Professional Development for Control Systems Careers

Professional development is crucial in helping professionals advance their careers, whether learning new skills or gaining new experience. The same is true for control systems professionals. In this article we discuss which professional development methods are the most effective for control systems careers.

Continuous Learning in Control Systems

A light bulb drawn on a blackboard

With continued advances in technology, control systems professionals must engage in continuous learning throughout their careers. This will ensure they stay at the ‘top of their game’ whilst familiarising themselves with new technology and relevant industry changes.

Continuous learning is a broad term that can include structured and unstructured development alongside formal or informal learning. Examples of continuous learning may include taking a course, learning a new programming language, or job shadowing.

There are several benefits to continuous learning in control systems jobs, including:

  • Increased employee engagement.
  • Higher job satisfaction and retention.
  • Enhanced knowledge and skillset.
  • Opportunities for career growth and progression.

Continuing Professional Development

One method of monitoring continuous learning for control systems professionals is Continuing Professional Development (CPD). CPD is a method for professionals to monitor and track the knowledge, skills, and experience that someone gains.

CPD documents both formal and informal methods beyond initial job training. Some organisations may focus CPD on development plans or training programmes. However, CPD focuses on documenting and reflecting on learning and development within a CPD portfolio.

Incorporating different CPD types, such as workshops and informal education, helps increase its effectiveness. CPD can also benefit career professionals and help provide more opportunities for control systems recruitment.

Mentorship Programmes for Control Systems Professionals

A group of people looking at a computer

Mentorship programmes for control systems professionals is another method of professional development, and can encompass various learning initiatives to help employees learn and develop.

While mentoring was initially put in place to help junior employees, it is now much broader and is used universally. Mentorship programs include group, peer, reverse, and team mentoring. However, unlike one-sided training programmes, mentorship programmes should be mutually beneficial.

Specifically, mentorship programs are structured initiatives that pair experienced and less experience employees to provide support, guidance, and knowledge. While organisations can set up in-house mentorship programmes, there are also some professional initiatives that can be used:

  • IEEE Mentoring Programme – an online program that pairs qualified IEEE members. This mentoring programe provides guidance and support for careers, leadership, volunteering, and education.
  • InstMC—the Institute of Measurement and Control offers mentoring through participation in proceedings of an influential institution. Some networks, such as Women in Measurement, Automation & Control (WIMAC)—also provide mentoring opportunities to members.
  • CIBSE – CIBSE Mentoring is available to members and seeks to match professionals (mentors and mentees) based on their skills and experience. This online mentoring platform allows individuals to share knowledge, experience, advice, and guidance to aid professional development.

Networking Events and Conferences

A group of people sitting at a conference

Networking events and conferences are two other professional development methods for control systems careers.

Networking Events

In networking events professionals are encouraged to meet and engage with each other to build industry connections.

Networking events can vary widely, but they all share the same holistic goal – allowing attendees to build and grow their professional network.

By attending a networking event, you can benefit from:

  • Strengthening business connections.
  • Gaining fresh ideas and perspectives.
  • Building confidence.
  • Obtain career advice and support.
  • Help advance your career.

There are many networking events for control systems professionals. The IEEE hosts various conferences and events around the world. Other places to check for control systems networking events include Meetup, 10times, and techUK.


Unlike networking events that are about growing industry connections, conferences seek to group individuals together to present and discuss information related to certain topics.

Conferences can differ in size and scope, but all attendees will often share expertise in a particular field. Conferences for control systems professionals can be either business- or trade-focused.

Business conferences focus on bringing together small groups of people from the same business or industry. At a business conference, attendees will discuss industry opportunities, relevant business goals, and new trends.

Trade conferences, however, are much larger and will attract attendees from different industries. They focus on developing connections and participating in workshops or whitepaper presentations.

Some of the benefits you can gain from attending a conference include:

  • Growing connections with people in your industry.
  • Gaining feedback from experts on your work.
  • Discover the latest industry research and trends.
  • Improve your communication and presentation skills.
  • Engage in debates and discussions.
  • Something to add to your CV if you gave a talk or presentation.

As with networking events, the IEEE hosts various conferences for control systems professionals. These conferences take place around the world regularly. Other places to check for conferences include IFAC, the IET, and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Control systems professionals can advance their careers by taking advantage of a broad range of professional development opportunities. These opportunities also help build skills, knowledge, and experience, improving career growth.

Further Reading