The Engineer Development Program is structured to combine real, daily engineering work with a curriculum that gives engineers the skills necessary to be successful in their careers. In order to graduate from the program, an EDP Engineer must demonstrate proficiency with a core set of skills (known as Competencies), complete the department Modules (extended visits to each of the engineering groups), and finish a long-term technical project. While proceeding through these requirements, the EDP Engineer is based in the Network Modeling group and performs day-to-day work as a part-time member of this team. Upon graduation, the EDP Engineer is promoted to Engineer level 2 and placed as a full-time member of one of the engineering teams.
The chart below shows the typical division of time for an EDP Engineer. Continue reading to learn more about each of these activities
Foundational Work in Network Modeling
Each EDP Engineer spends approximately half of his or her time working as an engineer in the Network Modeling group, which is responsible for building and maintaining all of the computer models of the ERCOT system. This role allows the EDP Engineer to gain experience with modeling generation and transmission equipment, building the ERCOT network model, and with the various stakeholders (both within and outside ERCOT) in the modeling process. Through the work done in Network Modeling, an EDP Engineer will also complete many of the skills, formally known as Competencies, which must be mastered prior to graduation from the program.
The Department Modules are extended visits to each of the engineering groups at ERCOT. Each Module is designed by subject matter experts to give the EDP Engineer an understanding of the work the group does and how it contributes to ERCOT as a whole. A Module lasts approximately 1-3 weeks, depending on the size of the group. The EDP Engineer will perform some of that group’s day-to-day tasks, and may be assigned additional work to solidify understanding of the group’s role. See the chart below for an overview the topics covered in the EDP Department Modules.
During the course of the program, each EDP Engineer must complete a minimum of one long-term technical project. These projects are proposed by the managers of the engineering departments, and the EDP Engineer is free to choose the one that best fits his or her interests. Technical projects are intended to be "passion projects" that offer real, lasting benefit to ERCOT but which the group’s regular staff cannot complete due to time restraints or a skill set mismatch.
EDP Engineers attend a variety of training courses. These include the annual ERCOT Blackstart Training and Operator Training Seminars, training on ERCOT-related software applications, and more informal Lunch and Learn short courses. In addition, each Engineer receives support for preparing and passing the FE and NERC exams, which are required for graduation from the program. While not all of the training topics may be immediately applicable, these courses are selected to foster professional growth and best prepare EDP Engineers for their future careers.