What are the qualifications of a good programmer

The PLC programmer

Tasks | Career prospects | Salary | Current jobs

The job as a PLC programmer is

  • responsible
  • challenging
  • exciting
  • diversified
  • exciting
  • a job with good future prospects

Tasks as a PLC programmer

  • Selection of suitable control devices
  • Programming of the control devices
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Creation of machine allocation plans
Annual salary:
30.000 € – 65.000 €

Depending on

  • Education / qualification
  • Company size
  • Industry & work experience
  • Degree of specialization
  • region

Do you enjoy programming, are you enthusiastic about technology and are now wondering whether you should become a PLC programmer? Or have you only heard of this job description, but are unsure what exactly it is about? In both cases, you should read the following guide carefully. We provide you with comprehensive information about the tasks and everyday work of a PLC programmer.

We will also explain to you which are the best prerequisites for a career as a PLC programmer and in which industries and areas you can work. Finally, we will of course also inform you about vacancies so that you can apply directly for a job as a PLC programmer!

All information about the PLC programmer at a glance

What does PLC programming mean?The programming, commissioning and maintenance of a device for system and machine control.
What does a PLC programmer do?It ensures that the systems and machines connected to the PLC perform the required functions.
How do I become a PLC programmer?About a related training and subsequent training to become a PLC programmer.
What does a PLC programmer earn?The starting salary is an average of 30,000 euros per year.

What is SPS?

= PLC means 'programmable logic controller'. The English abbreviation PLC for “Programmable Logic Controller” is also common in this country. In simple terms, the PLC is connected to a machine in order to then control its functions.

Table of Contents

Current vacancies & jobs as a PLC programmer

PLC programmer: definition

The abbreviation PLC stands for 'Programmable Logic Controller'. It is a device that is used to control systems and machines - for example in the automotive industry, but also in logistics and in pharmaceutical production facilities. A programmable logic controller has various inputs and outputs, an operating system and several interfaces via which the user programs can be loaded. The programming of the programmable logic controller, its smooth operation as well as maintenance and repair belong to the area of ​​responsibility of the PLC programmer.

PLC programmer: tasks

The area of ​​responsibility of a PLC programmer is broad. A PLC programmer first selects suitable control and regulation devices, taking into account not only functional, but also economic aspects. The PLC programmer then develops control programs for machines, systems and various technical devices. He is also responsible for the commissioning as well as for the maintenance and repair of the PLC. In the event of problems, he carries out an error diagnosis and ensures that the error is rectified as quickly as possible in order to ensure the smoothest possible operation.

The creation of machine allocation plans, circuit terminal diagrams and assignment lists is also the responsibility of the PLC programmer. Last but not least, the PLC programmer takes on an advisory role: He informs customers about the sensible use and application of PLC systems as well as their retrofitting and then implements the suggestions directly.

The PLC programmer is not a loner who spends the whole day alone at his machines. Instead, he is in constant contact with customers and clients. In addition, he is in close contact with employees - for example with the production manager or the plant operator.

PLC programmer: requirements

An affinity for technology and programming is important for a PLC programmer. For this reason, you should also be familiar with common programming languages ​​if you want to work as a PLC programmer. Therefore, analytical thinking should also suit you. As a PLC programmer, it is not unusual to work independently and to be left alone with the control programs that you have to operate. Since the English language is often used here, you should also have a good command of English if you decide to become a PLC programmer.

Your skills

PLC programmer: training & studies

PLC programmer is not an apprenticeship, and a course with this title does not yet exist. Instead, it is a further training occupation for which you can qualify with various training providers. Depending on whether you want to do the training full-time or part-time, it takes about three to six months.

As a rule, the prerequisite for further training is a completed vocational training in a related training occupation (for example: IT specialist, electrical engineer) or a completed degree, for example in:

  • Computer science
  • mechanical engineering
  • Electrical engineering

Most advanced training courses are aimed specifically at engineers, technicians, masters and skilled workers in the fields of plant engineering, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. Here are some training providers at a glance:

The content of a training program to become a PLC programmer varies depending on the provider and target group of the training program. As a rule, however, aspiring PLC programmers are familiarized with the following topics:

  • Structure and mode of operation of a PLC
  • Programming basics
  • Basic timing and counting functions
  • Programming according to flowcharts
  • Basics of flow control
  • Digital functions
  • Analog processing
  • Word processing

Current vacancies & jobs

PLC programmer: entry

There are usually three options for entering a particular occupation:

Graduate (studies / training)

Your entry as a PLC programmer depends in particular on your previous knowledge. Do you already have a degree, for example in computer science or mechanical engineering? Then you should find out about further training courses to become a PLC programmer in the vicinity of your place of residence. Or are you aiming for training as an IT specialist in order to then specialize as a PLC programmer?

Many roads lead to a career as a PLC programmer. It is only important that you have the necessary enthusiasm for computers and technology and that you are ready to continue your education. Because: There are always innovations in the computer and IT sector that you need to be informed about. If you always stay up to date, do not shy away from challenges and have fun getting involved in new situations again and again, nothing stands in the way of entering the profession of PLC programmer.

Helpful soft skills as a PLC programmer

A career as a PLC programmer not only requires a lot of know-how, but also some soft skills. We'll tell you what these are below.

  • Communication skills
  • Active listening
  • Ability to work in a team, especially in project work
  • leadership qualities
  • creativity

Especially if you want to work in the maintenance area, you should also have a high degree of flexibility, because intensive travel is usually required here. In addition, as a PLC programmer, you need a skill called mentoring. This means that you should be able to explain complex issues in a simple, understandable way. This makes it easier for you to convince potential customers and clients of the need for certain measures.

PLC programmer: industries & areas

PLC programmers are needed in almost all areas of the economy - especially in production and process-oriented companies. You can also work in the following industries:

PLC programmer: The salary

The starting salary of a PLC programmer is around 2,500 to 3,000 euros per month. However, if you have a degree in engineering, you can get an annual salary of 48,000 euros at the start of your career. Experienced PLC programmers achieve up to 65,000 euros a year.

Basically, the more complex and responsible the tasks, the higher your salary. For example, the programming of simple mechanical processes is usually not as well paid for as the development of complex automation systems, for example for a chemical company.

Career prospects& Career opportunities

With further training to become a PLC programmer, you benefit from very good career prospects. Your skills set you apart from your competitors in a positive way, which makes you a sought-after specialist. Proof of your further training as a PLC programmer alone is not decisive, however. Instead, the other requirements (previous training, studies, work experience, etc.) must also be right so that you can find a suitable job as quickly as possible.

Once you have found a suitable position, you will have various opportunities for advancement over the course of your career - especially in large companies. There is almost always the opportunity to become a team leader or leading PLC programmer, which of course can also significantly improve your salary prospects.

Current vacancies & jobs as a PLC programmer

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