What is a Robotics Engineer?

Do you love solving complex problems? Are you interested in electronics, programming, and mechanics? You may want to consider a career as a robotics engineer!

A robotics engineer is a behind-the-scenes designer responsible for creating robots and robotic systems that are able to perform duties that humans are either unable, or prefer not to complete. For example, the Roomba was created to help humans with the mundane task of vacuuming floors.

Through their creations, robotics engineers help to make jobs safer, easier, and more efficient.

What does a Robotics Engineer do?

Unlike other types of engineering, robotics engineering requires the ability to be proficient in a variety of technical areas — robotics engineers are the bridge between mechanics, electronics, computer science, and cognitive psychology.

Two robotics engineers working on robots.

Robotics engineers spend the majority of their time designing the plans and processes needed to not only build robots, but to have them work effectively. Some robotics engineers also design the machines that actually assemble the robots.

Prior to a robot being constructed, engineers determine exactly what the robot will be used for. Since robots are meant to solve problems or alleviate human tasks, robotics engineers undergo an in-depth analysis of the job that the robot will be given.

What exact issue is the robot solving? Is it a repetitive task? Is it a function that is too dangerous for humans? What might restrict the robot from functioning properly? These and many other questions need to be answered before moving on to any design stage.

Robotics engineers create designs with the help of 3D CAD (computer-aided design) tools which allow them to design right down to the circuit level. CAM (computer-aided manufacture) tools are then used to actually build the robots.

The building process takes a great deal of time, as robots are highly technical and difficult to create. For this reason, it's not uncommon for a robotics engineers to only work on a handful of projects throughout their entire career.

Typical day-to-day duties include:

  • Building, configuring, and testing robots
  • Designing software systems to control their robotic systems, such as those robots used for manufacturing
  • Designing automated robotic systems that are used to increase the production and precision levels within a specific industry
  • Analyzing and evaluating the prototypes and robotic systems they have created. This is generally a never-ending task, since technology is constantly changing and advancing
  • Reviewing and approving cost estimates and design calculations
  • Serving as technical support for the robotic systems they have created
  • Teaching plans paths to robots
  • Performing research into the design, operation and performance of robotic mechanism components or systems

Are you suited to be a robotics engineer?

Robotics engineers have distinct personalities. They tend to be investigative individuals, which means they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive. They are curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical. Some of them are also realistic, meaning they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if robotics engineer is one of your top career matches.

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What is the workplace of a Robotics Engineer like?

Most commonly, robots are used within the automotive, food packaging, appliance, and electronic industries.

Robotics engineers share their time between a lab and an office. Time in the lab is spent working on small mechanical parts that are components of the larger robot they are creating. Time in the office is spent working on research and planning.

A typical work week consists of 40 hours, Monday to Friday. However, project deadlines can make this schedule vary drastically. Overtime may be necessary to make sure that the job is completed on time, and occasional travel may be necessary.

Robotics Engineers are also known as:
Automation Robotics Engineer Robotics and Automation Engineer Automation Engineer