CHOOSING A CAREER / FEB. 16, 2015
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How to Become a Robotics Engineer in the US

Robots are sure destined to take away a good number of jobs from humans, but their deployment in various industries, particularly manufacturing, has improved production efficiency. Robotics engineers are the professionals who design, install and maintain robots and robotic systems. If you are a math and science enthusiast with an aptitude for technology, this could be the perfect career for you.

What Do Robotics Engineers Do?

Their duties include:

  • Discussing with clients to identify the functions that need to be robotized
  • Designing, building and configuring robots – they fist build and test prototypes before producing them on a larger scale
  • Developing software or computer applications that control robotic systems
  • Providing the cost estimates for robot development projects
  • Analyzing existing robots and robotic systems and improving their functionality
  • Proving technical support services to clients
  • Conducting research to gather more information on the performance of robotic mechanisms and components
  • Supervising robotic technicians.

Work Environment

Robotics engineers usually work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. The design and development of robots is often a long-term project, so it is uncommon to find these engineers working late to beat deadlines.

The work of robotic engineers can be physically demanding, since it involves lifting heavy robot components.

Salary

Robotics engineers earn as follows:

Job

Annual Wage

Lowest earning robotics engineers

$49,000 -$62,000

Middle earning robotics engineers

$62,000 - $89,000

Highest earning robotics engineers

$89,000 - $100,00

Source: PayScale

Entry Requirements

To become a robotics engineer, you must pursue at least a Bachelor of Science degree in robotics engineering. The degree, which is offered in a handful of universities, should enhance your knowledge of topics such as:

  • Circuits and electronics
  • System modeling and control
  • Kinematics
  • Engineering cost analysis

Some of the institutions offering the credential include:

After graduating, complete the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam and become an engineer intern. This designation not only boosts your job prospects, but also demonstrates you are on the right path to becoming a professional engineer.

Important Qualities

To be a competent robotics engineer, you need:

  • Superb creative problem-solving skills
  • Strong practical and technical skills
  • A deep interest in technology
  • Strong design skills
  • Strong math skills
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Good planning skills
  • Good skills in cost estimation
  • A great attention to details
  • Good report-writing skills
  • Good teamwork and communication skills
  • Good research skills.

Career Development

Beginning robotics engineers typically start by working under veteran engineers. They are assigned simpler tasks, which increase in complexity as they gain more experience.

As you learn the tricks of the job, you should also focus on:

  • Obtaining the Professional Engineer license from your state’s engineering board (you need at least four years of experience)
  • Joining the IEE Robotics and Automation Society to access a host of professional development resources, from conferences and workshops to industry publications
  • Pursuing a master’s degree in robotics engineering to broaden your knowledge.

Job Opportunities

The top employers of robotics engineers include:

  • Engineering firms
  • Mining plants
  • Manufacturers of agricultural equipment
  • Nuclear power plants
  • Military
  • Automation companies

With experience and advanced qualifications, you can advance to become an engineering project manager. You could also establish your own robotics and automation company.

Quoting the US Department of Labor’s O*Net Online, Worcester Polytechnic Institute notes there will be about 50,000 new jobs for robotics engineers between 2008 and 2018. There is every indication that this field will continue growing as many industries adopt automated systems.

So, if you are a problem-solver who eats and drinks technology, you could become a successful robotics engineer.

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