For generations, chemical engineers across specializations have looked to AIChE to expand their professional horizons through affiliation, education, and vocational inspiration. Today’s chemical engineers are finding a breadth of new career enhancement services offered through AIChE’s Institute for Learning and Innovation (ILI), which presents a lifelong-learning plan consisting of career discovery, skills and knowledge development, certifications, and opportunities for applying new skills through practice (Practice+).
A new opportunity associated with ILI’s Practice+ component is a data analytics internship program that is connecting students, PhD candidates, and new professional with hiring companies – and preparing those interns with data analytics training provided through the AIChE Academy.
Professional-skills training and data analytics courses
In the program, potential interns are interviewed by hiring companies and, once selected, are enrolled in online, on-demand training offered through AIChE Academy. This training – which includes courses in business communication, professional ethics, and leadership techniques – allows the interns to enhance their workplace skills, while courses devoted to key technical topics provide the interns with the knowledge needed to execute their data analytics assignments. After receiving this training, the interns are given a hands on project — along with a mentor — at the hiring company.
In addition to professional-skills training, the current suite of data analytics courses available to interns covers such topics as the widely used Python programming language, data visualization, data extraction using SQL, fundamentals of process control, statistical programming, machine learning, and artificial intelligence — with more topics to be added to the mix.
Tailored for today’s job market
According to Sarah Ewing, a chemical engineering alumnus of the University of California, Irvine, and AIChE’s Senior Engineering Specialist for Business Development, the hiring of chemical engineers for data analytics projects is a novel concept for most companies. “Typically, companies have hired people with computer science background for such projects,” says Ewing. “But, if it is a chemical company using data analytics for optimizing chemical processes, it behooves them to bring in team members with chemical engineering expertise to help with the data analysis.”
Ewing, who administers the data analytics program, adds that the intention of bringing in chemical engineers for data analysis is not to replace those employees with a traditional computer science background, but to round out a company’s data analytics team. “AIChE’s courses get those with a chemical engineering background up to speed with data analysis skillsets, so they can make an impact on projects while providing their expertise on chemical processing,”says Ewing.
Ewing also noted that, aside from the requisite technical training, companies participating in the data analytics internship program have emphasized their interest in hiring interns with solid communication and workplace skills – training also provided through courses in the ILI’s data analytics training package.
Potential data analytics interns – as well as hiring companies – can learn more about AIChE’s Data Analytics Internship Program and how to apply at the ILI website. Visit www.aiche.org/ili/practice-plus/data-analytics-internship.