Spotlight on career profiles

The people who work for the AESO come from numerous disciplines, from all walks of life, and from all corners of the world. Read on to learn more about some of the career paths you can take.

The System Controller Career

A career as a System Controller (SC) is constantly changing. It is a challenging and unique career in the heart of action that impacts all Albertans. System Controllers manage the flow of electricity in real time to ensure all Albertans have power when and where they need it.

What does it take to become a System Controller?

  1. You have a curious mind and enjoy digging in deep to learn how things work
  2. You are an avid learner and enjoy sharing your knowledge
  3. You have demonstrated advanced problem-solving skills that integrate critical thinking and sound judgement in high pressure, real-time scenarios
  4. You have a history of consistent high performance in a highly organized, rapidly moving and complex environment
  5. You are able to give clear direction to others under stressful conditions. We will be leaning on your presence and authority to give timely direction to industry players
  6. You are confident and decisive, and able to remain calm and focused during a critical incident
  7. You adopt new and advanced applications quickly and your technical acumen is envious
  8. You have a keen ability to observe patterns, learn, adapt, and anticipate behaviour
"I was an avionics engineer for 10 years, I worked on aircraft electric systems and travelled quite a bit for work. I was looking for a career change became a System Controller at the AESO. Everyone was helpful from the start, the crews are very committed and there is a strong sense of comradery, there was a lot of training and support - there still is - I'm always learning. You're working on a committed crew, you're never alone, the comradery is strong. It's an interesting job, the electric system is massive throughout the Western Electricity Coordinating Council. The shift work schedule comes with time off that I can spend with my kids, I was able to attend all of their field trips and also golf."
-Allan, Senior System Controller

Our team of System Controllers has diverse backgrounds and education in varied fields such as Electrical Engineering, Avionics Technology, Mathematics, Economics, Energy Trading, Power System Trades and Modern Western European History. We are looking to continue introducing new and different experiences and perspectives as we see strength and value in different ways of thinking.

How do you become a System Controller?

We have a System Controller-in-Training (SCIT) program that includes both formal and on-the-job training. Our team of qualified System Controllers and Real-time Managers provide guidance and expertise to ensure our SCs achieve the technical competencies required to operate the grid. It is typical to spend 2 to 3 years in the SCIT program to get the exposure and experience required to progress to a System Controller.

We require our SCs to achieve and maintain System Operator Certification with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). This certification prepares operators to handle the bulk power system during normal and emergency operations. Certification is maintained by completing NERC‐approved continuing education program courses and activities. These industry-accepted qualifications are set through internationally recognized processes and procedures for agencies that certify persons. After initial certification is obtained, the credential is maintained by meeting the Continuing Education requirements every three years.

What is a day or night in the life of a System Controller like?

System Controllers work 12-hour shifts to provide the real-time dispatch and direction of energy, ancillary services markets and transmission system operations, all while ensuring the electric system is operated safely, reliably, economically and in compliance with operating standards and market rules. SCs collaborate and work with engineers, systems analysts and other departments within the organization, as well as industry participants. When our SCs are on shift, they play a critical role in powering the province, and when they are off, they have plenty of time to spend with family and friends, and enjoy personal pursuits.

Where will a career as a System Controller take me?

Market and grid technology is changing because the way the world is using electricity is changing. The AESO is leading the industry during this transformation. We have System Controllers who have built their careers in this field for over 15 years who continue to experience challenge, growth and gratification on every shift. We also have System Controllers who have taken their careers to other areas of the AESO in technical specialist and leadership roles. Our leaders are the biggest supporters and champions of our people to connect their interests and natural talents with the right roles.

The Analyst Career

An Analyst role at the AESO offers diverse career opportunities. Our organization depends on a large amount of complex technical information that our analysts research, gather, track, study, explore and dissect so we can make the most informed decisions.

Our Analysts have varied disciplines, backgrounds and experiences from different industries, including the public and private sectors.

"I've had tremendous support from my leaders. If you have the initiative and show it, leaders are very motivated to see people develop and grow. If you're interested in public policy and electricity, this is the ultimate place to work. I enjoy working on projects with a public interest lens. As public policy changes, we have to adapt and change quickly and it is very interesting work. I haven't done the same thing twice since joining AESO; there are always new challenges."
-Grant, then Economic Analyst now Senior Economist
"When I was hired as a Critical Infrastructure Protection Analyst, I noticed that there was a more efficient way to complete our work and shared my idea with my leader. My leader loved the initiative I showed and we implemented my idea right away. I felt valued that I was able to make an impact even though I was new to the organization. I've since expressed interest in cybersecurity and have been supported in growing my expertise in this space."
-Richele, then Critical Infrastructure Protection Analyst now Cybersecurity Analyst

The Engineer Career

Upholding the highest professional standards, we deliver value to Alberta from our skill sets, expertise and knowledge to make fact-based decisions. We are innovative and always looking at new ways to perform our duties. We meet expectations of quality and deliver on our commitment to meet the public's expectations of continuously available electricity.

Becoming an AESO engineer means joining a community with over 1,700 years of combined industry experience, and experience in engineering from around the world in all things power systems, electricity market design, generation control and protection, and more.

We are members of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) - dedicated to achieving excellence in professional engineering practice; and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) - committed to fostering technological innovation and excellence.

Our two-year Engineer-in-Training (EIT) New Grad Program provides experience in different engineering disciplines in the electricity industry through four 6-month rotational assignments. The application process for this program is typically in January each year.

"At the AESO, you get to see the big picture. I've enjoyed witnessing the transformation of Alberta's electricity system and it is very exciting to be part of the change."
-Sarah, Senior Engineer