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A robotics engineer is an electrical and mechanical engineering expert who designs robotic equipment. Professionals work in research and development divisions of technology firms, manufacturing plants, and factories to come up with novel concepts and make improvements to existing machines. A robotics engineer is usually involved in every phase of a project, from designing original schematics to testing prototypes. The job requires excellent reasoning and math skills, attention to detail, and creativity to develop reliable, functional equipment.
Robots play essential roles in many different industries and settings. Modern assembly line equipment, agricultural tools, airplane control systems, bomb-detection vehicles, and thousands of other examples rely on robotic technology to function properly. A robotics engineer ensures that such machines are safe, dependable, and precise in their specific tasks.
When coming up with a new design, a robotics engineer conducts extensive research on existing technology and creates several rounds of rough blueprints and schematics. Most engineers rely on computer-aided drafting software to produce accurate drawings that can be easily adjusted as needed. Once an engineer is confident in a design, he or she can put it through computer simulations that model real-world physical laws and environmental conditions.
Engineers and their assistants build prototypes of theoretical designs that pass simulation tests. Professionals use a variety of tools and techniques to develop prototypes. Soldering, welding, and metal cutting expertise is typically necessary for a robotic engineer. Knowledge of electrical wiring and computer software engineering is also vital to ensure that prototypes function exactly as expected.
The robotics industry is a broad, constantly changing field that requires engineers to stay up-to-date on the latest innovations and technology. Most robotics engineers frequently review professional journals, attend seminars, and communicate with peers to learn about cutting edge research. The capabilities of artificial intelligence, microprocessors, and bioengineering are expanding every day, and engineers have to keep up with an evolving technical field.
A person who wants to become a robotics engineer usually needs to obtain at least a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or physics. Many hopeful professionals choose to pursue master's or doctoral degrees to improve their understanding of the field and their chances of finding jobs after graduation. New engineers often begin their careers as assistants or junior engineers at a robotics firm, gaining firsthand experience under the supervision of established professionals. With four or five years of experience, an individual can take a licensing exam to earn professional engineer credentials and start working independently.