Robotics engineer

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Automation engineer

Robotics engineers design and build machines to do automated jobs in industries like manufacturing, aerospace and medicine.

Salary Range: £25,500 to £55,000

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How to become a robotics engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
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University

You can do a degree or postgraduate qualification in:

  • artificial intelligence and robotics
  • mechatronics
  • robotics engineering
  • mechanical engineering
  • electronics engineering
  • computer science
  • mathematics

You can also work in the development of artificial intelligence if you have a qualification in psychology or cognitive science.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and physics
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

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College

You can do a college course, which may help you to find a job as a robotics technician. Relevant courses include:

  • Level 3 Certificate in Robotics and Automation
  • Level 4 Diploma in Computing
  • Higher National Certificate in Electrical or Electronic Engineering

With further training, you can qualify as an engineer.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course

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Apprenticeship

You could do a degree apprenticeship in a robotics specialism. Apprenticeship examples include:

  • control and technical support engineering
  • software development
  • manufacturing engineering
  • embedded electronic systems design

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship

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Work

You could start as a robotics technician or junior engineer and study for a degree on the job to qualify.

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Career tips

You’ll find it useful to join robotics engineering groups or take part in robotics design competitions to build up your skills and knowledge.

Further information

You can discover more about careers in engineering and robotics from The Institution of Engineering and Technology and the UK-RAS Network.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • maths knowledge
  • design skills and knowledge
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your exact duties will depend on what part of a project you work on but may include:

  • understanding what customers want to automate
  • designing processes and parts using computer aided design
  • building and testing prototypes
  • analysing data from robot sensors and cameras
  • finding and fixing faults
  • researching news ways to use robots and artificial intelligence
  • demonstrating finished products to customers
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Career path and progression

You could become a lead engineer, with overall responsibility for managing a project.

You could also specialise in a particular area of robotics, for example self-driving vehicles, space exploration, surgical instruments or deep ocean research.