How to Learn to be a Good Junior Engineer

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How to Learn to be a Good Junior Engineer

Post by pse21 »

Hello all,

I am an engine cadet doing my sea time. I want to find out what specific skills are the most valuable as a junior engineer so I can focus on them and accelerate my learning. I understand that as marine engineers we are in constant learning but I am just trying deconstruct how and why the best marine engineers are the best. I am already seeing trends, like for example engineers I work with that really know about piping systems and really have a feel for them. Regardless of what the piping system is (even if it is not marine related) I can see how that would be very useful for me.

Of course reading and especially asking questions to good senior engineers is key but I still want to find the most valuable skills. Any ideas??

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Re: How to Learn to be a Good Junior Engineer

Post by The Dieselduck »

For me, I think a general all around base knowledge (don't get lost in the details) allows you to understand the interactions between systems, including humans. I.E. understanding that a slightly lower load on the engine will affect the steam generating capacity of the economizer, changing how the water production is affected, and how much the boiler fires, and what it does to the fuel system - separator and heaters, viscosity, etc, and how panicky the chief will be to see the fuel consumption figures. All these little changes in sound, temperatures, vibrations, etc, need a keen sense of observation using all your senses, and passion about your craft.

The ability to understand what's happening from a "bird's eye view" will give you a comfort level in your understanding and genuine confidence, which is great to prepare for emergencies and abnormal conditions, or when the chief is questioning your fuel figures - keep a level head under pressure. "Details" you will learn as the opportunities come along; misfiring burner on the boiler will challenge you to learn about the rotary cup burner, and switch over valves and igniters, via the manual and troubleshooting. Obviously this comes with experience - but this is earned faster by not being afraid to "try things out" and test, take apart things, learn and observe - and don't forget to get creative once in a while.

Goes for machines as much as humans. Good luck.
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Re: How to Learn to be a Good Junior Engineer

Post by JK »

The biggest complaint I’ve heard from CEs is new engineers have no troubleshooting skills. To be able to do it, you need to know and understand the ship systems, how they impact other systems and to be able to read blueprints and manuals. It sounds simple but sometimes tracking down why a piece of equipment is not working correctly takes an ouji board. The best engineers I know are like rat terriers, they never stop figuring out why things don’t work to the 100% and they never stop learning.
So, aske questions, watch who’s doing repairs, try to get with the FSRs as a helper or as a monitor of the work. Generally if you are a help, people will pass on info. There’s always someone willing to help and mentor someone that they like.
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Re: How to Learn to be a Good Junior Engineer

Post by JollyJack »

Ask, Ask, Ask! Learn basic skills and practice them, eg, how do you harden and temper steel? How do you case harden? Play with the lathe, make a pair of model cannons, cut threads, polish shafts, file a flat surface, practice welding and cutting. Don't say it's all the fitter's or welder's job, be better than the fitter or welder at doing it. Take apart, overhaul and rebuild machinery whenever you can, make sure there are always spare injectors/fuel valves, air start valves, relief valves, exhaust valves etc overhauled and ready to go. Make it a point to lap the bilge valves and clean the strum boxes. If you have a boiler, make the daily test routine yours, keep the water in spec. Purifiers, compressors and shit tank systems should be your speciality, keep them all top notch. Any subject you are weak on? Refrigeration perhaps? Learn all you can, make it yours. Be diligent and conscientious, be the Chief's left hand (the 2nd is his right hand, eyes and ears). Most important, DON'T blow about these things, just do them, you'll be indispensable. Of course, nobody really is indispensable, but that's the impression you'll leave, and perception is reality, after all.
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Re: How to Learn to be a Good Junior Engineer

Post by Revolver »

JollyJack wrote: polish shafts.
You shouldn't encourage that kind of behavior to get ahead!
Oh wait, you meant in the machine shop, sorry. Lol

Never be afraid to tinker, and get into work. Always do it safely, of course, and if you're unsure ask.
Try to think steps ahead.
What happens if I do this. How does this system affect the entire plant. How do they all interact.
Stay involved. Talk about engineering. Engineers love to talk and talk about engineering and the shit we've seen.
Read manuals. Read them, look at the physical machinery, build it and put it together in your head.

Engineering is a physical science.
Try to remember the conservation of energy, it's applicable...everywhere - conceptualize HOW it's applicable within the machinery and the plant.

Have fun!!!! Very important to have fun.
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Re: How to Learn to be a Good Junior Engineer

Post by Big Pete »

" I have three friends,
I call them who and what and when,
they taught me all I know"....
Rudyard Kipling.

" I have three friends,
I call them what and how and why,
they taught me all I know".......
Big Pete.

If you are asking HOW to become a good engine you most probably WILL become one.
Good luck in your chosen career.

Big Pete
It is always better to ask a stupid question than to do a stupid thing.
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Re: How to Learn to be a Good Junior Engineer

Post by Revolver »

BP said it there.
If you're hungry, and stay hungry, for knowledge and improvement, it should all fall into place.
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Re: How to Learn to be a Good Junior Engineer

Post by swarakulkarni »

How would you case solidify? Play with the machine, make a couple of model guns, cut strings, clean shafts, document a level surface, work on welding and cutting. Try not to say it's everything the fitter's or welder's activity, be superior to the fitter or welder at doing it. Dismantle, update and reconstruct hardware at whatever point you can, ensure there are constantly extra injectors/fuel valves, air begins valves, help valves, exhaust valves and so on redesigned and prepared to go. Make it a point to lap the bilge valves and clean the strum boxes. On the off chance that you have a heater, make the day by day test schedule yours, keep the water in spec. Purifiers, blowers and poo tank frameworks ought to be your claim to fame, keep them all first class. Any subject you are frail on? Refrigeration maybe? Get familiar with everything you can, make it yours. Be persistent and reliable, be the Central's left hand (the second is his correct hand, eyes, and ears). Most significant, DON'T blow about these things, simply do them, you'll be basic. Obviously, no one truly is imperative, yet that is the impression you'll leave, and observation is a reality, all things considered.
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