Articles Written by Walt Boyes for Automation.com

Who is Walt Boyes?

Walt Boyes is a veteran of the automation industry, and has been a field technician, sales rep, new product development team member, marketing manager, sales manager, and CEO. He is especially proud of the 20% of an R&D100 award he shares with four other team members. He is Editor of The Instrumentation Reference Book, Third Edition (available from Automation.com) and co-author of ­eBusiness in Manufacturing: putting the Internet to work in the Industrial Enterprise. Walt writes monthly exclusive articles for Automation.com regarding industry topics and providing career advice.  More Info...

The Changing Face of Automation Engineering

Converging trends will utterly change the way process automation is done. Whether you’re simply a process automation professional, or a system integrator, or a vendor, you’ll need to understand these trends and adopt new stances. There are big changes ahead that aren’t just technical, but are economical and political, as well as social and demographic. Lights-out plants, online as-builts, remote asset management, and other changes will be necessary to make up for the lack of trained automation professionals in the next 20 years. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Trading Up

Nobody wants to change jobs during a recession, unless the deal is fabulous.  Any job, we think, is better than no job, or the possibility of losing the one we have, if the bosses find out we’re looking around.  Many companies react quite negatively to their employees being interested in working elsewhere. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Nano This and Nano That

For years now, we’ve been reading and hearing about the immanent arrival of nanotechnology.  We’ve been inundated with soothsayers proclaiming that nanotechnology would save the human race, would doom the human race, would end hunger and disease and birth defects, would create monsters and perhaps destroy the entire world’s ecology and economy. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Surviving the Coming Turnaround

It’s becoming clearer by the month that the economy is turning around.  Techies are beginning to get nibbles for long-term contract employment and even permanent employment in both the IT and automation areas.  This is a good thing, right? Well, it is if you are positioned to take advantage of it.  And if you aren’t, you can miss the boat completely. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

The Second Great Convergence: Nanotechnology

NBIC: the convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information and cognitive sciences. Futurists call this the second great convergence. Are you ready? Read full article by Walt Boyes.

The Economy: Turning Around…or Turning in Circles?

The economy is turning around, right? The markets are up, venture capitalists are emerging from their dens after their long 36-month winter’s nap, industrial production is up, and the light at the end of the economic tunnel does not appear to be an oncoming train. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Keeping Up With Science Fiction

This is the first in a series of articles about the shape of things to come, and what to do about it. We will explore the areas of technology where change is at its highest rate, and we will discuss the effects of these changes on our lives. We’ll start developing the tools you need to peer into the future. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

The Value-Added You

We know that there will never again be lifetime employment. We know that it is up to each of us to make sure that our lifetime investment in ourselves is up to snuff and producing a high return on investment. We’ve been told this enough, already. We know.  But what we usually don’t know is how to translate this into action. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

What’s In It For Me?
Joining and Networking for the Techie

You are a young techie, with an engineering degree. You’ve worked as a technical professional for a few years now. Your current company doesn’t have another big project in the bank yet. You are a little worried, considering the economy and the tech slump. Will you lose your job? What happens then? What you need to do is to construct a network, before it's too late. Yes, I know: nobody has time, today. It's too much trouble. Peer-to-peer networking? Isn’t that like Napster? No, not exactly. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Improve Your Selling Skills - A Must-read for Everyone!

If you are really going to take charge of your own career, and manage your work life like the huge investment it really is, you need some skills outside of the technical skills you use in your daily work.  One of the most important sets of skills that will help you in all areas of your life is selling skills.  Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Say What We Do, Do What We Say

One of the attributes employers prize in employees is commitment. Employees are supposed to be as committed to their jobs as they are to their families, their church, and their lives, if not more so. Employees prize commitment in an employer even more. Most employees want the assurance that if they do their job, get good reviews and keep their heads down their employer will be committed to looking after them. The real measure of this, of course, is how well it plays out in life, not how well it sounds.  Read full article by Walt Boyes.

So What Do We Do Now?

