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Energy

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Career Opportunities in Energy

The energy industry encompasses a variety of products and services including electricity, natural gas, oil, and renewable energy technology. Professional involvement in the energy industry encompasses researching and analyzing policy, understanding policy trends and directions and examining regional and market trends. Those who work in this field are often working on developing and operating energy infrastructure projects, marketing energy efficiency improvements and providing community outreach related to projects or plants. Given the focus on corporate responsibility, employees in this industry are often monitoring environmental and regulatory compliance, integrating energy management services and assessing global impact, and advocating new approaches toward management, development and technology. The field includes dealing with issues such as natural gas storage, production and transportation assets, marketing and trading physical and financial energy products including natural gas, power, crude oil and associated commodities and acquiring or developing power plants for the competitive market.

Career Paths

Some career paths in the energy field may target an engineering or business background, but many opportunities exist that target a wider scope of marketable skills, experience, and training. Career paths in policy making, policy analysis, and policy research often do not require the technical background, but knowledge of the energy field and an understanding of finance, development, and the environment can increase competitiveness depending on the interest area. Knowledge of particular regions and languages can also be marketable skills in the energy field. Gaining internship experience that is relevant to the area of interest provides exposure to technical aspects while further developing analytical and communication skills. It also provides an essential foot in the door that can help with employment prospects and advancement within energy companies.

Many private sector employers, especially large oil or gas companies, tend to invest in the development of career employees and promote from within. Depending on the size, nonprofits may operate similarly with opportunities for further career training. Willingness to travel can be an advantage, with gaining specific experience in project or program management important for long-term career advancement.

A person entering the public or nonprofit sectors as a research or policy assistant might expect to move to analyst or technical consultant and into project or program management. The career path within a federal government agency such as Department of Energy will be similar to other policy positions in government. Opportunities exist for recent graduates and other entry-level positions in areas such as economic and policy analysis.

In the non-profit world, positions focus on general research of energy trends, international energy policy formation, training, and arranging international collaboration between utilities or other energy entities. Because of their relatively small size, all professionals are expected to participate in a wider range of activities than is true in large for-profit companies, though this will include the occasional administrative task. Except for larger non-profits, advancement often comes from moving to another organization. Experience in one sector can lead to a career path in one of the others.

Qualifications Necessary

Successful professionals will need to possess excellent writing and communication skills, particularly the ability to be persuasive, display client management skills, draft business plans and market ideas. Because of the differing tasks involved, it is necessary to be flexible and train in multiple areas. Those employed in this field will need to be able to gather and synthesize information, including quantitative data. In addition, employers are seeking candidates with an understanding of the policy process, and in-depth knowledge of regional or specialized issues. For those working with international clients, language skills may be required.

Potential Employers

Government:

For-profit firms:

Non-Profit Organizations:

Energy Associations

 Indiana Solar and Wind Energy Companies

Online Resources & Networking