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Become An Operations Engineer

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Working As An Operations Engineer

  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Getting Information
  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • $65,467

    Average Salary

What Does An Operations Engineer Do

Construction equipment operators drive, maneuver, or control the heavy machinery used to construct roads, bridges, buildings, and other structures.

Duties

Construction equipment operators typically do the following:

  • Clean and maintain equipment, making basic repairs as necessary
  • Report malfunctioning equipment to supervisors
  • Move levers, push pedals, or turn valves to control equipment
  • Drive and maneuver equipment
  • Coordinate machine actions with crew members using hand or audio signals
  • Ensure that safety standards are met

Construction equipment operators use machinery to move construction materials, earth, and other heavy materials at construction sites and mines. They operate equipment that clears and grades land to prepare it for the construction of roads, bridges, and buildings, as well as runways, power generation facilities, dams, levees, and other structures.

Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators work with one or several types of power construction equipment. They may operate excavation and loading machines equipped with scoops, shovels, or buckets that dig sand, gravel, earth, or similar materials. In addition to operating bulldozers, they operate trench excavators, road graders, and similar equipment. Sometimes, they may drive and control industrial trucks or tractors equipped with forklifts or booms for lifting materials. They may also operate and maintain air compressors, pumps, and other power equipment at construction sites.

Paving and surfacing equipment operators control the machines that spread and level asphalt or spread and smooth concrete for roadways or other structures.

  • Asphalt spreader operators turn valves to regulate the temperature and flow of asphalt being applied to the roadbed. They must ensure a constant flow of asphalt into the hopper and that the machine distributes the paving material evenly.
  • Concrete paving machine operators control levers and turn handwheels to move attachments that spread, vibrate, and level wet concrete. They must watch the surface of the concrete carefully to identify low spots that need additional concrete.
  • Tamping equipment operators use machines that compact earth and other fill materials for roadbeds, railroads, or other construction sites. They may also operate machines with interchangeable hammers to cut or break up old pavement and drive guardrail posts into the ground.

Pile-driver operators use large machines mounted on skids, barges, or cranes to hammer piles into the ground. Piles are long, heavy beams of concrete, wood, or steel driven into the ground to support retaining walls, bridges, piers, or building foundations. Some pile-driver operators work on offshore oil rigs.

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How To Become An Operations Engineer

Many workers learn equipment operation on the job after earning a high school diploma or equivalent, while others learn through an apprenticeship or by attending vocational schools.

Education

A high school diploma or equivalent is required for most jobs. Vocational training and math courses are useful, and a course in auto mechanics can be helpful because workers often perform maintenance on their equipment. 

Education at a private vocational school may be beneficial in finding a job, and the variety of construction equipment that is taught varies from school to school. However, people considering this kind of training should check the school’s reputation among employers in the area and find out if the school offers the opportunity to train on actual machines in realistic situations.

Many training facilities incorporate sophisticated simulators into their training, allowing beginners to familiarize themselves with the equipment in a virtual environment before operating real machines.

Training

Many workers learn their jobs by operating light equipment under the guidance of an experienced operator. Later, they may operate heavier equipment, such as bulldozers. Technologically advanced construction equipment with computerized controls requires greater skill to operate. Operators of such equipment may need more training and some understanding of electronics.

Other workers learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. On the job, apprentices learn to maintain equipment, operate machinery, and use special technology, such as a Global Positioning System (GPS). In the classroom, apprentices learn operating procedures for special equipment, safety practices, and first aid, as well as how to read grading plans. Because apprentices learn to operate a wider variety of machines than do other beginners, they usually have better job opportunities.

A few groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. Some apprenticeship programs have preferred entry for veterans. The basic qualifications for entering an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school education or equivalent
  • Physically able to do the work
  • Valid driver’s license

After completing an apprenticeship program, apprentices are considered journey workers and perform tasks with less guidance.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Construction equipment operators often need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to haul their equipment to various jobsites. State laws governing CDLs vary.

A few states have special licenses for operators of backhoes, loaders, and bulldozers.

