What you need to know about robotics careers

August 4, 2022

Welcome to another story from The World of Kiwibot. Have a seat, grab your favorite drink and enjoy.

If you are reading this blog, it is probably for one of these reasons:

  1. You are about to choose your career.
  2. You are looking for jobs in robotics.
  3. You are curious about careers in robotics.
  4. You are just a big fan of this blog (thank you for that🤖)

Whatever your motivation, you are in the right place! Here, you can find out some explanations about robotics careers and robotics jobs from the Kiwibot perspective.

First of all, robotics is an interdisciplinary and ever-growing field that involves everything that makes robots work; from the design to the operation, including maintenance and developing automated solutions.

There are different types of robotics applications. Here is a list (not exhaustive):

  • Self-driving cars.
  • E-commerce robots.
  • Surgical robots.
  • Safety and security robots.
  • Exploration robots.
  • Manufacturing robots.
  • Agriculture robots.
  • Entertainment robots.
  • Healthcare robots.
  • And our favorite, delivery robots.

In any case, robotics is helping shape our future and is changing our daily routines and lives.

Robotics disciplines

From the academic perspective, traditionally the main disciplines behind robotics are mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, software engineering and machine learning.

Let’s oversimplify these with the example of a Kiwibot. Hopefully you like analogies.

  1. Mechanical engineering would be “The Body” of a Kiwibot. It studies applied physics and mechanics, to make sure the robot can move and does not break, according to the specific materials used for the hardware.
  2. Electronic Engineering would be “The Nervous System” of a Kiwibot. It studies applied physics, electromagnetism theories, and environmental analysis in order to know how to use electric components to control the signals, so the robot can process the outside world.
  3. Software Engineering would be “The Soul” of a Kiwibot. It studies algorithms and the design, development, testing, deployment, and management of software applications, so the robot has control and automation.
  4. Machine learning would be “The Brain” of a Kiwibot. It studies mathematics, coding, and logic to build algorithms and collect and process data, so the robot can make decisions to perform a task.

Why choose a career in Robotics?

Robotics is an emerging field with tremendous potential and diverse job opportunities.

According to Automation.com, “the U.S. market for robotics and artificial intelligence career openings is exploding. Based on early 2022 trends, job postings increased by more than 500 percent”.

In the last 10 years, we have seen the development and evolution of robotics. Like Taskin Padir, Director of the Institute for Experiential Robotics, has said, “We envision a future where robots are seamlessly integrated into our day-to-day activities, though in many ways they already are.”

Besides, being part of the change and making history sounds exciting, doesn't it? Here's what some Kiwibot employees with a career in robotics are saying, so you can see for yourself.

First, there is Camilo Torres, a recent graduate of mechatronics engineering, who joined Kiwibot as an Operations Coordinator. He chose a robotics career, “to help automate processes that sometimes can be boring or dangerous, and turn them into a more efficient process with better results.” Currently, Camilo works in Kiwibot as a service desk engineer.

Secondly, there is Alvin David Gregory , an electronic and biomedical engineer. He chose a career in robotics because, “robotics is the next revolution, and I want to help make our lives more efficient with robots.” Alvin works at Kiwibot as an entrepreneur in residence and data engineer.

Last but not least, there is Salomon Granada, an electronic engineer, currently working as a control and integration engineer at Kiwibot. He chose a robotics career in order to, “be part of the next precedent of change in the world. I want robots to get involved in our day-to-day. Working in robotics means working on the future.”

The skills you need

If you have gotten this far, you may be starting to wonder what you need to stand out in a robotics career.

As the field of robotics grows, so does the need for professionals with the necessary skills for the market. In other words, "for robotics, we are just at the beginning of demand for talent,"  as Ann Walsh, CEO and cofounder of Robots.Jobs pointed out.

Spoiler: If you are looking for a magic recipe to be a good roboticist, there is none. But here is a list of skills to consider, both technical and soft.

Technical skills:

Ultimately, these depend on the career you studied. Here is a short list:

  • Mechanical aptitude: how machines work and how to fix them.
  • Basic understanding of how robotics sensors and actuators work: for example, cameras, stereo cameras, lidars, radars, GNSS, ultrasonic sensors, motors.
  • Experience with ROS or the newer ROS2 and their associated tools: gazebo, rviz, mapviz, rosbag.
  • Basic understanding of how machine learning algorithms work, especially those that process sensor data like camera images or lidar point clouds.
  • Basic understanding of control, path planning, and state estimation algorithms.
  • Programming Skills: write code and make C++ and Python your best friends.

Soft skills:

  • Active listening: you must listen to learn from others.
  • Documentation: how to write good documents for your projects.
  • Resilience: embrace frustration to learn from your mistakes.
  • Research discipline: stay up-to-date with the latest developments.
  • Self-taught: most of the time, you will have to figure out how to do stuff on your own.
  • Teamwork: you won’t be able to do this alone, be a good team player.

Robotics jobs

After finishing a robotics career, you need to look for a job, which means beginning the adventure. To accompany you in this process, we recommend the following:

  1. See what it’s like to work on robotics: go read “A day in the life of AI & Robotics Engineers at Kiwibot” to get immersed in the day-to-day of two of our engineers, from sunup to sundown.
  2. Remember robotics has room for everyone: you will enjoy reading “The World of Robotics is Also Woman's World”
  3. Join a robotics startup internship to start: there is a 4-to-6-month program we call the U-Startup program, in which you will have the chance to know Kiwibot inside out and experience the real robotics startup environment through intensive training and exposure.

We hope this information has been useful for those who needed it. We wish you the best of success in your robotics careers and we will be waiting for you at Kiwibot. If you want to be part of the future, come and join us.

María José Guzmán R.