It’s a fair question.
Could you learn enough PLC programming from YouTube to get a job? I’m going to answer that today! Now, if you think about, learning from YouTube these days is second nature. I hear “look on YouTube” at least a few times every week.
So learning PLC programming shouldn’t be any different.
I mean I’ve heard that there’s this 11 year old boy who taught himself to play the piano.
Then there is an Ethiopian guy who taught himself how to build an airplane and how to fly it, all from YouTube.
People are teaching themselves to build websites, to play musical instruments, how to do better photography and even Plastic Surgeons are learning how to perform procedures, all from YouTube.
So, why then wouldn’t you be able to learn PLC programming from their as well?
As it just so happens, you can learn fundamental automation programming from YouTube.
You can learn;
- Software Navigation – the most essential element to programming is learning how to navigate around the software. Without this ability, you won’t be able to write any code, let alone get it to automate.
- Instructions – the second most essential element to programming is knowing which instruction to use when and where. While YouTube doesn’t teach you every single instruction on every software platform, you can learn some pretty solid basics.
- Algorithms – you can learn many basic ways to program inputs, outputs, how to program PID Loops, analog for pressure, levels, and temperature and even how to program some servos. You can learn at least one person’s method of creating an algorithm – which is a word used to describe a way of combining instructions to get a specific output or outcome.
- Basic Networking – you can learn how to set IP addresses, ping networks understand network topology and you can learn much more. Learning IT online is these days pretty common and probably one of the easiest parts of automation education there is because of this fact.
- HMI Design – nowadays there is a growing list of videos teaching several ‘human machine interface’ design platforms. And there are several platforms you can choose to learn from, like C-More, FactoryTalk, Inductive Automation, Red Lions Crimson and many more.
- Basic Electricity – you can even expect to learn the basics of the mysterious electrons and amperages, voltage and even the difference between neutral and ground. But, to be honest nothing takes the place of stripping wire, running it through the wire way and tightening the terminal screw. But you can at least learn the theory of electricity.
But, what aren’t you able to learn from YouTube?
I mean, there has to be stuff you can’t easily learn online.
Well, I won’t say that you can’t learn almost everything you need to land your first PLC programming job from YouTube. But, I will say that no one has done it yet.
While you can learn enough to land a modestly paid entry level position on your own from YouTube. You can expect to learn nothing more than enough to be hired to assist senior engineers with mundane tasks like compiling manuals.
Flashing processors, calibrating sensors and maybe even some debug of some basic code.
But, even some of those tasks aren’t adequately taught online.
So, in my opinion. No you cannot learn enough from YouTube alone to get a high 5 to 6 figure job.
And that’s not a bad thing, instead it’s important that you have the correct perspective when studying online and not building up unrealistic expectations.
In order to get the most value from YouTube, consider the platform an invaluable resource to introduce yourself to the concepts, and or basic principles of any technology.
You can learn some basic info from the platform and you can even begin to play around with it.
And then ‘IF’ you find it interesting or useful, go out and find a professional resource or a mentor that can take you deep into the material and teach you, coach you and hold you accountable to being able to perform at a professional level.
You can start by signing up for our newsletter and joining our community here at Logix Magazine.
With this article we’re hoping we’ve answered some questions, sparked your curiosity and shared some useful information. But, we know you may need more, so we invite you to contact us for some follow up questions or to discuss your unique needs.
Just go to our contact page and reach out to us and we’ll get back to you asap!
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