6 College Majors That Produce the Best Robotics Employees
Posted on Jan 16, 2018 7:00 AM. 4 min read time
Robotics engineers are responsible for the design and creation of robots. While the job seems straightforward, the path to a career in robotics is more difficult.
Not all schools offer degrees in robotics or robotic engineering, so here are a few additional college majors that provide students the best paths toward a career in robotics engineering.
1. Electrical/electric engineering
Electrical engineering is one of the best majors to have in college to help pursue a career in robotics. Electrical engineering classes include general training courses in pneumatics and hydraulics, numerically controlled systems, integrated systems, logic and microprocessors.
Robotics relies heavily on the knowledge of engineers who specialize in electrical engineering, particularly for the electronics, embedded systems, control theory and low-level programming.
Electrical engineering courses provide a lot of information about robotics and automation and can provide suitable preparation for aspiring robotics engineers.
2. Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is another branch of engineering that helps with an aspect of robotics technology. Mechanical engineers work to design and develop, build and test mechanical sensors and devices.
In the robotics field, mechanical engineers would be in charge of the physical make-up of a robot. Mechanical engineering courses like, mechanics, materials engineering and manufacturing are central to understanding how robotics works.
In addition to mechanics, materials engineering and manufacturing courses, many mechanical engineering courses offer specializations in mechatronics or robotics that allow students to focus on the physical design and actuation of a robot.
Those who earn an associate's degree might become an electro-mechanical technician. In this role, you can operate, test and maintain automated and robotic equipment. There are many other related positions an individual with their associate's degree can fill, including that of a mechanical engineering technician, industrial engineering technician and mechanical drafter.
3. Computer science
Though computer science is not in the engineering field, computer science majors offer an understanding of computing technology and the ability to understand and study complex problems in technology. Computing technology is a crucial part of robotics.
Computer scientists understand the robotic software platforms and are necessary for researching high-level programming.
While mechanical and electrical engineers focus on the hardware aspects of robotics, computer scientists work on the programming side. Computer scientists design what has been called "the brain" of the robots. The brain dictates how the robot will interpret the world, its movement and its actions.
Computer scientists deal with the motion planning, computer vision and machine learning aspects of robot creation. A lot of computer science courses include topics like artificial intelligence and software design. Some even say a background in psychology can help with the computer science aspect of robotics.
Understanding mathematics is crucial to understanding robotics and engineering, so why not consider a degree in mathematics to help with an advanced degree in engineering in the future?
A solid grasp of mathematics is crucial to understanding computing and programming, engineering and sciences. Mathematics majors can go on to pursue careers in data science, data analysis and computer programming, all of which can be put to use in the robotics field.
5. Design and technology
An understanding of technology and design can help with the physical systems and make-up of a robot.
A degree in design and technology helps a robotics engineer understand the software of the robot as well as the physical aspects necessary for the robot or machine to work correctly. Also, as consumer and social robots become more common, many robot companies are paying more attention to how their robots are designed visually — making a design degree even more relevant.
A degree in design and technology helps the prospective robotics engineer understand the practical side of robotics. These fields include product design, graphic communication and technological studies and manufacturing.
6. Computing and programming
Computing and programming experts help design and develop new technology and approaches to implementing existing technology to improve and create new theories and models.
Computing and programming experts can work with electrical engineers and computer hardware engineers to design programs to control robots. They can explore issues in computing and develop theories to address them. These theories and solutions can help ensure the software within robots is as close to flawless as possible.
Computing and programming professionals work closely with scientists and engineers to address these problems. They could also invent new computing languages and tools to help improve technologies such as artificial intelligence and robots.
The Important of Diverse Knowledge and Experience
While these five majors are the best for those wishing to pursue a career in robotics, there is not one major or area of study that has all of the answers. Design and technology experts need to know some mathematics and computer science to be successful in robotics. Mechanical engineers need to understand a bit of computer science.
While schooling is a crucial aspect of becoming a robotics engineer, internships and jobs are other essential steps. Without having the opportunity to put your knowledge into practice, throwing yourself into the robotics field will most likely lead to failure.
Many schools and engineering programs connect students with internships and jobs to give them the opportunity to learn and grow and decide if robotics is something they'd like to pursue.
Robotics industry experts often recommend that students get as much hands-on experience with robots as possible. Becoming familiar with robots first-hand is essential to help with both the in-class understanding of robotics and to help students gain a diverse skill set.
Working with others on robotics projects is also a great idea, as you’ll be able to network with other potential robot engineers while picking up new skills.
Experience doesn't have to just come from professional internships or jobs. Many high schools and colleges offer the opportunity to enter robotics competitions or join robotics clubs.
The key is to study hard and complement that knowledge with hands-on activities and by working alongside professionals.