Encompassing or overlapping with electronics engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering, artificial intelligence, mechatronics, nanotechnology, and bioengineering, robotics is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.
It is used to streamline and optimize industrial processes across a vast range of industries. Textiles, electronics, aerospace, and automotive sectors to name a few. Today’s robotics are used to help companies reduce costs, increase uptime, and speed up operations without sacrificing quality.
How Robotics Are Revolutionizing the Industrial World
Robotic systems can boost efficiency for every step of a process, from raw material handling to final product packaging, and is useful 24/7, which means facilities no longer need to rely on human labor to keep production moving or continually monitor conditions and quality.
Even very complex tasks can be completed by today’s sophisticated robotics systems, and their great flexibility allows for smooth implementation in almost any application.
There’s been some concern within the industry over robotics potentially replacing human labor and eliminating the need for specific jobs. However, robots have been a boon to many areas of trade!
They free up workers from tedious and dangerous tasks and allowing them to focus on different areas, such as programming and equipment maintenance. Robotics is also closing the skilled labor shortage in the United States, helping to keep production moving.
The benefits of robotics are diverse, and industrial and manufacturing companies across the world are taking notice, implementing advanced robotic systems into their operations while taking advantage of the many new data-collection and interconnectivity capabilities offered by Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT).
More than 2.6 million robots will be implementable into industrial operations by 2019, and demand for workers is high.
It’s for a good reason, then, that many in the industrial sphere are hoping to begin a career in this exciting field. Whether you’re interested in working in application engineering, quality control, training, software development, programming, manufacturing assembly, or support, there is a range of different paths to choose.
But getting started may seem daunting, and many potential applicants may be unsure where to begin or how to go about learning the skills needed even to get a foot in the door.
Below are a few essential tips to keep in mind as you embark on your career in robotics.
1. Do Your Homework
Most robotics careers require some solid background knowledge and expertise before you can fill the position.
If you’re not yet familiar with the basics of electronics, now is the time to start learning. You don’t need to be an expert, but having some command of the main pillars of the field is crucial, and will make it much easier to stand out from the less knowledgeable competition.
Research key points online, check out a few books and try to network as much as possible. Gaining insight from those in the field will be invaluable as you begin your career in this quickly evolving field.
If you already know the career path you’re hoping to take, hone in on that area and find out what exactly you will be doing. Then, determine how you can best prepare. Familiarize yourself with the various options and learn what type of education and experience you require for each.
2. Research Educational Requirements
After doing some background research and determining the areas that interest you the most, zero in on educational requirements. Most robotics careers differ based on the level of education required. Technicians, for example, usually have a two-year associate degree.
Engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree at the minimum. In some cases, people can learn on the job and through hands-on experience at apprenticeships.
Try to talk to people who have completed such programs, and ask about their experiences. Reach out to schools to inquire about the details of their course offerings. And make good use of the countless resources available online, such as NASA’s Career Corner, where robotics specialists at NASA talk about how they got started in the field.
Also take the time to research apprenticeship, internship, and co-op opportunities. Many of these programs offer hands-on experience as well as dedicated time in the classroom.
Decide what type of job will make the best use of your skills, interests, and experience. And, of course, keep in mind that, generally, the higher the education required, the higher the salary level.
3. Explore Areas of Specialization
If you already know you want to specialize in, for example, aerospace robotics, you’re in a good position as you’ve already narrowed down some of your options. If you’re still exploring possibilities, make sure to consider the many fields are making use of robotics today.
Aerospace, electronics, rubber and plastics, welding, fabrication, automotive, military, material handling, medical, agriculture, food preparation, and many other sectors are making increasing use of robotics. Demand is extraordinarily high in the automotive field.
See which areas match up with your interests and skills. Make sure to reach out to people currently in the field. Having a mentor or someone to turn to with questions is hugely helpful when navigating today’s ever-evolving industrial landscape.
If you have some interest in pursuing robotics catered toward a specific industry, having a specific background will help you immensely as you move forward.
Staying Motivated, Looking Ahead
While the steps involved in a career in robotics may be overwhelming at first, don’t forget why you chose this. Keep your ultimate goals in mind, and create small milestones to check off as you go.
Even creating a list with small to-dos, like researching educational opportunities in your area or networking with people on LinkedIn, will help keep you on track toward your overarching objectives.
Don’t dwell on setbacks; the field of robotics is growing every day, and there is a range of exciting career opportunities to explore. Getting in now, while the industry is still relatively young, will be hugely beneficial. You’ll be getting in on the ground floor. Seeing the advancements and changes as they happen and learning from both the old guard and the new.