What Are the Pros and Cons of Becoming a Robotics Engineer?
Robotics engineering is a unique career path that can prepare you to design, calibrate and maintain robotic systems. Look at these pros and cons to decide if robotics engineering is for you.
|Pros of Becoming a Robotics Engineer
|Good pay (median annual salary of $92, 680)**
|Opportunity to work in many industries (from mining to nuclear power)***
|Good job prospects for those who keep current on technology*
|Opportunities to be creative**
|Cons of Becoming a Robotics Engineer
|Slow job growth (three to seven percent between 2012 and 2022)**
|Pressure to meet deadlines and design standards**
|Graduate education might be needed to advance in the field***
|Sometimes requires long hours**
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **O*Net OnLine, ***The Princeton Review.
Job Description and Duties
Robotics engineers develop autonomous or remotely controlled robots to carry out tasks more efficiently or more safely than a human. Robotics engineers could have a background in a number of different engineering fields, but many employers prefer job applicants with backgrounds in robotics, electrical or mechanical engineering.
Some of your daily job duties might include debugging computer programs used to run robotics systems, supervising engineering technicians, processing sensor data, calibrating robots or approving robot designs. You may also be responsible for investigating mechanical failures, performing maintenance, designing robotic systems or creating backup programs for robotic systems. Your specific duties might vary depending upon the industry in which you specialize. For example, if you specialize in the agricultural industry, you might design and test robotic crop harvesters, while if you specialize in the nuclear power industry, you might work on automated equipment to test safety in power plants.
Robotics engineers earned a median annual salary of $92, 680 in 2013, according to O*Net Online. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also lists the salaries of similar engineering occupations that can contain the category of robotics engineering. According to the BLS, mechanical engineers earned a median annual salary of about $82, 100 as of May 2013, with the top-paid professionals in this field bringing home upwards of $123, 340 annually (www.bls.gov). Electronics engineers earned a median annual salary of about $94, 250 per year; top-paid engineers in this specialty made $144, 760 a year or more.
For the decade between 2012 and 2022, O*Net OnLine reports that robotics engineers will likely see an employment growth rate between three and seven percent, which is slower than average. The BLS estimated an employment growth rate of five percent for mechanical engineers and four percent for electronics engineers. Because many companies contract temporary engineering services, job prospects are expected to be best at firms that outsource these services.