On Students

The Ignition Effect

10 min video  /  9 minute read

Ignition spans generations as easily as it connects devices. Hear how it breaks frustrating traditions for experienced professionals and is the new standard for students, interns, and up-and-comers.


Chris Taylor: For people who have just finished their masters a year or so ago, Ignition is normal for them, and I keep trying to tell them, they have no idea how groundbreaking Ignition was when it was first released, because what they see is Ignition being the standard now.

Courtney Smith: We hire a lot of entry-levels straight out of college, whether they're in mechanical engineering, computer science, myself, chemical engineering, and in each of those majors, it's not like industrial automation is much a topic of conversation. As far as I know, there are no industrial automation engineers out there who got that degree. So, I think coming into this field not having a whole lot of knowledge about programming, but being able to pick up a platform like Ignition where it was so beginner-friendly and there were so many drag-and-drop components that as you get deeper and deeper into your career, you're able to kind of massage and create those nuances to curtail those features from what they start as to be more personal to whatever it is the client wants.

Keith Gamble: We had an intern here at [Barry-Wehmiller] Design Group who'd been building on Ignition over the entire summer, helping us on projects for clients and getting to experience what Ignition meant in the software development space. He actually took on and did his senior project in Ignition, and in the time convinced two other people to do their senior projects in Ignition. It was really exciting to see the way that Ignition was working its way into that education space. I don't think two years ago you would have ever seen a traditional software engineering senior project being done in an industrial platform, and I think it was really exciting and interesting how Ignition made it easy for him to do his senior project, integrate it with the tools that he was working with, and help him see where intern experience could tangentially work into an educational space as well.

Jonathan Swisher: We currently have an intern that we took on who had experience with Python but had never heard of Ignition. We kind of set him loose on it in a test environment and let him kind of just dive in and learn. And he was putting out solutions to those enhancements fairly rapidly, I'd say, within a week or two. So that, to me, reinforces how easy it is to pick up Ignition when you've never even heard of it before.

Evelyn Granizo: Last year, I was asked to speak about Ignition at a local university for the future engineers to realize the power and real application of the software they were learning. Of course, I talked about the advantages and key features of Ignition and the successful projects we have made using it. Nevertheless, I center on the history of Ignition because the principles on which Inductive Automation and Ignition are built on are aligned with Automation Solutions Ecuador. It's amazing that the idea of making Ignition was originated by the successful control system integrator because he was tired of using traditional SCADA with its limitation. And that was exciting what Automation Solutions Ecuador was going through when we learned about Ignition. It was exciting to see new talents being amazed by the power of the tool they were learning at the classroom. Even these days, control and data system integrators are mostly men. Being a woman in the industry, it's a challenge itself. But I have been able to share my knowledge, my skills, and my passion for automation with the community that is solution-driven. This was possible because of Ignition.

Alicia Lomas: Speaking at that conference [the Ignition Community Conference, was very cool. I had many women come up to me afterwards and just tell me how excited they were to see a female engineer and somebody that's using Ignition, and wow, that those projects you are working on are really cool. Can you share that information with me? And that's, to me, what's huge about the Ignition community is just the openness. And it's like, yeah, sure, I'll send you those. I'll back up that project and I'll send it to you so you can have a starting point. And so, I mean, it was a really exciting experience to speak at the conference and see the impact it had on the audience and be able to share our successes.

Chris McLaughlin: I think that Ignition being taught in colleges or at any level of schooling is very important. And I say this partially selfishly because if they are learning these skills, they're going to be the exact people that we want to hire at Vertech. But for everybody, it is better that that information gets out there, and one, it gives them a skill. Two, it continues to create the buzz within the industry so that people are coming into manufacturing or into water or solar knowing Ignition and wanting to put it into their facilities.

Remus Pop: One of the things that has surprised me in this space of consultancy in the role that we have now, is we get to talk to a lot of different manufacturing customers, and we have a pretty global reach in the projects that we do. And one of the things that I've noticed that shocked me a little bit is that Ignition is already almost everywhere. So it's already in place at a lot of our customers' facilities. We're just teaching them how to expand that reach with it and how to do more things with it. So I would say, one of the things I will tell maybe students coming out now, or even people who are just entering their career, is to learn this tool because it is becoming ever more prevalent in our industry, and it's such a great tool to allow you to kind of explore the art of the possible and to build really cool solutions with a good framework. Arlen Nipper [CTO of Cirrus Link Solutions] always says it at all the Inductive conferences that we wanna build with tools on platforms and that code on operating systems. So I think with Ignition, we have this tool on a platform that we can really build really cool stuff.

Steven Downer: So I think there's been a time where advanced features like scripting were kind of shunned generationally because it was seen as this esoteric thing that people didn't wanna touch, but yet it was there to provide advanced functionality. And I think what we're seeing with the newer generations is that they have used Python in school, they've used it on Raspberry Pis, they've used it in university, and they come to Ignition and they see Python, and their eyes light up and they go, "Oh, yeah, we can work with this." And so we're able to bring them into these advanced feature sets that we wanna deliver, and they're happy to work on it, and it's exciting and fun. And for people who maybe are afraid of it, it's easy to recommend Python to somebody else and bring them in. So as a result, we bring everybody on board, and we all win and collaborate on building amazing things that we couldn't have done easily together on advanced topics.

Bart Mans: I think it's really a shame to see that the gap between the universities and the real world. The universities, they only focus on controls engineering and PLC programming, but not really on HMI, SCADA, and MES solutions. In universities, they pay little attention to those systems because they have no access to the systems. For education, it's hard to find software that they can use in their education. If educations have to buy software, it's also very expensive. And Ignition enables, the free trial license enables, the universities to get started with it and get started with a real SCADA/MES solution. And I think with Ignition, with the free trial, we can enable students to start playing around with HMI, SCADA, and MES solutions and get some experience. So eventually they know where they actually would like to go, if they want to go for controls engineering, just PLC programming, or also HMI, SCADA, and MES solutions.

Bart Mans: Since I started my internship at AT-Automation nine years ago, I go back to my original school and also other schools in the neighborhood to teach students that HMI, SCADA, and MES solutions are also accessible. And I'm doing my best to get more Ignition on the schools and gain experience with that. And of course, what helps us is that those engineers, they need to go for an internship, and then eventually, hopefully they come by at AT-Automation and they stick to the team, and that's how we grow as well.

Jerry Eppler: So when we look for people that to add to our team, it's more important that they have good character, obviously, but that they also, as far as the technical ability, we don't care that much if they have Ignition experience. What's more important is they have the problem-solving ability and know how to really dig down to the root in first principles of a problem to solve it the best way, because we know with the tool box that we have, with the Ignition tool set, with the Ignition platform, with the guidance and Inductive University, we can really train almost anybody to be pretty proficient in Ignition.

J.C. Harrison: I think it's important that they learn Ignition in terms of making sure their toolbox is fortified with the best piece of software out there, but more so than that, what I think they need to understand is what Inductive was formed on and why the community has embraced us. We really exist to serve our customers. And so, yes, they need to learn the nuts and bolts about Ignition, but more so than that, they really need to understand why they're doing what they're doing, and if they can capture that early, then they'll be much more successful.

Posted on November 21, 2023