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Career advice for LabVIEW Developers


Mark Moser

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I am currently working in the aerospace industry as a test engineer and work mostly in research and development type contracts. I am the de facto LabVIEW developer for our department and will sometimes get called on to help with other LabVIEW needs elsewhere in the company. (its a large company at around 2000 employees). I really enjoy what I do, there's a lot of variety and I have really good job security being the only "LabVIEW" guy. The only issue I have is that I am generally really busy in the middle of contracts and towards the end, and then can have dead time where I have hardly anything to do while I wait for contracts to turn on. I don't want to leave the company but it can be frustrating being put into a job role that isn't a great fit while you wait for something better to come. I feel like I see a lot of people going the route of LabVIEW consultant, I am intrigued by this idea and feel like I could potentially do it because I am a CLD and CLED, but I also like the stability of working for someone else. I am just curious about other peoples LabVIEW career experience, are you a token LabVIEW developer, a consultant, work on a team, done it all? What has been your preference?

Sorry if this is rambly I rarely have the opportunity to talk to other career LabVIEW developers. Thanks for your input!

 

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34 minutes ago, Mark Moser said:

I am currently working in the aerospace industry as a test engineer and work mostly in research and development type contracts. I am the de facto LabVIEW developer for our department and will sometimes get called on to help with other LabVIEW needs elsewhere in the company. (its a large company at around 2000 employees). I really enjoy what I do, there's a lot of variety and I have really good job security being the only "LabVIEW" guy. The only issue I have is that I am generally really busy in the middle of contracts and towards the end, and then can have dead time where I have hardly anything to do while I wait for contracts to turn on. I don't want to leave the company but it can be frustrating being put into a job role that isn't a great fit while you wait for something better to come. I feel like I see a lot of people going the route of LabVIEW consultant, I am intrigued by this idea and feel like I could potentially do it because I am a CLD and CLED, but I also like the stability of working for someone else. I am just curious about other peoples LabVIEW career experience, are you a token LabVIEW developer, a consultant, work on a team, done it all? What has been your preference?

Sorry if this is rambly I rarely have the opportunity to talk to other career LabVIEW developers. Thanks for your input!

 

If the lumpiness of contracts does not appeal to you, going out as a consultant will be more of that but you'll also be in charge of sales, purchasing, invoicing, and customer relations. I worked as a LV consultant in a small group for 10 years, managing the Test and Measurement business side as well as the programming. It's a lot of work, but if you enjoy handling that it is rewarding and you gain experience in a wide variety of fields and applications. I now work for an oil and gas company as the lead LV developer and do enjoy the stability as compared to consulting. There's also the ability to continue to develop applications to full maturity over a longer development cycle than turn-key testers. I'd say it really depends on what type of work and experience you are looking to gain in your career.

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Maybe you should try to land some freelance LabVIEW work?  Back in the day you could locate this type of work through your local NI rep, or attending various NI events and networking.  It seems like NI is much less active these days so I'm not sure if that is still feasible.  I once picked up a years long freelance gig off a freelance programing website (the site has long since disappeared)

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On 2/20/2023 at 11:22 AM, Mark Moser said:

Sorry if this is rambly I rarely have the opportunity to talk to other career LabVIEW developers. Thanks for your input!

You should look into a local LabVIEW User Group.  I hear NI is making a renewed effort in these and they are a great opportunity to meet and talk to local LabVIEW enthusiasts about common interests.  I personally find the thought of going on my own very daunting.  I know several people that have made it on their own, finding contracts, and executing projects successfully.  I assume they like the work, and it must pay really well.  But for me I'm just happy enough being the LabVIEW Overlord for a company.  The thought of having to be my own sales force, finance department, and project manager, on top of the documenter, designer, and developer roles sounds like a lot of work.  I'd rather work less for less money.

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  • 2 months later...
On 2/22/2023 at 6:21 AM, djolivet said:

Maybe you should try to land some freelance LabVIEW work?  Back in the day you could locate this type of work through your local NI rep, or attending various NI events and networking.  It seems like NI is much less active these days so I'm not sure if that is still feasible.  I once picked up a years long freelance gig off a freelance programing website (the site has long since disappeared)

Finding work is one of the bigger challenges and often results in a lot of waiting around for contracts to resolve and then having a bunch of them resolve at once. Feast or Famine.

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  • 1 year later...
On 5/17/2023 at 6:55 AM, Stagg54 said:

If you don't like downtime and just want to write LabVIEW code, being a consultant is a horrible idea. Find a better employer.

For sure - there are companies out there that have LabVIEW teams with multiple developers: they're good fun and you learn from the people around you.

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