What Does a Robotics Engineer Do? (And How To Become One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 23 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Robotics engineering is a field that focuses on the development of robots to increase productivity and contribute to the efficiency of many industries. Robotic engineers combine computer science and electrical and mechanical engineering to build these production-enhancing robots. Discovering what a robotics engineer does can help those interested in computers and engineering to plan their path into the field. In this article, we answer "what does a robotics engineer do?", discuss what robotics engineering is, explain how to enter the profession and answer some FAQs.

What does a robotics engineer do?

To answer the question, "what does a robotics engineer do?", robotics engineers design and build robotic systems that increase the efficiency of various tasks across many different industries. The robots they create are often used in manufacturing or production facilities, where machines can repeat tasks consistently and to precision. A robotics engineer receives a project to develop a plan and process to construct a functional robot that meets the project requirements.

Their work involves studying the specifications of the required systems, where they design the application, estimate costs, create prototypes and make adaptations to improve safety, cost, productivity and ease of maintenance. Below you can find a list of some typical responsibilities of robotics engineers:

  • Researching, building, configuring and testing robots

  • Repairing and maintaining existing robots and machines

  • Preparing project scopes and briefs and calculating cost proposals

  • Performing quality control assessments and establishing reports

  • Determining client vulnerabilities and designing automated robotic solutions used to enhance production and precision

  • Designing software compatible with the robots they develop

  • Studying and researching mechanical systems to continue learning the latest advancements

  • Providing technical support to clients on their automated robotic systems

  • Reviewing design calculations and making appropriate design amendments

  • Collaborating with project teams and other engineers.

What is robotics engineering?

Robotics engineering is a specialisation within mechanical and mechatronics engineering that designs, tests, creates and maintains robots and machines. In general, engineers solve problems for specific industries by creating innovative designs to achieve new efficiencies and possibilities. So, robotic engineers use their expertise in robotics to create machines that overcome issues for their clients. Generally, this consists of robots that can perform automated and repetitive tasks quickly and precisely to help humans perform time-consuming or unachievable tasks, such as lifting heavy car parts.

Robotics engineering supports numerous industries, and their reach is increasing along with the world's technology reliance and advancements. The typical industries robotics engineers work within include mining, oil and gas, aerospace, computer, automotive and textile areas, helping improve safety and efficiency.

How to become a robotics engineer

Robotic engineering is a highly technical field, and professionals working in the area require advanced education and training. Below you can find a step-by-step guide on becoming a robotics engineer:

1. Complete a bachelor's degree

Aspiring robotics engineers can complete a Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in mechatronics, offered at various universities across the country. This degree typically takes four years of full-time study to complete and may require prerequisites of specific secondary school subjects, including assumed knowledge in mathematics, chemistry, physics and engineering.

Students can complete a work experience placement to develop practical skills during this degree. Work experience may involve working with a robotic engineering firm for up to 12 weeks and assisting them with their real-life projects, giving you a chance to use your theoretical knowledge. These placements can offer an excellent opportunity to network within your chosen field and the opportunity to be offered employment with the company after you graduate.

2. Consider a master's degree

There are different avenues to explore in robotics engineering, which is why many professionals choose to advance their education with a master's degree. Consider completing a Master of Engineering (Robotics and Mechatronics) at university to expand your foundational robotics knowledge.

In this course, you can develop automation and manufacturing technology knowledge and study the mechanical, electrical and software engineering components used to create robotics, vehicles and machines. While a master's degree can offer a chance to specialise your knowledge, it can also help strengthen your career prospects and be an excellent addition to your resume.

3. Become a member of Engineers Australia and IMechE

Engineers Australia is an organisation focused on promoting engineering within Australia and supporting engineers with training, development and community. Many engineering university courses require you to join Engineers Australia, and you can join the specific department within your respective state or territory. Engineers Australia focuses on helping you develop your career, and becoming a member can put you in contact with a vast engineering network.

The Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IMechE) is also a valuable organisation for robotics engineers to join because of the specialised assistance and community they offer. IMechE focuses on career and professional development for mechanical engineers and provides various opportunities for training and networking.

5. Apply for a robotics engineering role

Once you've obtained a relevant degree, completed work experience and joined an organisation, you'll likely be ready to start working in the field. Explore career opportunities by searching the Indeed job board and entering your preferred location. Read through the job descriptions that appeal to you and begin to alter your resume in accordance with each job advertisement.

Try to include keywords within the description in your resume, as this can highlight your suitability for the role. Be sure to input your work experience and education in your resume, highlighting any achievements and awards you obtained relevant to the profession.

The average salary of a robotics engineer

The national average salary for a robotics engineer is $108,950 per year. The projects they work on are expensive and require a high level of skill and technical knowledge to deliver, so robotics engineers are compensated well for their expertise.

The salary for robotics engineers can depend on the industry they work for, too. For example, they may work for mechanical engineering companies that respond to the needs of the resource industry, such as creating new mining technology. Robotics engineers working in this field may earn larger than average salaries, as their project goals can facilitate resource companies to make substantially more money.

Typical workplace for robotics engineers

Robotics engineers may work for companies that use robotics and assist in repairing and maintaining existing machines or for private robot manufacturers. Many of these engineers work in the production and packaging industry, creating robotics to perform automated tasks. Others work in the automotive industry and develop robotics for vehicle production that requires machines to lift heavy machinery.

The work environment for these engineers consists of a combination of laboratories, offices with technical computers and manufacturing plants. Research and development, computer-aided design and programming and laboratory manufacturing may all be required in working on the entire life-cycle of robotic construction. The typical workweek for a robotics engineer consists of 40 hours from Monday to Friday; however, project deadlines can mean their schedules vary. Some engineers may work overtime to deliver projects on time and occasionally travel to various client or supplier facilities.

Frequently asked questions about robotics engineering

Below you can find the answers to some frequently asked questions about the robotic engineering profession:

What does it take to be a robotics engineer?

While engineering courses may require students to be familiar with science, mathematics and engineering, you can learn these areas through bridging courses. Becoming a robotics engineer can take some determination to complete the four years of study and work placements. While engineering can be complex, it's also learnable and achievable for many people interested in entering the field.

Is robotics engineering a good career?

Robotics engineering advances many industries that exist to serve society, meaning their creations improve the lives of many and enhance the efficiency of our world. Projects can be challenging as they may require innovative solutions to develop the requested robots.

However, overcoming challenges and seeing their creations come to life to support their clients can provide an enriching career for many individuals. If you're interested in computer science and engineering, a career in robotics engineering can be an excellent path to pursue.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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