Keith Gamble: After the integrator in North Carolina, I found my way at Barry-Wehmiller Design Group and moved to California, and took a totally different turn in my life as to what I was focused on. But it was really exciting because it was an opportunity to work with a giant worldwide company that really had a great foothold in the Ignition community and the Ignition market. And working with big-name clients was really exciting. Coming to Design Group, I got to focus on building much larger-scale Ignition applications, getting way deeper into the technology, and really strengthening the relationship with Inductive Automation, who's right down the street.

Elizabeth Hill Reed: So I'm a mechanical engineer who likes to program, which turns out is a pretty good fit for a controls engineer. So I do have a pretty technical background. I started at DMC as a systems engineer, so programming PLCs, HMIs, SCADA across a wide variety of platforms. My career has definitely been impacted by Ignition and has grown as Ignition has grown with DMC. Being the first engineer to learn Ignition, I was first doing a lot of technical tasks. Now I focus mainly on project management and business development. And so having a lot of those high-level initial discussions with customers, talking about their architecture, their long-term goals with Ignition, and how Ignition can help solve their problems. And so that has allowed me to be a leader of Ignition across our company and has really helped just me and my career throughout DMC.

Bart Mans: Before I started at AT-Automation, I was studying electrical engineering at South University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. When doing so, we only really touched the PLC part. So the education was regarding controls engineering, but we programmed, I think one or two PLCs, really programmed PLCs during the education. We never really touched HMI, SCADA, or MES solutions. Of course, we visited some companies, and we had a look at the different solutions at companies, but we didn't really touch it. So when I was searching for internship, I found AT-Automation, and my goal there was to become a real PLC programmer. So I started with a PLC assignment, stopped really quick with that because there was a quest for a SCADA system. So I took a look. I interviewed some colleagues from there and took a look at different SCADA systems that were available and eventually find out Ignition, and started with Ignition. And that's where it actually all started.

Bart Mans: During my internship, I worked a lot with Ignition. I got knowledge and became better and better. And eventually, when the internship was done, I was the first Ignition programmer at AT-Automation. For me, of course, it has a huge effect on my career. I started as an internship when I thought PLC programming is the coolest thing to do, and I wanna do it the rest of my life. Then I noticed Ignition during my internship, and I fully focused on Ignition. Then I became Team Lead and now a Co-Owner as well. So it's a really cool career step for me.

Bart Mans: When I take a look at my colleagues, whoever who starts with Ignition, they are growing as well. I take example, Yuri, who started as an internship as well and is now Team Lead of the Ignition department. We get people that studied controls engineering, IT, and such, and we can teach Ignition to anyone. It's really simple. It's really easy to get going. And while we're teaching, they get to know PLCs, they get to know the industrial automation, and everyone grows as a person and hopefully within our company. And that is really cool to deal with.

Courtney Smith: I studied chemical engineering at Georgia Tech, and, you know, chemical engineering, it doesn't have anything to do with industrial automation. Doesn't really have anything to do with programming at all. But when I was at Georgia Tech, I went to a career fair, and I started talking to Vertech, and that's where they kind of introduced me to what industrial automation was. And that's how I've ended up here. I consider myself part of the Ignition community.. And when I joined Vertech and I entered this world of programming, Ignition became my career. I would not have a career if it weren't for Ignition. It's fun being able to automate and make the lives of others easier. It sounds a little corny, but I really do believe that what we do makes a difference. That I am easing the jobs of others by making something that is so user-friendly. I would say feeling like I'm making a difference, paired with the community aspect where I'm able to help others while others are helping me learn along the way, that's been probably the most enjoyable.

Jonathan Swisher: When I first started working at Sierra Nevada, Ignition was already in its infancy of being used, but as I furthered along in my career, I started to see it being used in certain places around the brewery, and it piqued my interest. So I started asking questions about it, and I went to my manager and asked him if that was something I could help out with. And he said, "Yes." Ignition's effect on my career has been able to grow with me. So as I've learned things about the business, I bring Ignition along with me to help me as a tool to help me solve those problems that are presented to me.

Will Baker: So went to school in mechanical engineering. My dad did automation growing up, loved hearing his stories, got an opportunity with TAS, came in. It was a new world for me. I wasn't taught this stuff in school. And Ignition was trending in the industry. And, my boss told me to look at it, investigate, see what we can do with it. And just started playing with Ignition.

Evelyn Granizo: Since 2013, I have been working with Ignition a lot. Its use has been increased on our project offering because we can offer more powerful projects in less development time. Also, Automation Solutions Ecuador became the first CTC in Spanish. That have given me the opportunity to be one of the first trainers in my native language. Being a trainer has allowed me to learn about industry and people around South America, learning from their industry, learning from their problem implementation, and for their best practices too. It has been really rewarding working with Ignition because it has allowed me to bring all my creativity and all my problem-solving skills to a platform that makes me be constantly updated with the most current technologies in both OT and IT.

Madiha Javed: So I started off kind of just right outta college. COVID had hit, so I took a whole-year break. I was like, it's not the time for the job market. And when I finally was ready, I started applying, and I wanted... I think one of the first emails I got back was Inductive Automation. And I took the interview. I wasn't sure if it was for me, but I was like, "You know what? I'm gonna do it." It just, it came at the right moment for me. And that's where I learned Ignition. And honestly, I had no idea anything of industrial automation. No idea. I came from a computer science background in college, but you don't do automation as like in a computer science field. And from there I learned Ignition, I learned Perspective, Vision, I learned the history of Ignition the software, how it started off and was set from there.

Madiha Javed: From my role at Support, I transitioned to Application Engineering, and that's where I really had time to build in Ignition myself. In Support, I was troubleshooting Ignition, trying to figure out how to help our end users. And in Application Engineering, I was building projects, taking something from nothing to a full, complete project. And from there, I found my way as a software engineer at Automation Group. I feel like knowing Ignition is the reason why I got my job here. I feel like Ignition is kind of the reason why I have my career. I honestly, I went from not having a job coming out of COVID, learning Ignition. And I feel like that has made me an expert in the field. And I hate saying the word "expert" because I feel like I just joined the field, but I honestly, I feel like I know Ignition well enough to say that I'm an expert in that it is my career. And Ignition is the reason why I have a career.

Posted on November 21, 2023