Currently, 17 states require pile-driver operators to have a crane license because similar operational concerns apply to both pile-drivers and cranes. In addition, the cities of Chicago, New Orleans, New York, Omaha, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC require special crane licensure.

Important Qualities

Hand–eye–foot coordination. Construction equipment operators should have steady hands and feet to guide and control heavy machinery precisely, sometimes in tight spaces.

Mechanical skills. Construction equipment operators often perform basic maintenance on the equipment they operate. As a result, they should be familiar with hand and power tools and standard equipment care.

Physical strength. Construction equipment operators may be required to lift more than 50 pounds as part of their duties.

Unafraid of heights. Construction equipment operators may work at great heights. For example, pile-driver operators may need to service the pulleys located at the top of the pile-driver’s tower, which may be several stories tall.

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Operations Engineer jobs

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Operations Engineer Career Paths

Operations Engineer
Operations Manager General Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Systems Administrator Engineer
Chief Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Program Manager General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Project Manager
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Operations Director Co-Owner General Contractor
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Lead Engineer Chief Engineer Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
11 Yearsyrs
Chief Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Network Engineer Network Administrator Systems Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Operation Supervisor Production Manager Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
General Manager Operator Foreman
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Lead Engineer Lead Technician Production Supervisor
Material Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Chief Engineer Project Manager Program Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Network Engineer Information Technology Manager Operations Manager
Operations Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Operations Director
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Information Technology Manager Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Operation Supervisor Systems Administrator Project Engineer
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Engineering Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Systems Engineer Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Lead Engineer 3.4 years
Service Engineer 3.4 years
Engineer 3.2 years
Network Engineer 3.1 years
NOC Engineer 1.7 years
Top Employers Before
Engineer 7.3%
Internship 5.4%
Technician 4.2%
Operator 3.4%
Top Employers After
Engineer 7.5%
Consultant 3.9%
Manager 3.6%
Owner 3.2%
Operator 3.0%

Operations Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

86.6%

Female

11.3%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

74.9%

Hispanic or Latino

10.6%

Asian

10.5%

Unknown

3.2%

Black or African American

0.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

44.6%

Carrier

7.5%

French

6.6%

Mandarin

6.1%

German

6.1%

Arabic

5.2%

Chinese

3.8%

Portuguese

3.3%

Hindi

2.3%

Italian

2.3%

Japanese

2.3%

Russian

1.9%

Cantonese

1.9%

Turkish

1.4%

Polish

1.4%

Vietnamese

0.9%

Greek

0.9%

Romanian

0.5%

Gujarati

0.5%

Sanskrit

0.5%
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Operations Engineer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.6%

