A combination of inflation, a bear stock market, and a slowing economy mean that, once again, America is headed towards a recession. Exhausting as this fact may be, economists agree that it is now more a question of “when” than “if.”
With this in mind, many young workers and established professionals seeking to make a change are scouring the job market for positions that will remain in demand and pay well. These jobs are consistently needed for commerce to function, no matter the state of the economy, and ideally, have job openings available nationwide.
Becoming a robotics engineer may be the right move for those on this particular search. Today, we look at why working with robots is ideal and how opportunities can abound within this field based on the current supply and demand of workplace-ready professionals.
Skilled Labor that Remains Accessible
Traditionally, you would need a four-year university degree in an adjacent field to get your hands on a robot. Of course, if you hold a degree in civil engineering or computer science, you’re already well on your way to becoming adept at understanding how robots are developed and produced. When diving into the robotics labor markets, this may give you a leg up.
While having your foot in the door is helpful, many would like to enter this industry without an engineering degree. And, considering the impending changes in the American economy, there may be better financial game plans than spending four (more) years in college.
Opportunities for recognizable education still abound, no matter your monetary situation or timeline. If you find yourself in this situation, consider focusing on one aspect of the robotics industry that fascinates you and pursue the relevant certifications. For example, you may be intrigued by artificial intelligence (AI) research but hold less interest in parts repair and maintenance. In this case, look into the IBM AI Engineering Professional Certificate, which takes six weeks to complete, or another short-term, highly focused certification program.
Something as simple as a certificate or two can give you access to a job market that currently needs more professionals seeking new roles to fill the quantity demanded. Current projections show the robotics engineering professional market growing by 6.4% between 2016 and 2026. At the same time, the demand curve for robotics engineers continues to grow. More than 19,000 new jobs are projected to be formed in this field by 2029. Now is the perfect time to seek a robotics position that interests you!
A Dynamic Field
Much of the beauty of the modern robotics industry lies in its constant drive to innovate and adapt to meet the needs of the current market demand. Currently, exciting ventures are being explored within each subset of the robotics field.
In-home robotics began with small, familiar devices such as the mobile robot vacuum Roomba. However, as consumers have grown more accustomed to increasing numbers of machines in their homes, robots have started appearing in many corners of the American home. They are still helpful in performing tasks around the house, including mowing the lawn, but their roles have become more adaptable and less oriented to a single task.
If you own an Amazon Alexa, you are likely already aware of the convenience a virtual assistant can provide. Robots equipped with responsive AI technologies are becoming increasingly common in equipment intended for consumers. Some robots can now teach children about science and technology, which may be of assistance to parents of homeschooled children. Now, you can even own a robotic pet that can grow and adapt in a way that mimics a real animal!
A variety of small, moving virtual assistants remain in the planning and production stages, making small-scale robotics skills a popular knowledge in the current job market.
Manufacturing Movers and Shakers
On a larger scale, many aspects of the industrial robotics industry require humans’ skilled labor to be correctly handled and maintained.
If you imagine robots in manufacturing settings to be the simple robotic arms and vertical lifts from decades ago, think again. There is now aggregate demand for robotic assistance in nearly every step of the production process — along with skilled workers to make sure it all runs smoothly.
Take, for example, the robots with human-like “skin” around their articulators. Called “Wootzkin,” this living machine made of layers of biocompatible elastomer can be programmed to handle different materials gently or harshly based on the object’s texture. If a robot knows how to treat materials of varying quality, there may be fewer damaged goods or services that have to be altered by humans to fulfill online orders efficiently. This device may even be able to help medical professionals in the future as the search for non-intimidating mechanical assistance in surgical centers continues.
Robots have even begun to assist in automating the agricultural process. The Global Unmanned Spray System (GUSS) is an unmanned vehicle that covers orchards with pesticides or herbicides. An operator can monitor up to e ight of these machines from a single location, making it possible for one worker to get even more done. This robot can be part of a larger agricultural robotic system, or it can operate on its own.
Industrial-scale robots have even developed so far as to assemble themselves. ElectroVoxels, a current project at MIT, are nanobots that can rearrange themselves into many shapes according to their programming. They rely on electromagnets in their modules to stick together, making them equally affordable and durable. These little balls of innovation have become so popular that they are even headed to space! Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are exploring their use in routine vessel maintenance.
Of course, these machines can only partially operate on their own. Each relies on a programmer to get up and running, and a live human to monitor it and perform repairs as necessary.
A Bright Future
Whether you are fascinated by AI development or enjoy looking at the nuts and bolts of a brand-new machine, there is space in the robotics field for you. With job prospects looking up, and an economy that appears to be headed for troubled times once again, now is the perfect opportunity to explore a new career path. You’re ready to take the next step in your robotics journey.
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