Interview with Liam Bee

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Liam Bee is the author of PLC and HMI Development with Siemens TIA Portal. We got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: What are your specialist tech area(s)?

Liam: PLC & Automation

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?

Liam: I was approached by Packt via LinkedIn. I decided I would write the book because it felt like a good opportunity to express my knowledge in an area that people are trying to learn in. I taught myself most of my PLC knowledge and programming design patterns. I thought I would write the book to help others learn more quickly.

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Liam: Time. Writing a book took so many more hours than I thought it would. I took my laptop to my kids after school activities, I took it on holiday… I wrote some part of the book nearly every day. It consumes so much time! Kudos to those that regularly write long technical books!

Q. What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?

Liam: TIA Portal will not be disappearing any time soon, it is a dominant player in the Automation world. I can only see Siemens becoming more and more relevant and TIA Portal becoming preferred more often

Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?

Liam: There are many PLC books on the market, but very few (at time of release) that focused on TIA Portal V17, the latest edition of the Siemens software. Not only that, most technical PLC books teach things that can largely be found in the help system of PLC software suites. This book teaches a design pattern that hinges around structures and standardisation of code. Whilst help files, best practice documents and other manufacturer related documentation may suggest this type of design pattern, this book shows you how to build it from scratch

Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?

Liam: Build with data structure in mind. It might make the initial development more time consuming, but the end result is a large library of reusable and version controlled blocks that are pre-tested in isolation.
You cannot go wrong with this approach in the long term

Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?

Liam: Give yourself time to understand what you are reading! Not everything will immediately jump out at you. Give yourself time to find use-case scenarios in real-world settings and then have a go at applying new found knowledge. If it doesn’t work as planned, revisit the content and try again!

Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?

Liam: Following me on Linkedin is the best place to follow what I’m up to and handy tips etc!
LinkedIn.com/in/LiamBee

Q. Can you share any blogs, websites, and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?

Liam: All of this is in the book, but the best place to go for TIA Portal help, is the TIA Portal help system and the Siemens forums. There, you will find a whole stack of helpful information

Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Liam: Yes, it was a really good experience. I found the timeline a little aggressive, but that may be down to inexperience as an author. Everything has been easy and the team was great to work with

Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?

Liam: I do my own research and follow influential people on LinkedIn

Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?

Liam: It was a “Chip away at it” approach, if honest!
Packt helped me finalise the chapters and outline of content and then I just chipped away at it until the chapter was complete. Once that was done, I’d review it, amend it and then send it in

Q. What is the one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?

Liam: Just write.
You can go back and change things, delete things, move things. But if you just write and keep that train of thoughts running, you have all the material you need to edit it into a chapter

You can find Liam’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here.

PLC and HMI Development with Siemens TIA Portal on Amazon.com

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