The Range of Robotics Careers
The Field Of Robotics
The variety of jobs available in the broader field of robotics is extensive, covering everything from mathematics, electrical and electronics engineering, physics, systems and controls, computers, artificial intelligence (AI), computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD and CAM), industrial engineering, and more. Careers in these areas involving both research and practical applications can be found in the aerospace industry, manufacturing, industrial production, electronics, the computer sciences, and, of course, robotics. Jobs exist in private industry, the military or government, and at the university level.
“Robotics engineer” is a title that was most often given to a manufacturing, mechanical, or electronics engineer who specialized in robotics and automated engineering systems. But as more and more people graduate from specialized studies in robotics, the title has become more closely associated with engineers whose focus is on the design of new robots and automated robotic systems, as well as those who research, design, and develop the next waves of robotic applications.
Robotics is one of the fastest-growing industrial fields. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “Employers will need more engineers as they increase investment in plant and equipment to further increase productivity and expand output of goods and services” (as quoted in the “Engineering Occupations in Robotics and Automated Systems” section of California Occupational Guide Number 2004-A). This is a result of U.S. industries turning to cost-saving technologies – such as robots and automated systems – to improve their productivity and competitiveness with cheaper overseas labor. These developments have changed the way goods are produced and the skill requirements for factory workers.
The United Nations World Robotics Survey for 2006 predicts an optimistic future for both industrial and domestic robots. According to a 2004 Associated Press report, “The use of robots around the home to mow lawns, vacuum floors, and manage other chores is set to surge sevenfold by 2007 as more consumers snap up smart machines. That boom coincides with record orders for industrial robots … By the end of 2007, some 4.1 million domestic robots will likely be in use. Lawnmowers will still make up the majority, but sales of window-washing and pool-cleaning robots are also set to take off … [B]y 2007, world industrial robot numbers will likely reach at least 1 million.”
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