Robotics engineers design robots and develop the programs and applications that allow them to function. Manufacturers are one of the biggest employers of robotics engineers; however, robotics are used in a variety of industries. For example, you could work in the entertainment industry to develop animatronics for theme parks or with NASA to develop robots to perform experiments in space.
Entry level careers in robotic engineering require a bachelor's degree in any area of engineering. Robotic engineering draws from many engineering specialties including mechanical, electrical and industrial engineering. Advancement in robotics and research positions usually require a master's or doctorate level degree in engineering.
Duties and Responsibilities
Your specific duties vary based on your employer and project. The basic duties include designing, building and testing robot prototypes. You will also create the programs that operate the robot and debug them if necessary. Some engineers focus on research, testing and developing new uses and applications for robots. In some cases, you may be required to create cost proposals and quality control and efficiency reports. Robotics engineers must be creative, focused, and excellent problem-solvers. You must be able to combine many disciplines, including mechanical engineering, hydraulics, power and control into creating robots.
Salary and Working Conditions
According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, robotics engineers earn between $47,640 and $121,970 per year. Most robotics engineers are employed by private companies and work in laboratory settings. Universities and government agencies such as NASA also employ robotics engineers.
Robotic engineers are on the cutting edge of technology and industry. Engineers at NASA work on projects like developing robots to explore Saturn's moon, technology to find other Earth-like planets and making robotic hands and arms that will be used to conduct experiments in space. Engineers in the military and among civilian contractors have developed robotic vehicles that are deployed overseas in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Car companies are using robotic engineering to develop self-driving cars. Increasingly, you will find opportunities as a robotics engineer in a multitude of fields.