How To Become a Robotics Engineer
There’s something about the idea of robots that really sparks the imagination. They’re cutting-edge, versatile, autonomous, capable of performing incredible feats of precision and power, and overall just possibly the coolest technological development of the modern age.
So it’s no surprise that there are a lot of people out there right now looking to work alongside them. The robotics field is one that’s brimming with opportunity and excitement. Most large manufacturing plants have already incorporated both industrial and collaborative robots into their processes, and the field is only continuing to grow.
Even better, there are opportunities for various points of entry into working with robotics. The general idea of a “robotics engineer” isn’t actually so simple as that. There are robotics technicians, robotics specialists, and robotics integrators, each level having its own educational and skill requirements.
Let’s take a look at what each of those positions entails and how to get started on your path to becoming a robotics engineer.
What Do Robotics Engineers Do on a Daily Basis?
The first step to understanding what you’ll need to learn to work in the field of robotics is understanding what robotics workers actually do.
The base level of robotics jobs is the robotics technician. Becoming a technician generally requires less formal education than the other two, but it still calls for mechanical aptitude and hands-on experience.
Robotics technicians are essentially on the manufacturing floor alongside the robots making sure they’re operating normally and aiding in their processes. Technicians need to be able operate the robots via their user interfaces and troubleshoot when something goes wrong. They need to be able to carry out basic maintenance and understand how each robot functions.
Robotics specialists are the people who plan how each robot is going to fit within a manufacturer’s process. They need to be able to see the bigger picture and decide where and how a manufacturing workflow can be improved with the inclusion of an industrial or collaborative robot.
Essentially, the robotics specialist is the subject matter expert on the robotic systems that are on the manufacturing floor. They have to have a complete understanding of how the system presently operates so that they can make decisions about how to alter and improve it.
Robotics specialists require more training and education than technicians, and are a logical next step from the technician in a robotics-focused career path.
Robotics Integrators are engineers who are experts on automation and robotics. They design entire robotics systems based on their understanding of how robots function and how they can theoretically improve manufacturing processes.
Traditionally, integrators are contractors that a manufacturing company will bring in to help design and implement new systems of robots. However, more and more companies are hiring their own integrators to be permanent staff.
Integrators require the highest level of education and experience, and are highly sought after in manufacturing companies all around the world.
Is Robotics Mechanical or Electrical Engineering?
The answer is yes. Robotics involves aspects of both mechanical and electrical engineering, with the addition of automation and software engineering depending on your specific role.
However, the most important thing for getting started in working with robots is having a basic understanding of mechanics. That doesn’t mean you have to be a mechanical engineer, though. If you’ve ever worked on car engines or assembled your own electronics, that’s a good start.
All that being said, both electrical and mechanical engineers can pretty easily enter careers in robotics.
How to Get Started in Robotics
If you’re interested in beginning a career in robotics, there are a lot of paths open to you. If you’re looking to get in at the ground floor as a technician, both experience and knowledge will help you greatly along the way.
The problem is that there are so many paths to obtaining the skills you need that it can all be a bit overwhelming at first. That’s where we come in.
We created RoboticsCareer.org to help connect people like you with the education, apprenticeships, and training programs that will get you on the right path. The search tool on the home page can sort through thousands of programs and institutions from all around the country to find the best options for your location and specific needs.
So what are you waiting for? Navigate to our search tool and start your career path today!