Going down the career path to becoming a robotics engineer can lead you to a very satisfying career. You can earn a high salary and enter into a growing career field. But, of course, this type of position requires the right skills and training.
The main duties of a robotics engineer include creating robotics systems. This may include designing actual robots, depending on the company you’re working for. With the many advancements in the science of robotics, this career is expected to grow over the next several years.
Robotics engineers often use computer-aided drafting and other design programs to help design systems. You may work as a robot programmer, robotics automation developer, manufacturing engineer, or robot integrator in this field.
Duties of a Robotics Engineer
There are several duties you may take on if you enter the field of robotics engineering. Some of the most common duties include:
- Designing robotic systems
- Using computer-aided design and drafting systems
- Researching ways to manufacture more efficient robotic systems
- Figuring out the needs of an industry and using robots to fulfill the needs
- Building robots and components of robotic systems
If you decide this is the career path you will follow, you will likely work to create robots and robotic systems. As the technology in this area advances, the duties may evolve.
Necessary Skills for a Robotics Engineer
You will be working with software, electrical, and mechanical engineering as a robotics engineer. Some of the necessary skills you will need to become a robotics engineer include:
- Electrical engineering – Robots include many different electrical components. With training in electrical engineering, you can work with motors, circuits, microprocessors, and other electrical components commonly found in robots.
- Embedded Software Engineering – Robotics engineers will write some software that interfaces with electrical hardware. However, they are not developing software for a computer. Therefore, gaining some skills in embedded software engineering can be rather helpful in this career.
- Robot Simulation – Building a robot is an expensive and time-consuming task. Often, as a robotics engineer, you will create simulations before creating a live robot prototype. This allows a model to be created for a lower cost and then tweaked before creating a prototype.
- Operating Systems – As a robotics engineer, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of operating systems. While robots are not computers, they are often controlled by computers. Therefore, you will need to understand systems, such as ROS or Linux to succeed in this career.
- Manufacturing – It’s helpful to have some skills in manufacturing if you want to enter into robotics engineering. With the right skills with manufacturing software, such as Technomatix or Delmia, you can help create more efficient robotic systems.
Many other skills can be very helpful for those wanting to become robotics engineers. For example, it can be helpful to understand distributed control systems, instrumentation, and reliability management, as well as the skills listed above.
A Career for Builders and Thinkers
Discerning the right career path for you isn’t easy. If you’re a builder and a thinker, becoming a robotics engineer may be a suitable career path.
Those fitting in well for this career often like to work with ideas. They enjoy thinking through problems and solving them with their skills. They also tend to like hands-on work with practical solutions.
If you enjoy working with real-world materials, this might be a good career path for you. Robotics engineers will do plenty of thinking and building on the job.
Investigative people fit well with this type of career, as well. If you’re very intellectually driven with a strong curiosity, you might make a good robotics engineer. It’s also common that a person entering this career is logical, rational, and very analytical.
Becoming a Robotics Engineer: Step-by-Step Guide
Finish High School
You cannot become a robotics engineer without finishing high school. This is the very first step. It can be helpful to take advanced math and science classes in high school.
Take the time to figure out how to get into a great university or college, too. This will help to ensure you get a good degree in college that employers will prefer.
While you’re in high school, you can also attend STEM summer camps. This is a time when you can start looking into what robotics engineers do. You can start to learn about the field and decide if it’s right for you.
Get a Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree in robotics engineering is the next step. After that, you will take courses in robotics, along with some in hydraulics, pneumatics, and numerically controlled systems. It’s also common for your classes to include CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided Design or Computer-Aided Manufacturing) systems and a few other topics.
Not all universities will offer a degree in robotics engineering. It’s also acceptable to get a degree in one of the following:
- Mechanical engineering
- Computer engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Industrial engineering
Employers will likely accept any of these degrees for positions in robotics engineering.
Get a Master’s Degree (Optional)
You won’t need a master’s degree to enter a career as a robotics engineer. However, if you want to enjoy upper-level positions, a master’s degree or doctorate will be required. Without an advanced degree, it will be harder to move up in this career.
If you want to get into a good advanced degree program, a minimum GPA of 3.0 will likely be necessary. However, a higher GPA is often necessary, especially as these programs become more competitive.
Get your License
As a robotics engineer, you will need to become licensed. Getting your license means you have to meet the state’s minimum education requirements and get enough work experience. After you meet these requirements, you’ll need to pass the state-issued exam.
It’s common to renew your license every few years. Therefore, engineers will need to get enough continuing education credits each year.
After getting the right training, you will likely want to choose an area of focus. For example, robotics engineers will likely specialize in connectivity, software, or hardware. With the right specialization, you can gain even more skills to advance your career.
Areas Where Robotics is Most Commonly Used
There are certain areas where robotics is more common than others. If you’re interested in becoming a robotics engineer, you should know which areas you are most likely to find robots in. Some of the common areas include:
- The Military
- Medical Facilities
- Industrial Facilities
- Research Facilities
Many industries use robots, and the field is growing every year. This list is likely to continue to grow as robots enter into more industries.
Since robots can be used to perform many different tasks, they are found throughout many industries. In addition, robots have the ability to work 24/7 and can perform dangerous tasks. As a result, they can make some businesses more efficient and cost-effective.
Frequently Asked Questions About Robotics Engineers
How much does a robotics engineer earn?
The salary of a robotics engineer, according to Indeed.com, will average about $94K per year. In addition, this position often comes with benefits, such as commuter assistance, 401(k) matching, and stock options.
While the average salary may be below $100K, many companies pay much higher. For example, a robotics engineer can earn well over $100K with the right experience. Working for a top company can also lead to a higher salary.
How many hours do robotics engineers work?
A typical robotics engineer will work a regular schedule of more than 40 hours per week. They may work some overtime each week, but some positions will only require 40 total hours each workweek. However, it’s common to work overtime when trying to meet a tight deadline.
What type of company does a robotics engineer work for?
Many robotics engineers work in the automotive industry. They are also common in the electronics industry and food packaging. Some positions are also found in the appliance industry.
What is the work environment like for a robotics engineer?
Most robotics engineers will spend time in an office and the lab. They will work in a lab on smaller mechanical parts for larger robots they are creating. The time in the office is spent planning and researching.
How many years will it take to enter a career as a robotics engineer?
For most entering the robotics engineering career, at least six to eight years of education is necessary. It’s also necessary to gain several years of experience before you can get your license.
Does a career as a robotics engineer offer advancement opportunities?
Yes. You can advance into positions within robotics management. It’s also possible to become a director of automation. Both of these upper-level positions offer a higher salary. You can also start a consulting firm for robotic systems. Some career advancement opportunities include selling robots, too. With advancement, you can make a higher salary and gain even more experience.
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