› About WelderDestiny

About WelderDestiny

WelderDestiny is a resource created by Niklaas (Niekie) Jooste, a welding engineer with more than 25 years industry experience. Let me, Niekie, introduce myself. (Seeing as I am an engineer, this will be done in bullet point format!)

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Technical Experience

My technical experience was gained in the following industries:

  • Conventional petroleum refinery industry.
  • Coal to petroleum refinery industry. (Gasification and Gas To Liquids (GTL) plants.)
  • Chemical process industry.
  • Plastics process industry.
  • Steel production industry.
  • Power generation industry.
  • Water treatment and utility industry.
  • Off-shore gas industry.
  • On-shore gas processing and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry.
  • Mining industry.
  • On-shore pipeline industry.
  • Subsea pipeline industry.
  • On-shore and off-shore structures.
Steel Bridge: Did not work on this myself, but it is a beautiful picture!

Work Contexts

My experience included engineering and welding management in the following contexts:

  • Working for end-user (Client) organizations.
  • Working for pressure vessel and piping fabrication workshops.
  • Working for third party inspection organizations.
  • Working in welding consultancies.
  • Worked for a research organization.
  • Developing, implementing and auditing welding quality systems.
  • Developing computerized welding quality management and data logging systems.
  • Having established a number of businesses, including my own welding consultancy.
  • Performing expert witness work on legal cases.
  • Working in a developing economy. (South Africa)
  • Working in a developed economy. (Australia)

Besides the metallic welding industry, I have also been involved with plastics welding and plastic process plant equipment fabrication and design, as well as Risk Based Inspection (RBI) of metallic and plastic process plant equipment.

Qualifications and Training

My qualifications and training include:

  • Materials engineering degree.
  • Welding engineering diploma and associated registration as International Welding Engineer (IWE) through the International Institute of Welding. (IIW)
  • Diploma in datametrics. (Statistics)
  • Certificate in ISO 9000 quality system implementation.
  • Certificate in behavior based safety system implementation.
  • Computer programming of database systems, applications and websites.
Gas Production Platform: During the hook-up and commissioning (HUC) phase.

Why WelderDestiny

WelderDestiny has been born from my belief that automation is going to radically alter our personal and professional lives. Exactly what shape this "rise of the machines" will take is not clear, but there are tantalizing clues pointing us into certain directions. To survive and even thrive through these changes, we will need to make sure that we position ourselves appropriately. If we are serious about giving ourselves the best probability of success, this cannot be a simple one-off forecast or list of instructions. This will need to be a journey and an analysis as events unfold.

WelderDestiny is the platform for the journey. While much of what we discuss could be applicable to wider society, we will try to focus our attention at how the changes will affect us in the welding industry, and how it will affect the Welder in particular.

How My Interests and Beliefs Led to WelderDestiny

I am an avid reader, and have spent a lot of time reading futuristic fiction (Yes, I am a science fiction fan.) and non-fiction works, along with a lot of commentary on the fields of economics, financial investment, health, psychology, politics and emerging technologies. I have taken an active interest in studying these fields, rather than just relying on the mainstream media to inform me, because it became clear to me that there are too many contradictions and “course changes” by those that are supposed to be “in the know”.

It became clear to me to that I will have to discover the necessary pieces to the puzzle of how society works, and where we are headed. This puzzle will surely never be completed, but it is a puzzle that promises such a rich picture that it is impossible to stop yourself from assembling it. If you have assembled puzzles before, you know the uneasy feeling you get when the puzzle picture just does not look quite right, or there are missing pieces you just can’t seem to find. You will also know the feeling of accomplishment when you manage to move an incorrectly placed puzzle piece to its correct position, or you find a critical puzzle piece that was evading you. This is what drives me to try and find the missing puzzle pieces and to assemble a picture of our future that looks and feels right. When this is applied to the welding industry, and the Welder in particular, then the birth of WelderDestiny was inevitable.

The important point in reading a very broad range of commentary from widely varying sources and perspectives is that it allows one to crystalize these varying perspectives from seemingly unrelated fields into a more cohesive world view. Often, what appear to be totally differing and competing world views are just two sides of the same coin. It looks different only because of the commentators’ perspective, rather than there being an actual difference on a fundamental basis. Often the differences have more to do with biases and conflicts of interest than facts. Often the differences have to do with people believing that they know the unknown or the unknowable.

I have come to believe that we all know a lot less than we think we do about some subjects, while knowing a lot more than we give ourselves credit for, about other subjects. This is what leads to a great many unintended consequences when “fiddling” with complex systems, while at the same time disregarding our own common sense about life. This leads to all those “what were they thinking?” examples we are so keen on reciting in hindsight. After all, hindsight is an exact science!

I have come to believe that technology is not a driver of change. Rather, technology is an enabler of change. Humans are the drivers of change, because we are by nature inquisitive and always searching for our boundaries. When we find those boundaries, then we try to overcome them, or push those boundaries further out. This is all done because we are inherently driven by instincts associated with survival, acceptance, self-interest and power. (Amongst other things) In other words, human psychology is every bit as important in predicting the future as technology is. In short, what can be done from a technological perspective, will eventually be done. This I say without reference to ethics. Even the unethical will be done. (This is apparent by watching the evening news.) For myself, I try to steer clear of what I consider unethical, but unfortunately that will not stop others from doing those very things. In fact, what one person considers unethical will look like a very appealing prospect to another. This too we need to understand in our search for all the puzzle pieces.

I believe that society can be likened to a speeding technologically enabled train. We look at it in horror, because we think that surely this train is about to derail, but we also understand that was how we felt a year back when the train was traveling much slower, and it has not derailed between then and now. Are we on the limit, with a crash being unavoidable around the next corner, or is this train a lot more stable than we think? In this context, we all need to make one of the following choices:

  • Get off the train: Then we can get out of the way to a place of safety.
  • Remain a passenger on the train: Then we can enjoy the exciting ride while hoping the journey does not end in disaster. The destination and journey could however take us to unknown places with unknown outcomes.
  • Help to control the train: Then we can start to get some control of our situation and understand where we are heading.
  • Help to engineer a safer and more stable train: Then we will not only gain control for ourselves, but contribute to the safety and comfort of all the passengers on the train.

If your decision from a professional and societal perspective is one (or both) of the last two of the options above, then I believe that you will get great benefit from joining us on the journey on which we are embarking here at WelderDestiny. I urge you to subscribe to our newsletter to see for yourself if it is for you.

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You can take a look at "The WelderDestiny Compass" back-issues by clicking here.