How to Become an Automation Engineer
In today’s climate, IT professionals have just about as diverse a range of career options as anybody else. One such pathway that such a professional can take is automation engineering. If you have a passion for machinery, enjoy being detail oriented, and fancy making a boatload of cash, then this could be the industry for you.
To see what it takes to become an automation engineer, make sure to read on.
First of all, decide if it’s for you
The first thing you need to do is decide if automation engineering is actually for you — there’s no point devoting so much of your time and effort to training to become an engineer in this field, only to then discover that the job isn’t your passion.
As an automation engineer, you would be tasked with designing and programming different pieces of tech that will, one day, help businesses to automate their daily processes. You could find yourself engineering robots for packaging, you could build a machine used to streamline food processing, or you could create devices that allow vehicle manufacturing to take place without human input.
Embarking on this particular route with your career will see you work on different pieces of technology from their concept stage, through the prototype stage, right through to their distribution. You would think-up and then build the tech that you produce, which means you have to be incredibly creative as well as pretty hands-on.
When choosing your next big career move, it’s always advisable to take employment outlook into consideration. Fortunately, in the field of automation engineering, the forecasted employment outlook is looking incredibly healthy. More and more companies are now trying to lessen their human workload by embracing automated tech, which means that the demand for engineers in the field is on the rise.
Get the education
You can’t just step into the world of automation engineering. There are a set of education requirements that need to be fulfilled if you want to stand any chance of not only finding success in this industry but entering into it in the first place.
Fear not if you are yet to come across a degree program that is centered around automation engineering explicitly, as there aren’t many that are. There are a number of routes that can be taken, though, one of which being the electrical engineering route. By taking a Bachelor’s degree in this field, you will learn about everything from robotics to fluid dynamics to automation statistics.
If you really want to kickstart your career or take it to the next level, then you should also consider taking a postgrad course in this subject, too. Be wise when it comes to the specific course that you enroll yourself upon in this instance, though. You should weigh up your options and only opt for a program if it imparts knowledge about a strand of electronics that you are going to find useful going forward. If you want to get into computer programming in your career, for instance, then you should opt for the Electrical Engineering Masters program by Michigan Tech due to its Mathematical and Computational Methods course. By having your career in mind when you pick your course, you’ll set yourself up for future success in the best way possible.
To give yourself the best chance possible of landing a lucrative career in automation engineering, you need to get yourself properly licensed and certified. By doing so, you will prove to your potential employers that you are someone who takes their work in the field incredibly seriously. You will also prove to be reliable, as they will deem you unlikely to transfer your expertise to another field in the IT industry.
A popular form of licensing that most automation engineers seek is the control system engineer license. By holding this, you will demonstrate yourself able to understand basic instrumentation controls.
Harness a number of skills
You’re going to need to harness the following skills if you want to stand any chance of being an automation engineer:
- Extensive knowledge of software development
- Troubleshooting abilities
- An understanding of how even the most complex of system tests can be performed
- The abilities to be both creative and detail orientated at the same time
- Pinpoint manual dexterity skills
- Clear and coherent communication abilities
You shouldn’t just seek to become an automation engineer, you should seek to become a successful one. To take your career in the field to the next level, you need to:
- Possess excellent technical programming abilities
- Become knowledgable when it comes to certain programming languages, such as Java, SQL, Python, HTML, and CSS
- Understand each application that you use
- Learn how to determine ATLC methodology
- Remain up-to-date with the very latest testing trends
If you’re a freelance automation engineer, especially, you need to learn to market yourself and your capabilities. Only then will you get the steady string of custom you need to survive in this highly completive field. Two ways to market yourself include learning to code like a developer and learning to design systems as if you were an architect.
Automation engineering is a highly lucrative field to forge a career in. Recent reports say that professionals in this industry earn upwards of $100,000 per annum.
You’re never going to be able to find success in this field, however, if you don’t devote yourself to it. First of all, you need to know, without a doubt, that it is the industry for you — in order to give your all to this career, you simply have to feel passionate about it. You then need to educate yourself and gain licensure, both of these tasks taking a lot of time and extensive amounts of hard work to complete. You then need to harness a number of skills to see you remain competitive in the field, and you also need to market your capabilities proficiently. If you feel that you can do all of this, then nothing should hold you back from becoming an automation engineer.
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