By the time this is published, the United States will be moving into Iraq. Depending on your politics, this is either a very good thing, or a very bad thing. But the fact is, it will have an effect on the business climate and the careers of each and every one of us. For business to grow, and for employers to make decisions to hire, depends on having a stable world situation. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Techies of the Future

We keep talking about how important it is to treat yourself and your career like an asset. What is the best way to do that? There are over 150,000 people in the US and Canada who practice some form of control in automation. Fewer than 40,000 of them identify themselves as such. So who are these people, and what can they tell us about the future for automation professionals? Is the Control Systems Engineering profession dead? Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Human Capital, Human Resources, Human Factors, Human Value

Who owns what you know? This is an important question, and one that every employee should think about very carefully. Have you signed an employment agreement prohibiting you from working for certain companies or in certain fields? If you did, does this mean that your employer owns what you know, and what you can do? Have you signed away your rights? Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Acting Like an Investor: Closing the Deal

So, here we are, at the end of the interview. By now, you have made your decision, and it is likely that they have made theirs. Here are some tips on how find out what they are thinking and ultimately "close the deal". Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Acting Like an Investor: Be a Star!

Usually, unless you are interviewing for a high-level position, or you are a real star, you don't get much chance to ask some of the really probing questions that you really should ask, if you are going to act like an investor, rather than a job seeker.Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Acting Like An Investor: Protecting Yourself

Have you ever had the experience that you interviewed really, really well? And you were right! They liked you, they offered you a job and you accepted...and then about two weeks later, you found out that it was a lousy place to work. That happens a lot! Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Acting Like An Investor: The Hiring Manager

Somebody recently told me that employment is an even trade, with the value set by the market. You give your work, and you get paid an income and benefits. Even steven, right? Wrong. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Acting Like an Investor: The HR Department

So how do you get past HR? Maybe you don't want to. There are a lot of questions you can ask the hiring interviewer at HR that will help you decide if you want to invest your time, your talent, and your inventiveness at this company. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Acting Like an Investor: The Recruiter

We've talked a lot about the fact that you are making an investment of time and talent into the company you're working for. We've talked a lot about the fact that you need to investigate a new company you might go to work for as if you were an investor. That's easy to say, but hard to do. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

How to Maximize Your Asset Value

How many companies have something in their vision or mission statement that refers to their employees as irreplaceable assets?There are many. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you haven't guessed this yet, you may not have had your first layoff, or you are a singularly trusting soul. The fact is, you are not an asset to your company. You are a liability.Read full article by Walt Boyes.

An Army of One

In Work 2.0, author Bill Jensen talks about the importance of what he calls "Work My Way." In other words, making a contract between you and your employer to customize your job the way you want it to be. Why should employers do this? They must do this, Jensen argues, because this maximizes productivity from employees. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Bill Jensen's 'Work 2.0 rewriting the contract'

Bill Jensen is a practical theorist. This sounds like an oxymoron, but it isn't. Like a Zen master, Jensen is one of a few thinkers on organizations and the way we work who also practices what he preaches. His Jensen Group is a highly sought after consulting company that helps Fortune 500 companies figure out how to quit screwing up how they use their human assets. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

How to Find a New Job Fast!

Now it's happened to you. After umpteen years working there, you have been laid off. Let go. Sacked. You knew it might happen, but you didn't really think it would happen to you. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Keeping Faith - For the Employer

In the past two years, we've seen something like 30,000 layoffs in the automation industry. It isn't a pretty picture. Many of the people who've been let go were let go because of circumstances they didn't cause, and in spite of excellent performance at their jobs...There are consequences to doing this. Read full article by Walt Boyes.

Protecting Human Assets: An Employer's Guide

For the first time in over a decade, it is a "buyer's market" for HR. There are thousands of highly qualified people out of work, or afraid they'll be out of work, in all the high-tech occupations. Recently, in the Seattle area, there was a story on the TV news about a 'techie' who stood on the street corner in Seattle and Bellevue with a sign that read, "Will code for food" until he got hired. Read full article by Walt Boyes.