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Offline Rotorhead250

Shift Test Engineer (STE)
« on: Jan 21, 2013, 07:40 »
Hello,

Does anybody here know anything about the civilian position working for the Navy of Shift Test Engineer. I have accepted the position and will be starting mid next year at Puget Sound Naval Station. I'm a mechanical engineering senior at Oregon State University and prior to this never pictured myself working in the nuclear industry. If you're curious google shift test engineer and the first link that comes up has a pretty good description of it.

Thanks for your time,

Justin Hersh

Offline Gamecock

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Re: Shift Test Engineer (STE)
« Reply #1 on: Jan 21, 2013, 08:02 »
Hello,

Does anybody here know anything about the civilian position working for the Navy of Shift Test Engineer.

Yes.

Question asked....question answered.
« Last Edit: Jan 21, 2013, 08:02 by Gamecock »
“If the thought police come... we will meet them at the door, respectfully, unflinchingly, willing to die... holding a copy of the sacred Scriptures in one hand and the US Constitution in the other."

Offline Rotorhead250

Re: Shift Test Engineer (STE)
« Reply #2 on: Jan 21, 2013, 11:45 »
Well that's a good start. Let me bombard you with questions now :-).

I have done a fair amount of reading on this forum in last few days trying to understand a little about the Nuclear industry. I'm curious where the STE falls. Does a STE have a counterpart in the private sector or is it only a Navy thing? I ask because if I like working in the Nuclear Industry but hate working for the Navy as a civilian, where would I fit in at a Nuclear Reactor plant? You say you are familiar with the position, what is your take on the job? It's really hard to find information about it and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE some honest unvarnished truth from someone.

Offline Hawkbill

Re: Shift Test Engineer (STE)
« Reply #3 on: Jan 22, 2013, 01:16 »
I was an STE at Electric Boat, which is a privately owned company. There is no difference between an STE at a public or private shipyard (I've worked with STEs at public shipyards, including PSNS). It is good experience to have, but expect lots of overtime and shiftwork because testing is one phase of shipbuilding/repair/overhaul where time can be made up in the schedule that was lost earlier due to some sort of delay. It's not a desk job; you'd be working in a torn up ship with hoses running everywhere with all sorts of banging and grinding going on and other things that make up a shipyard environment.

At my plant there are system engineers (some of whom were STEs in a past life) who are qualified as test engineers. Test engineers at the plant run tests much less frequently than STEs (i.e. it wouldn't be your only job).

P.S. You would be working WITH the Navy, not FOR the Navy. You would most likely be getting paid for your overtime and receive shift differential pay when you work swingshift or nightshift. The sailors on these ships, who work FOR the Navy, receive none of that.   

Offline Rotorhead250

Re: Shift Test Engineer (STE)
« Reply #4 on: Jan 22, 2013, 07:55 »
So, if I take this job as the STE but get tired of the shipyard environment, I could transition to being a test engineer or a systems engineer at a reactor plant? Would there be any other carrier options for me?

How did you like the STE position? How long did you do it for? I have serious reservations about the amount of overtime that will e forced upon me. I have a wife and two young kids, does the STE position fit in with that, or am I going to burnout quickly?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me!!

Offline Hawkbill

Re: Shift Test Engineer (STE)
« Reply #5 on: Jan 22, 2013, 08:57 »
If you get qualified and gain experience, then you should be pretty desirable to a hiring manager in system engineering at a power plant. We have several former STEs at my site.

I was an STE for 3 years. Once you go through one overhaul/repair period on a ship, the newness tends to wear off once the next ship comes and you repeat the whole process. At EB, STEs got an annual bonus for being qualified. Along with paid OT and shift differential, it was a good way to make extra money. I'm glad I did it and got the experience. If you can handle that job, then you can probably handle most other jobs that come around.

Working nights and weekends does make it hard on guys with families at home, although you'd probably be doing that for 3-4 week stretches at a time at 3-6 month intervals (to the best of my recollection). That schedule will certainly vary by shipyard and the type of work being done on the ship that you're assigned to. At other times, working on weekends was generally voluntary and it was usually only on Saturdays.

