However one may have selected welding as one’s profession for life, one should not dismiss planning as the most important ingredient in building one’s advancement.
Why should one plan a career in welding? Because planning in advance is the only way to obtain outstanding results. Essentially it may be true for any career. But in welding, for some reasons, it may be even truer.
A young person may have heard on welding completely by chance or after having performed some search with job orientation agencies. But it is rare and almost impossible that all job openings available to qualified persons be manifest to those just starting to look into the matter.
After having enrolled in a professional course one can reach an elementary stage of performance and find a job, which at a certain time in one’s life may be the most important worry to put at rest.
But then, depending on the person and on the job, one could be caught in the trap of thinking that the position reached is on the whole satisfactory. One could even plan to stay there until retirement. Why bother for improvement?
There are serious reasons to take into account. One is job security: as long as one’s skill is just minimal, it can be quite easy to find a replacement at the slightest pretext,
like the introduction of robotic or automatic welding or outsourcing abroad of some operations that can make a job superfluous.
Another reason is that gaining improved knowledge and skills permits assuming greater responsibilities that usually command a better pay.
One should know that welding is articulated in a lot of different processes, each with its own methods and tips of the trade, depending on materials and type of construction and that there is constant improvement and progress.
It is true that many operations are done now exactly as they where thirty or sixty years ago. On the other hand new and different ways have been introduced over this time to perform better welds more economically.
Learning and knowing as many processes as one can master is the first step. One should then be able to demonstrate one’s practical ability by taking tests and gaining Certifications. These are documents that testify as to one’s qualifications to perform satisfactorily certain welding operations. Without proper Certifications it may be impossible to get even job interviews.
It may be difficult to know in advance which of the many certifications offered might provide the best rewards in terms of job advancement and salary at a certain time in a certain place.
It is out of doubt however that the person collecting the maximum number of those documents demonstrates a superior level of preparation such as can be requested for important supervisory positions.
A good welder with a few years of practical experience can become with some further training a good inspector or a good instructor. These capabilities may provide less tiring, easier and better paid jobs.
One should be aware of the fact that a profession likely to be more and more requested in the near future may be that of welding robot technician. This type of work will need a whole new set of expertise not usually associated with welders’ skills.
In conclusion, the best advice one could give to a young candidate welder is to read, study and learn as much as possible. The career should be planned in view of acquiring, in a given time frame, a set of Certifications as may appeal to the individual preferences, to build the experience necessary for a rewarding welding occupation.