3 answers

How long would it take to be a robotic engineer??

Asked El Paso, Texas

3 answers

G. Mark’s Answer


This will be an unsurprising answer. The answer is that it would take as long as it takes to be an engineer. There are many people who are called "engineers" but have none of the preparation or education. One particular example is defining a "System Engineer" as anyone who works on "systems". It's entirely within a person's prerogative to make that claim, but I think it's about as valid as telling people you're a "doctor" because you can distribute Band-Aids. Now, I'm not claiming that these folks don't have a valuable contribution to make much like the person in the sandwich truck coming to the worksite has a valuable contribution to make. But that person is not a "chef". Therefore, if you want to be a "robotics engineer," it would be prudent to get an engineering degree. It may be an Associate Degree or any other engineering degree. Once you are in that curricula, you would look for classes that cover robotics itself. I would also recommend Machine Learning or any other Artificial Intelligence-related classes. But to contribute to a robotics project of any kind, it would be a good idea to spend some effort on that background. Plus, it will likely be a lot of fun.

Chris’s Answer

Updated San Jose, California

Hey Angel,

Great question! I actually spent my college capstone project working on an extremely interesting project focused on intelligent automation control and got to meet some brilliant engineers working in robotics. Your question has several good and correct answers but I'll stick with the one I personally think is best and if you have any follow ups feel free to reach out and I'd be happy to try and set up a conversation with an engineer in the robotics space.

  1. Without a significant body of automation systems experience (typically through a manufacturing job) you'll need a technical degree. The best technical degree to pursue would be in engineering and almost and engineering degree can pave the road to robotics and this is going to depend heavily on #2
  2. Well...what part of robotics do you want to be involved in? Engineers are problem solvers first and foremost and the type of engineer just decides where you're going to focus your problem solving abilities on the technical side of things. I'd strongly suggest taking a look at entry-level robotics positions on a job platform (LinkedIn, Ziprecruiter, etc.) and find job descriptions that make you say "that's what I want to be doing!". Education is a tool you get a hand in customizing to match your passions, so start with your passions, figure out what would get you out of bed, then take those desired role qualifications and select a major (using a college's posted class requirements for each major) that gets you that class experience. It may not be your dream class load but if robotics is your passion then to have a good chance at a career in that field you have to work backwards

I know its not a direct answer but there are A LOT of jobs that go into the filed of robotics. I've been involved with the software aspect (Computer Engineering) and robot assembly (Mechanical Engineering), but there are elective classes in systems, dynamics, circuits, controls, and materials that can fine-tune any technical degree to be suited for robotics, you just have to figure out what you want to do.

Good Luck!

Scott’s Answer

Its great that you're interested in this career! It's going to grow and demand should be strong for the foreseeable future. Typically someone whom works in robotics has a specialty that they contribute towards the teams goal of building a functioning robot. Common degrees that could lead to a robotics career include:

  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Machine Learning
  • Computer Vision

Take a look at some specialized programs that will help you learn more. I've listed a few below. Good luck!

Scott recommends the following next steps:

  • https://gradadmissions.mit.edu/programs
  • https://www.gradschoolhub.com/best/robotics-engineering-schools/