Offline STGN

Re: Shift Test Engineer (STE)
« Reply #6 on: Feb 08, 2013, 12:03 »
An engineering degree is not required to become a STE.  It may help you, but most of the STE's where I worked were former Navy petty officers.  They had the advantage of actually being able to operate the plant.  The STE is basically the shipyard representative for work that is being done.  You'll approve red tags (along with the EOOW) to ensure that systems are ready to safely be worked on and tested.  This will require a good knowledge of the plant systems and how they operate, along with the test equipment and temporary systems that may be set up to support the ship, such as power, air, and water (the boat may be in drydock for example).  Where I worked, one started out as a Mechanical or Electrical Test Engineer, MTE or ETE.  After gaining some experience, one was selected to go to STE school which took about a year and requires passing an exam.  In the class you'll learn nuclear theory, systems, etc. 

Work wise, it was feast or famine.  The rush always seemed to be at the beginning of an overhaul when temporary systems were being hooked up, and then at the end when trying to get the job done.  I was in STE school when I left the shipyard for a nuclear power plant.  I'm now an SRO which is somewhat similar.  We also had an NRC resident inspector who was a former STE.  So, there is room to move around, particularly since the skill set is somewhat transferable. 

Offline Rotorhead250

Re: Shift Test Engineer (STE)
« Reply #7 on: Feb 23, 2013, 05:20 »
Thanks for the information. I'm still not sure if the STE position is really what I want long term, but since I accepted the job and have presumably made it through the long and painful security clearance process, I'm going to stick with it. Just out of curiosity what is a red tag and EOOW? I'm not familiar with those acronyms.

Separate question: anybody reading this have any experience with what working at Puget Sound Navel Shipyard is like?

HeavyD

  • Guest
Re: Shift Test Engineer (STE)
« Reply #8 on: Feb 25, 2013, 07:18 »
red tag = Danger Tag.  Used to designate valves or other components that are prohibited from being operated due to some level of danger that is present, usually due to containing a high energy (>200 F, >500#) system fluid.

EOOW = Engineering Officer of the Watch.  The commissioned naval officer that is in charge of the propulsion plant during their designated watch (shift).

Navel = your belly button.

Naval = related to the Navy


Offline Rotorhead250

Re: Shift Test Engineer (STE)
« Reply #9 on: Feb 25, 2013, 08:44 »
 ;D Thanks for that...I almost spit coffee all over my keyboard!! I stand corrected. Anybody else feel like chiming in here? I'm loving all the tidbits of information and would love to hear from more former or current STE's. 

Thanks,

Justin
« Last Edit: Feb 26, 2013, 12:30 by Rotorhead250 »

Offline HydroDave63

Re: Shift Test Engineer (STE)
« Reply #10 on: Feb 26, 2013, 09:34 »
Separate question: anybody reading this have any experience with what working at Puget Sound Navel Shipyard is like?

Sideways rain. Bremelos. The scent of decaying organic matter along the water's edge during a long walk (in the drizzling rain) from the office to the boat.   Lots of slipping schedules and Gantt charts. Compression strains to the neck after your hardhat hits another @#$%^&* vent trunk/hydraulic hose/cable bundle in the doorway opening. The scent of decaying organic matter coming from Shop 11/17/26/38/56/99 personnel, wet from drizzling rain, mixed with faint hints of cheap cigarettes/hidden dope/welding fumes. More Bremelos. More rain.

Try to work swingshift. Too many meetings on days. Zombies hiding out and resting their eyes during graveshift.

Offline x633ro

Re: Shift Test Engineer (STE)
« Reply #11 on: Feb 26, 2013, 03:17 »
Gotta agree with HydroDave as far as Bremerton goes, work with 3 individuals that were STE's, couldn't stand the hours etc and are now civilian nukes. None of them complained about the pay, just the hours and putting up with the union workers/schedule. Good luck this is second hand but all three are much happier here.
Mike

Offline Rotorhead250

Re: Shift Test Engineer (STE)
« Reply #12 on: Mar 01, 2013, 12:54 »
Wow, that pretty much sums up my experience when I visited for the job interview. I can't believe Bremelos is a thing. I had to look it up and it came up in Wiktionary of all things LOL. I hope the atmosphere is better during the summer, it was raining like a mother fuc*er when I was up there. The more I read about the shipyard on here, the less I'm sure it's the place for me. With the clusterfuc* that is the government right now, I am pursing other employment options. I'll let you know what happens (if anybody cares).

 


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