Texas A&M University

7.2%

Rochester Institute of Technology

5.6%

University of Maryland - University College

5.4%

University of Houston

5.2%

Purdue University

4.8%

Strayer University

4.8%

Arizona State University

4.6%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.4%

University of Texas at Austin

4.4%

University of Washington

4.4%

Community College of the Air Force

4.2%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.0%

Drexel University

4.0%

Pennsylvania State University

3.8%

San Jose State University

3.6%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

3.6%

Northeastern University

3.6%

Texas Tech University

3.4%

More Tech Institute

3.4%
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Majors

Business

15.3%

Mechanical Engineering

10.6%

Electrical Engineering

10.4%

Computer Science

7.1%

Chemical Engineering

5.7%

Computer Information Systems

5.3%

Information Technology

4.8%

Heating And Air Conditioning

4.3%

Computer Networking

4.1%

Engineering

3.9%

Industrial Engineering

3.8%

Management

3.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

3.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.3%

Petroleum Engineering

3.0%

Communication

2.6%

Computer Engineering

2.3%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.2%

Industrial Technology

2.1%

Project Management

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.8%

Other

22.5%

Masters

21.5%

Associate

9.4%

Certificate

4.6%

Doctorate

1.4%

Diploma

1.3%

License

0.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Operations Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Staff Operations Engineer ETSY Inc. New York, NY Feb 05, 2016 $185,000 -
$205,000
Development Operations Engineer Steel House, Inc. Culver City, CA Sep 19, 2016 $175,000
Development Operations Engineer Elementum SCM, Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 18, 2015 $175,000
Principal Cloud Operations Engineer Informatica LLC Redwood City, CA Oct 19, 2015 $175,000
Development Operations Engineer Elementum SCM, Inc. Mountain View, CA Feb 23, 2015 $173,000
Staff Operations Engineer ETSY, Inc. New York, NY Sep 03, 2015 $170,000
Agile Operations Engineer (SR Systems Engineer) DRW Holdings, LLC. Chicago, IL Dec 21, 2016 $170,000 -
$190,000
Staff Application Operations Engineer Intuit Inc. Mountain View, CA Jul 11, 2016 $169,749 -
$191,000
Staff Application Operations Engineers Intuit Mountain View, CA Aug 31, 2016 $165,000
Staff Application Operations Engineer Intuit Mountain View, CA Feb 09, 2016 $165,000 -
$189,750
Development Operations Engineer, Adobe Stock Adobe Systems Incorporated San Francisco, CA Aug 29, 2016 $165,000
Content Delivery Operations Engineer Netflix, Inc. Los Gatos, CA Aug 24, 2015 $164,382
Drilling Operations Engineer Broken Hill Proprietary (USA) Inc. Houston, TX Jan 02, 2016 $163,488 -
$169,429
Staff Application Operations Engineer Intuit San Diego, CA Aug 15, 2016 $160,000
Application Operations Engineer Intuit Inc. Mountain View, CA Jul 24, 2016 $108,493 -
$130,000
Release Operations Engineer Linkedin Corporation Mountain View, CA Dec 16, 2015 $108,110 -
$135,800
Operations Engineer California Independent System Operator Folsom, CA Feb 12, 2015 $107,286
Corporate Operations Engineer Google Inc. New York, NY Aug 20, 2015 $107,000
Web Operations Engineer II Best Buy Enterprise Services, Inc. Richfield, MN Mar 23, 2015 $106,912 -
$115,000
Principal Service Operations Engineer Greenbay Infotech LLC Bellevue, WA May 11, 2016 $106,454
Development Operations Engineer Xilinx, Inc. San Jose, CA Jul 24, 2015 $106,375
Operations Engineer I Pioneer Natural Resources USA, Inc. Midland, TX Aug 29, 2015 $105,518
Development Operations Engineer MAQ L.L.C Redmond, WA Jan 10, 2016 $89,669
Operations Engineer California Independent System Operator Folsom, CA Jul 19, 2016 $89,442
Corporate Operations Engineer Google Inc. New York, NY Jul 23, 2015 $89,378
Saas Operations Engineer Calypso Technology, Inc. New York, NY Apr 21, 2015 $89,378
Application Operations Engineer Intuit Inc. Mountain View, CA Jan 02, 2016 $89,149 -
$130,000
Grid Operations Engineer Nvidia Corporation Santa Clara, CA Nov 07, 2016 $88,352 -
$105,740
Industrial & Operations Engineer Sandisk Corporation Milpitas, CA Dec 08, 2016 $88,000 -
$108,000
Operations Engineer Actiance, Inc. Redwood City, CA Oct 23, 2015 $88,000 -
$91,000

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Top Skills for An Operations Engineer

ProceduresSafetyCustomerServicePreventiveMaintenanceFacilityHvacWindowsServerBoilersTroubleTicketsEmergencyChillersRoutersLan/WanWebDataCentersLinuxStorageSQLTechnicalSupportTcp/Ip

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Top Operations Engineer Skills

  1. Procedures
  2. Safety
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Increased manufacturing throughput 15% by identifying areas for improvement and defining and implementing new procedures for greater efficiency.
  • Handled engineering &quality control audits of facilities by Oil Industry Safety Directorate and Directorate General for Civil Aviation.
  • Established Customer Service Organization tasked with responding to all on-orbit spacecraft anomalies.
  • Perform preventive maintenance and repairs on motors & pumps low & high voltages between 120 - 480 volts.
  • Project Manager for the move of our offices and technical facility to another GE location in southern New Jersey.

Top Operations Engineer Employers

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