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The Machinist Journey - The Ideal Candidate and What it Takes to Enter the Industry

Since its inception at the beginning of the industrial revolution, the manufacturing industry has attracted a variety of different individuals; some who entered the industry as a means of employment and others who entered with a passion for creating. No matter the reason and/or circumstance the manufacturing industry is a career choice that will either inspire or deter an individual. The purpose of this article is to highlight why an individual should get into manufacturing, how to get into the industry and what ultimately makes a good machinist.  

Why become a machinist? 

Well, if you enjoy using your hands to make things you’re already in the right direction of becoming a machinist. An individual, for instance, a skilled carpenter would most likely appreciate machinist work and vice versa. One of the main characteristics that will define you as a  potential machinist is your passion to make an invention a reality however it does not end there; not only are you passionate in creating but you take pride in the outcome of the finished product. If you appreciate manifesting ideas and sharing it with others in hopes of impressing them it is very high that you will find manufacturing rewarding. As previously stated, if you enjoy bringing things to life; manufacturing may be the ideal career option for you, so keep reading and learn how to enter the world of manufacturing. 

How to get into the industry? 

There is a level of certification that has to be completed prior to entering the manufacturing industry however we recommend that prior to enrolling in a manufacturing course; you should spend some time at a manufacturing facility. Whether it be for a few days or a week it is important that you have insight as to what a mechanical engineer does, what a machinist does and what a millwright does and see if it is something that you are willing to take seriously. The reason we recommend that you spend a few days/ week at a manufacturing plant is that we have witnessed individuals fresh out of completing their manufacturing certification not enjoy the industry.

After familiarization and understanding of the industry, if it is something that you can see yourself doing you should enroll in a manufacturing program; this standard is required of every machinist. Generally speaking, as an aspiring machinist, you would attend some formal training for instance apprenticeship or college for approximately 2-3 years where you would gain theoretical and practical knowledge. Today’s manufacturing courses require students to balance between in-class and intern environments that permit them to understand theory and practice. In order to become a certified machinist, a manufacturing exam must be successfully completed; you cannot become a machinist without completing the exam.  

What makes a good machinist? 

Obtaining a certification in manufacturing is good to have because it is the requirement of the industry however having a certification does not guarantee that you will actually be a good machinist. Being a good machinist is beyond certification; it is understanding that the manufacturing industry is one that will always require you to learn new things. A good machinist looks at every creation as a problem that needs to be solved; a problem that they can learn and elevate from. The idea is that as a machinist when you solve your problem you feel a sense of accomplishment and or satisfaction; such characteristics define a good machinist. 

To be a good machinist you have to take pride in your work, your mental state has to be that you are capable of creating the best form of an idea. As a good machinist, you will always spend a little bit more time not only on making a functional part but also on a presentable, attractive part. Your two main goals should always be to ‘wow’ your client with the finished product and ensure that the measurements provided are in line with the creation. Those two factors are what can earn the confidence of your client to trust you to create more parts for them. 

A good machinist does not only know how to operate machines and their software but also aims to improve what they know about them. Now, there are several ways to program a machine to create a part but a good machinist will always look for the most efficient way to get the job done. A good machinist will never define themselves as an expert because the reality is every 1-2 years there is a new software update that requires training; as a machinist, you are always learning. A good machinist knows the ins and outs of their machine and software and knows the right tool to use to get the job done. 

An important rule of thumb is as a machinist you are always sharing your ideas as to how you will manufacture a particular product/tool with your team. As a good machinist, feedback from your peers is important to you because you want to make sure that the end product is ideal. A good machinist that is a part of a team recognizes that there is no I in the word team. 

As a good machinist, you are always going on the internet, conferences, etc. to learn new innovations and try them out as a means of perfecting your craft. As a good machinist, you think about your work even when you’re not at the facility you’re thinking about how you can improve the product you’re working on. If from the moment you leave the manufacturing plant you are no longer thinking about your work it is a sign that you are not too committed to creating the best product. Your mentality should always be that the client is not a client of the company but your client in which you hope to build a long and lasting relationship with.  

All in all, if you are thinking about entering the manufacturing industry consider the above and make the right decision because as mentioned earlier you will either be inspired or deterred; no in-betweens!

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