Have you ever thought of building a career in robotics? Or wondered what it entails to delve into robotics? Perhaps, you are completely clueless as to what your first step should be in switching to a career in robotics.
The good news is, you are not alone in your thoughts as there are many other people who have marveled at what robots can do on the factory floor, in the operating room, in industries or even in outer space. Some others have thought about the portrayal of robotics in science fiction and will want to turn it into reality. Whatever your motive is, you can start a career in robotics too and thrive.
As the robotics sector continues to boom, medicine, agriculture, manufacturing, military is just but a few major industries that have an ever growing desire for more automation. The primary initiative for many of the world’s largest businesses today is to free up workers from dull, dangerous, and dirty jobs. As much as this is a good development, it is also rendering many people jobless with the possibility of many more job losses in the not too distant future.
Core Subjects to focus on if you are in High School
Basically, you should focus on two main subjects at this level and they are:
Mathematics: This is non-negotiable. You don’t necessarily have to be a wiz but a good grasp of algebra and geometry are essential to all of the subjects which make up robotics.
Physics (or another science subject): Having a solid understanding of science is very important if you want to work in any branch of engineering. Physics is particularly useful because it provides the foundational knowledge in energy, electrical circuits, mechanics, material science, and other key topics for robotics. However, all sciences are useful as they teach how to apply mathematics to real-world problems.
Other useful high school subjects are:
Computing and Programming: Subjects like Computer Science and Information Systems are a great choice as programming is important for building a career in robotics.
Design and Technology: Product Design, Graphic Communication, Technological Studies and Manufacturing are all subjects that can boost the practical side of engineering.
Specific Engineering Disciplines: As an aspiring roboticist, you should pay attention to some schools that provide subjects in specific engineering disciplines such as Automotive, Bioengineering, Electronics, Mechatronics and Mechanical engineering as they can be beneficial for your career growth.
Courses to focus on in the University
Three core disciplines are vital for a career in robotics and they are: mechanics, electronics, and computer science.
Each of these courses places the main focus of study on a particular core part of robotics:
Mechanical Engineering focuses on “The Body”: – This engineering branch focuses on the physical systems which make up a robot and includes subtopics like mechanics, materials engineering and manufacturing which are core to industrial robotics. Often, mechanical engineering courses will have specialization in mechatronics or robotics, but these tend to be focused mostly on physical design and actuation.
Electrical and Electronic Engineering focuses on “The Nervous System”: – This branch of engineering provides the basics of electronics, embedded systems, low-level programming, and control theory. Often, electrical engineering courses will also provide specializations in robotics or automation, which will be centered around the control of robots rather than the mechanical design.
Computer Science focuses on “The Brain”: – Studies have revealed that a lot of people in research seem to enter robotics through computer science. This trend is likely to continue as standard robotic hardware platforms become the norm. Common platforms remove the research focus from the physical hardware and instead allow researchers to concentrate on software and high-level programming.
Often, these courses will include robotic programming topics such as Artificial Intelligence and Software Design. It is usually at this level of study where people with a background in psychology and related fields can enter robotics with a postgraduate Masters course. So, if you do not have a background in the core sciences, you can still give a career in robotics a shot.
Where to begin
Check out your education options: Now that you have established your desire and interest in building a career the robotics industry, the next step is to begin by increasing your formal education without necessarily having to get a Ph.D. Firstly, you need to start looking for a robotics program/course in your local area. This can either be a physical or virtual course. An online course will be preferable particularly if your job or family obligations make it difficult for you to attend classes in-person.
You will also need to prioritize programs that will help you capitalize on the shortage of existing skills in the niche of robotics you have chosen to settle for. Studies have revealed that a shortage of AI prevented the adoption of technology at the enterprise level. If your AI knowledge applies to robotics, companies will want you to join them as long as your educational program equips you well.
Understand your role in a dynamic workforce: It is understandable if you’ve been motivated to improve your skills by the fear of losing your job to robots. Rather than moving away from the industry, it is advisable to move into the industry and embrace all comes with. Having a deep understanding on the pattern in the workforce and how robots are intertwined will enable you advance in your career and know how you can fit in.
Search for job listings and develop the necessary skills for roles in robotics: Studies have revealed that you can start by looking for companies that have appealing job openings for you, then graduate into digging deeper to find out the required skills. Find out how you can build/sharpen these skills and create a plan that encourages personal growth. Remember to incorporate sustainability in your plan because your skills have to be applied to the future if you want to enjoy job security in the long-term.
Start building networks: Do you know that recent studies show close to 85 percent of people find great jobs through networking? It’s okay if you do not know anyone in the robotics field at the moment, and its time to work on this. Start by searching for individuals working in robotics or other related tech fields in your local area. Prepare ahead to discuss your career goals and what you can offer in the long run.
Develop your critical thinking skills: The robotics sector is a rapidly moving one with constant changes and new technological advancements. Do not assume that things will stay constant in the industry until you enter the employment market or start looking for a robotics job. You need to start building a resource for robotics collection from platforms such as blogs and websites.
Read them as frequently as possible and as you reflect on what you’ve read, analyze it critically by asking yourself the short and long-term effects of the things you’ve read on robotics. Challenge yourself to analyze news and keep track of your current knowledge.
Search for internship opportunities: You will also need to have a practical experience in robotics asides your head knowledge from the classroom as it will improve your value. This is especially true if you enrolled in an online program that didn’t offer practical lab experiences.
Internships help learners understand what it’s like to work in robotics or a related tech company. While writing your resume and waiting for a job call, apply for an internship, don’t forget to list relevant projects that you’ve completed successfully. Companies looking for interns want people who are not afraid to get to work. Investing in DIY kits is one of the best ways to apply the skills that you’ve learned in your coursework.
In conclusion, you should be very determined and hardworking in order to achieve all of the above and successfully build a career in robotics. If you set your mind to it, you can achieve it, you’ve got this!
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