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03-14-2017, 06:56 PM #1
Need some advice on where to go with my QA (metrology/inspection) background.
I'm posting my resume here so you can see where I'm at professionally and give me pointers as to what my career focus should be at this point.
I turn 35 later this month and I'm not particularly happy with my current job and almost all of my Quality Assurance experience (and experience in general) comes from Metal Stamping. I'm at a crossroads in deciding where I want to take my career so I'm looking for a way to expand and diversify my experience in some way.
Looking at the current job market and what I would expect to see in the future of manufacturing, I would like to purse a career in either QA engineering and/or QA management. I've been around this stuff for a long time and I think it's time for me to solidify my skills into a lucrative career. But I don't have any real credentials except for my GD&T course completion certificate which is not the same as being GD&T certified through ASME.
As of right now, I'm focusing my job search efforts toward machine shops because they are booming in my area, and manufacturing/inspecting precision parts represent greater opportunities to learn over inspecting stamped parts. Not to mention that I live in south central PA so I'm very close to MD which has an abundance of defense contractors and sub-contractors.
For me, a machine shop would allow me to expand my CMM skills which is something that I've wanted to do for a long time. Currently my knowledge is basic and comes from my experiences in troubleshooting problems with the program and correcting them, but I've never written one from scratch. I'm very confident that I could learn it quickly give my computer skills and GD&T skills if I were given a chance.
The other thing I would like to do is work on getting better at GD&T so I don't struggle as much with highly complicated prints. Working in metal stamping, I haven't seen too many complicated drawings and most of the ones I have encountered seem to be complicated because someone chose to make it that way and not because it had to be. That being said, the GD&T prints that I've seen at the machine shops I have toured all seem pretty simple but with tighter tolerances.
My alternate focus is to possibly get a QA leadership position where I can acquire the skills I need to become a QA manager someday.
I've been around ISO/TS for a long time and I'm very familiar with it and I've even been involved in some audits, but I completely lack formal training. That being said, I have a pretty good idea as to what doesn't work because I've seen it fail (less is more) and I've got a pretty good idea as to what is and is not going to fly with those auditors.
Having some formal training under my belt along with a few other things could help with this goal. However, I see this as a more daunting task because the only way I'd be considered a candidate is for a shop that does metal stamping/forming because I'm highly experienced with it, but it's a dying trade. I would also be limited to small shops because they would be looking for someone who is skilled and motivated, but falls short of some qualifications because they can't afford to pay a qualified person. That being said I have experience with a small shop and interviewed a couple of others and from what I've seen alot of them never seem very wishy washy in regards to what they want to do with their company. Basically they want to run with the big dogs, but they don't want to make the big dog decisions or spend any of the big dog money to make any of it happen. That's my experience with small shops so I'm not putting too much stock in this, but I'd be willing to consider an offer if I feel confident enough about the place and the existing management.
04-06-2017, 09:02 AM #2
It sounds like you know your strengths, limitations and what you need to do to improve yourself, which is an amazing start.
You have a fairly good understanding of where and how to go from being competent to proficient for particular trade-related skills.
In terms of QA leadership, which – from what I can tell – is where you're least experienced, you will more than likely need a college diploma or university degree in engineering or (quality assurance) management. That's anywhere from two to four years. You know your financial situation the best to judge if further education is a possibility for you.
Luckily, in the worst case scenario, if further education isn't an option, it seems your current skill set is in demand, which is always a good sign.