As Electricians, it is always a difficult question to answer. Should I specialise in a specific niche or not?
The answer is not an easy one. You need to establish where you want to be working and as we all know, this seems to change pending a number of things like economic situation, company stability etc. Our field is a very diverse one and in some countries you need a specific license to operate in some sectors of our trade whilst in others you do not.
So how do you decide? The honest answer is that you need to understand what you are passionate about. If you love fault-finding on industrial installations, make that your speciality but do not ignore the rest of the fields. Make sure you still stay up to date on wiring regulations, new technology etc. The reason for this is that you may find yourself having to make a change to your career at some stage and you do not want to be in a position where your skills are not up to date.
Let us look at the other side of what you will be expected to do in the ever changing environment we work in. Start with the domestic installations. 15 years ago this would have involved light and power with no technology involved at all. If you look at some of the installations today, you are going to come across a so called ‘smart home’ with state of the art technology. All of a sudden you are expected to know how to not only install this equipment, but also to maintain and fault-find them.
If you had not stayed current with your skills, you will end up not having the faintest idea on where to start. This is why we say to make sure you keep yourself up to speed with what is happening in our trade. You are going to need varied skills to stay afloat in today’s installations.
You may do a service call to a commercial site and find a very old piece of equipment fitted with a 3 phase forward/reverse started hooked onto the back of a thumbwheel with micro switches to trigger the delay and change of direction. If you do not understand how these circuits work, be prepared for a long struggle to get the machine back into operation.
Now go back to the original question of specialising. If you look at how the previously segregated fields are now starting to overlap on installations, specialising could leave you out in the cold. Personally, I love industrial installations and most of all, fault-finding on machinery. It is a challenge to walk up to a machine that you know nothing about, find the fault and get it back into production but, do not limit your skill to that only! Make sure you still get exposure to other installations.
If you are stuck on this question, I hope this has given you some perspective on it. So until next time, remember that the bitter taste of poor quality by far outlasts the sweetness of a cheap price. Do not cut prices to get the work and then put yourself in a position where you take shortcuts to avoid losing money!
Stay Safe out there!