The field of robotic engineering is literally showing up in every major area of global economic activity, from manufacturing and design to surgical medicine and law enforcement. If you were one of the millions of children who grew up in the 80s and 90’s and dreamed of robotic engineers, then a career in the ever-expanding and endlessly intriguing field of robotics engineering might be for you. What skills, education, and training do you need to enter the job market? An even more pertinent question is if you know what a modern-day robotics engineer (RE) is and what the job entails? Here’s a look at the key points you should be clear about before making the dive into a career in this fascinating area.
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What RE’s Do
Robotics engineers apply concepts from the engineering disciplines in order to test and create various automated systems, robots, and unique computer engineering applications. Mainly, your daytoday duties will include designing high-level, technically advanced robots. You might also design the systems for others to build. Other core job duties will include tasks like troubleshooting, repair, system diagnostics, and supervising others who work with you. Most of the time you’ll be working on a team, so it helps if you know how to get along with other professionals in a job setting.
Core Skills You’ll Need
While still in high school, take as many classes as you can in physics, computer science, trigonometry, calculus, algebra, and computer-aided design (CAD). If your high school doesn’t offer all those subjects, consider taking an online or community college class to round out that list of skills. When it comes time to apply for an undergraduate or master’s degree, you’ll have a much better chance of gaining admission to the school of your choice.
Getting the Right Education
If you are set on becoming a RE, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in either electrical or mechanical engineering. Many universities and colleges offer specialties in robotics, but it’s not necessary to get that specific at the undergraduate level. To make sure you can focus on your studies without having to work during school, consider applying for a student loan to cover the cost of tuition, room, board, and fees. You can apply online for most student loans and take advantage of competitive terms and interest rates. Plus, if you intend to add a master’s degree to your educational resume, you can borrow for that as well. Many entry-level robotics professionals hold bachelor’s degrees and after a few years on the job get a master’s diploma in a specialty area.
Internships Open the Big Doors
Becoming a RE means getting an internship before your first “real” job. You can set up your own internship opportunity while still in school. Consider offering your services part-time to a tech or engineering firm, and don’t forget to network while in the position. Most of your internship duties will be focused on observing the work of others. However, the time spend will supply a solid bit of experience to your resume.