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The profession lives up to its name. A Commissioning Engineer is a specialist responsible for commissioning systems and machinery. They coordinate logistics and various trades and carry out the on-site commissioning of the delivered machines. Their responsibilities also include resolving malfunctions, conducting regular maintenance work, and performing repairs when needed. Additionally, they serve as the point of contact for the client companies and provide technical customer support.
Software Commissioning Engineers are exclusively responsible for installing, configuring, and putting software systems into operation. They test the functional processes and initiate trial operations at the respective customers’ locations. Often, they remain involved in the project until any potential weaknesses are identified and addressed.
Commissioning Engineers of machinery and systems share many similarities with software Commissioning Engineers. They install and commission the systems. However, the systems they work with are typically technically mechanical. Collaboration between both professional groups is common, as well as teaming up with project management experts.
The primary role of these professionals is to commission delivered machinery for the buyer. This includes industrial companies as well as medium-sized companies or larger craft enterprises. The Commissioning Engineer ensures that all components are in the right place, initiates trial runs, and performs stress tests.
Their scope of work is expanded to cover additional services that are also part of the contract for the ordered machines and systems. Common tasks include training the company’s own staff, which can extend over a longer period. The Commissioning Engineer stays on-site until the regular staff can independently operate the machine.
Depending on the assignment and contract, maintenance, servicing, and repair of the commissioned systems may also be part of their responsibilities. Additionally, the Commissioning Engineer may be involved in dismantling and relocating machines and systems to another location.
If the systems are programmed for remote maintenance, the Commissioning Engineer may also be responsible for this task. In such cases, it is possible to conduct part of the quality control remotely from the employer’s headquarters.
The specifics of the Commissioning Engineer’s role depend not only on their field of deployment but also on the types of machines and systems being distributed.
Commissioning is a demanding job that requires specific qualifications. Generally, the task can be performed by trained and experienced mechanical engineers, mechatronics technicians, electricians, and electronics technicians. Further professional development, such as attending technician schools or gaining expertise in the IT field, is beneficial.
Depending on the complexity of the machines and systems, commissioning is preferably handled by engineers. Ideally, they have completed degrees in mechanical engineering, process engineering, or electrical engineering. Graduates from technician schools also have the opportunity to establish themselves as Commissioning Engineers in their professional life.
The training programs qualifying for the role of Commissioning Engineer typically last three to three and a half years. Shortened programs are possible if similar professions have already been learned or if a correspondingly qualified school leaving certificate is provided.
Soft and hard skills are equally important in this role. Essential personal attributes for this challenging profession include:
When you are on assignment for your company, customer-oriented behavior, professionalism, and dedication are of utmost importance. You cannot always expect an eight-hour workday with regular breaks. Possessing a Class B driver’s license is evident due to the necessary travel requirements.
Even for the education or degree program, specific technical prerequisites are necessary. A strong spatial imagination, solid performance in mathematics and IT, as well as good English language skills are the basics that a future Commissioning Engineer must possess. A high understanding of technology and its processes, proactive decision-making, and a willingness to further educate oneself are also essential for success in this role.
Throughout the training and studies, you will acquire knowledge in the following areas:
Material science and handling these materials are integral to the relevant training programs as well as the studies. Your task also involves writing maintenance and inspection plans, implementing them, or taking responsibility for their implementation.
An important aspect both during the education and in the daily work is focused on workplace safety. Knowing safety regulations as well as quality standards is a prerequisite for a Commissioning Engineer to competently execute their work in all aspects.
Furthermore, not only the profession itself but also the specific field determines which hard skills are necessary. In general, there is the opportunity to specialize and gain additional qualifications through courses offered by institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce (IHK), the Association of German Engineers (VDI), or similar organizations.
As a Commissioning Engineer, you ensure that commissioning documents are implemented. You are also responsible for coordinating various trades, clarifying interfaces, and adhering to a schedule. At the same time, you are obliged to regularly report the progress of your work to your company. Each work step, trial run, and communication with external companies or subcontractors must be documented.
They are essential employees in companies that manufacture components, machines, and systems. They primarily work off-site at varying locations, although they are also present within the company premises. When a customer orders spare parts, machines, or systems, this marks the first step for deployment to a different location. Whether this location is nearby, at the other end of the country, or on a distant continent depends entirely on the products manufactured and personal skills.
It is possible that the work at the deployment site involves not only indoor facilities but also outdoor areas, including land and water. The profession of a Commissioning Engineer is not only demanding in terms of expertise but can also be physically strenuous. Additionally, time pressure is often present when acceptance and handover deadlines are integral parts of the delivery contract between their own company and its customers.
Frequently, the work assignment extends beyond the actual commissioning process, especially when foreign company employees require training over an extended period. Such assignments can be personally challenging, and the corresponding resilience and flexibility are fundamental prerequisites for Commissioning Engineers.
Your qualifications, the type of company you work for, and the scope of your work area all influence your salary. As a beginner, you can expect a monthly salary of around 3,300 euros. Experienced Commissioning Engineers earn 4,800 euros and more. Additionally, there are allowances and benefits for travel or extended stays at remote locations.
If your company operates worldwide, and you are willing to work on all continents, an annual salary of around 90,000 euros is not uncommon. Additional benefits such as accommodation costs at remote work locations, travel expenses, and daily allowances for absences also affect your income.
Numerous industries are interested in competent and reliable Commissioning Engineers. The better your qualifications, the more opportunities you have in the job market. Your personal willingness to engage in extended travel or international assignments also influences your employability.
Furthermore, you have the opportunity to enhance your job qualifications, such as becoming an SPS programmer. If you also have professional experience in a related occupation, it will be a positive factor in the selection process when applying for jobs.
Another possibility is to be recruited through a temporary employment agency. In many cases, their conditions are not only comparable to the collective agreements of individual industries but even superior. It’s definitely worth taking a closer look at the employment contracts in such cases.