How 3 Electricians Became PLC Programmers...

May 27, 2020

A while back I was talking to guy named Mark about myPLCtraining Academy and he told me something pretty cool.

Mark had recently transitioned from electrician to controls technician...without getting a degree or even a special certification.

He had been making a good salary of about $80,000 as a maintenance/industrial electrician, but now that he’s been promoted, he’s making up to $100,000!!

And that’s just his starting salary as a controls tech. It will certainly go up from here.

Since I’m  dedicated to helping electricians do exactly Mark did, I had to know more...

Turns out Mark had been with his company for quite a few years as an electrician but over time he kept trying to learn more about automation. He eventually took one PLC class at a tech school and soon after was promoted.

Now he’s been promoted, is doing controls and automation work which he really enjoys and less back-breaking work, and is making up to 20% more each year! Pretty cool huh?

So the question is, how can you do the same thing as Mark?

Step 1: Work hard.. Show initiative at your job. Hang out with folks who know more than you do. Let them know you’re interested in learning from them. But also, be sure to look for ways to help them in return.

Step 2: Keep learning. Here’s what Mark said:

Like you said show initiative. With our company they look at things like, are you taking any classes or doing anything to better yourself outside of work. I recommend to people who ask me, enroll in an online or tech school class.” That’s what is all about. Helping motivated electricians learn PLCs, and better yet, become confident PLC programmers so they advance their careers like Mark.

Step 3: Pursue automation and controls assignments. This might mean just asking to work on a controls project at your plant or applying for a job opening at your company or another company for a controls technician position. Just because you’ve learned PLCs doesn’t mean jobs will fall into your lap. You still have to go out and apply for the jobs and show your employer what you can do

(by the way when you complete the course(s) inside myPLCtraining Academy you’ll have multiple programming projects that you’ve created to show your current or prospective employer plus a certificate of completion that shows you finished the training course.)


Becoming a PLC programmer can massively improve your career fulfillment, not mention your pay and quality of life.

  1. Next, I’ll share 2 more stories of electricians who have advanced their careers with automation. See the video walk-through below
  2. Then after that, I've got a resource bundle you can download so you do the same thing!

Become a Confident PLC Programmer


Mark went from electrician to controls tech and increased his salary by 12-20% (depending on bonuses) overnight.

He did this by working hard and taking the initiative to learn PLCs on his own time. It paid off big for him and he’s just getting started.

Next I want to talk about two other stories of electricians going from heavily physical jobs as electricians to becoming experts at PLCs and automation, and improving their career and salary opportunities along with their skills.

Ok, so now we are going to talk about a couple other success stories of electricians who were able to improve and advance their careers by advancing their skills by learning how to program PLCs.

One of the stories is about one of my students who went through myPLCtraining Academy and is still getting started in his new role as a PLC programmer and the other story is an inspirational story someone who has been doing PLCs and automation for a quite while and he’s started to make a name for himself in the automation world.

The first person I want tell you about is Nathan Parks. Now Nathan is actually one of my coworkers at my engineering job. He is an electrician that now does the same job as me.

Here's a nice testimonial left for me regarding one of the courses inside myPLCtraining Academy...

Nathan went to a tech school several years ago to become electrician or electrical technician, and then right after he graduated he went to work as an electrician for the company I work for.

Nathan did really good work as an electrician. He was always ready to take on a challenge and he loved to learn new things. Over time Nathan worked with me quite bit with helping install and test PLC systems. He usually would do the wiring and hardware installation and I would do the programming.

But since Nathan showed such great initiative and interest in PLCs, I started giving him PLC tasks such checking out I/O by forcing outputs or verifying inputs.

Eventually Nathan enrolled in myPLCtraining Academy so he could refresh and his memory and improve upon the PLC class he took at the tech school.

Next thing I knew Nathan was taking over programming tasks for me and even took over a big startup for me when my wife was getting close to having our baby last summer.

Now he does PLC programming all the time and has done multiple new project startups and has helped our team develop new programming standards.

Just so you know I talked to him recently and he told me he has not received a significant pay raise since starting this new role, but I am confident that he will before too long, not to mention that he now has a very marketable skill should he decide to move on to another company somewhere.


Ok, next I want to introduce you to Derek Stickel. I somehow got connected to Derek on LinkedIn and quickly noticed that he was someone to pay attention to!

He would post about PLC automation projects he was working on and I was amazed at the his level of expertise with automation. It seemed like he could do anything, from PLC programming to HMIs to motion and much more in multiple industries too.

Also, in the past few months he has been sharing his current project on LinkedIn which is adding a canline to a brewery with incredible complex and fast automation. The project was originally projected to take 5 years but he was hired to do it in 5 months!!

Here’s a screenshot from Derek’s LinkedIn where announced that they hit the deadlines.

Now I will say that this guy works incredibly hard and some of the things he pulls off just make you tired reading about them

But the point is that you can work your way up as an electrician into PLCs and automation if you’re willing to work at it. And it’s as hard as you think. And like Derek you can go as far into the field as you want and even become a world-renowned automation expert WITHOUT going to engineering school.

But I got really interested when I found out that Derek started as a…?? You guessed it. He started as an electrician.

Here's what Derek told me when I asked him about how he got started...

What's sad about this story is that Derek had a rough childhood and had people tell him he was nothing would never be anything :(

But he didn't accept that and worked hard to prove them wrong...

Way to go Derek!

Learn more about Nathan and Derek's stories by watching this video.

Video walk-through of electricians who became PLC programmers


We started the post by telling you about the electrician, Mark, and his incredible salary improvement and position move that he was able to achieve by taking the initiative at work and on his own time to learn PLCs and automation.

Now he's a controls tech making 6 figures, and will only go up from there!

Then introduced you to two other electricians who have a similar story...

...going from electrician to PLC programmer (and one of them is quickly becoming one of the best in the world!

If you missed that video, click here.

I hope you found those stories inspiring and a reminder about what's possible if you take the initiative to learn PLCs.

Feel inspired yet? Good!

But I don't just want you to feel inspired...I want you to take action to achieve the same thing.

So I created a resource bundle to help get you started with moving toward the same goal, YOURSELF.

I have put together a list of resources to help you learn PLCs quickly so, you too can become a confident PLC programmer and advance your skills, your career and even your salary with automation!

Click here to get free resource PDF

I hope you find this resource bundle useful.

Do you have a story of going from electrician to PLC programmer? I'd love to hear it and I'm sure our other readers would to. Send me an email at [email protected]

Get the Free PLC Cheat Sheet

PLCs are really not that complicated. If you are new to PLCs or just looking to get a better handle on how they work, check out this free cheat sheet, called the "Motivated Electrician's Guide to Understanding ANY PLC System."

Grab the Cheat Sheet

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