what does a robotics engineer do?

  • job profiles
  • September 08, 2020

Robotics engineers are certified experts in the science of designing and building functional robotics (a process sometimes referred to as “flexible automation” on job boards). The machines these highly trained professionals build can serve a wide range of practical uses — from enhancing the efficiency of a manufacturing operation to enabling surgeons to carry out more precise surgeries, plus a whole lot more. Whatever the specific use case, robotics engineers will also need to contribute to the design and installation of the microprocessors, or miniature computers, that coordinate these tasks for most robots that are in use today.

As such, daily responsibilities for robotics engineers include:

  • designing blueprints and plans for the creation of robots
  • designing robots, robotics systems and robotics technology
  • applying multiple engineering disciplines, including mechanical and electrical engineering
  • conducting research to determine new robotic functions
  • identifying mechanisms to enable robots to carry out new tasks
  • programming robots using multiple computer programming languages
  • testing and evaluating robotic prototypes
  • analyzing data and continually working to improve the performance of robots
  • partnering with key business-side partners to zero in on the most valuable use cases
  • collaborating with research engineers and supporting go-to-market strategies
  • reviewing changes to designs and prototypes
  • writing and implementing algorithms

what are the key skills of a robotics engineer?

Robotics engineers are close to the center of the action within the research and development (R&D) function at cutting-edge tech companies today. And though most of their work is focused on programming the actions of robots, the role itself requires a lot of creativity — robotics engineers certainly aren’t automatons in what they do most of the day, in other words.

What’s more, a ton of interpersonal interaction is baked into the role, too. As such, skills that can be key differentiators for robotics engineers include:

  • cross-functional relationship management ability
  • experience managing budgets and reporting on expenses
  • attentiveness to detail
  • organizational and time-management aptitudes
  • empathy and emotional intelligence (EQ)
  • core business aptitude and orientation
  • strong written, verbal and presentation skills
  • demonstrated analytical thinking and problem-solving capabilities

how much do robotics engineers make?

Based on the latest data, average salaries for robotics engineers appear to essentially fall into three tiers — low, middle and high — depending on your location, market, responsibilities and relative level of expertise. Those tiers are as follows:

  • low $86,606
  • mid $107,254
  • high $123,571

As you can see, salaries for robotics engineers can vary considerably. Trying to get a handle on exactly how much your expertise is worth? Check out our free salary comparison tool. It’ll help you uncover at-a-glance insights about pay in your market.

how do you become a robotics engineer?

Becoming a robotics engineer won’t happen overnight. But with a little preparation — and perhaps an online certification or training course to enhance your skill set — this dream role can be well within reach for anyone with a background in engineering.

Key qualifications typically include:

  • degree or certification in automation, robotics, mechanical or electrical engineering, computer science or similar
  • around two years of relevant industry experience
  • proven expertise developing and deploying complex mechanical and electrical systems
  • proficiency writing software and programming systems
  • familiarity with digital drafting programs such as AutoCAD

Haven’t got it made based on the above criteria? Not to worry. For example, you can explore the online resources available through our learning partner, Udemy (the top courses for robotics and engineering might be a wise place to start). That should help you build up your skill set and get your foot in the door.

key takeaways

To quickly recap, in this article we’ve broken down:

  • what robotics engineers do
  • background, training, experience and other requirements for this position
  • key skills
  • salary
  • and more

Is becoming a robotics engineer going to mark the start of the next exciting chapter in your career? If so, we're thrilled to hear it — and we hope you know that we’re here to support you in every step of that journey. Start searching for robotics engineering roles with Randstad today.