If you’re thinking about entering the industry, you may be wondering what the salary of a robotics engineer is like at various stages of a career. This article provides data for the average annual totals of a variety of robotics engineer salaries, along with information on what these different roles can involve.
What Does a Robotics Engineer Do?
A robotics engineer designs, builds and operates robotics machines and systems that carry out automated actions and tasks across a huge range of different industries. They bridge the gap between mechanical and electrical engineering and computer science, finding ways to integrate technologies and coming up with intuitive solutions to a variety of problems.
Robotics engineers take their knowledge of practical engineering and combine it with concepts such as control theory, automation and even cognitive psychology. As well as projects designing systems or machines for manufacturing, security, defence and other industries, robotics engineers may also be involved in more commercial projects where systems and devices are marketed to the public.
You need to have a range of competencies to be a successful robotics engineer, as the role can involve creative thinking and problem solving, technical design and construction, troubleshooting, refinement and development, and maintenance and continued monitoring of a variety of things. Many robotic systems are starting to be used to perform critical tasks in the medical, defence and transport sectors, so robotics engineers must be thorough and precise in their work to avoid issues.
In any robotics engineering role, common tasks and responsibilities include:
- Designing new robotic systems or machinery
- Using computer-aided design programs to create models and plans for robots
- Designing software that will control robotic systems
- Responding to client or customer briefs and requests with ideas for new robotics products
- Testing and evaluating robotic prototypes or simulations
- Reviewing test or prototype data and updating designs
- Refining robotic systems and machinery that have been designed
- Installing new systems and equipment in a variety of locations and situations
- Integrating new robotics technology with existing machines and systems
- Providing technical support after robots have been installed or delivered
- Writing technical instructions, maintenance guides or standards for new robotic technology
- Researching and estimating project or material costs
- Fixing any malfunctions or errors that occur with robotic systems and machines
- Staying up to date with the latest robotics and automation technologies and advances in the industry
What is the Starting Salary for a Robotics Engineer?
The robotics engineer salary range is wide, with starting salaries tending to be very competitive. Robotics is an industry where many companies are increasing their investments, and many people see it as a key area for innovation and future success. Combined with the fact that robotics is a field of engineering that requires a high level of skill and technical understanding, the salaries tend to be higher on average than a lot of other engineer sectors.
The National Careers Service gives an average annual salary of £27,500 for those starting a career in robotics engineering. This can be lower if you are beginning with a role that is more focused on maintenance and operation over design and manufacture, such as a job as a technician.
A starting salary for robotics engineers also really depends on the size of the company they are working for and where they are going to be working. Larger organisations will offer higher starting salaries to their new employees, whereas smaller companies may not be able to match this.
Robotics engineers working in London will also earn more at the start of their career than those working in other parts of the country. There are also plenty of robotics engineers jobs in other places in the world, particularly America and areas in Asia, where salaries may differ from the average in this country.
Types of Robotics Engineer
Robots and computer-operated machinery are used in a huge variety of different situations, meaning that robotics engineers can find jobs across a wide range of industries. Numerous different roles fall under the umbrella of robotics engineering, the most common of which we have listed below.
A robotics operator is often the first step on the career ladder for individuals who do not take a university degree but want to become a robotics engineer. Entry-level roles are available to anyone with a basic understanding and experience working with robotics and machinery, so it’s a great role to take up after completing an apprenticeship or vocational course.
As a robotics operator, you are in charge of making robotic and computer-controlled equipment and machines run smoothly and efficiently. You will have to gain a good understanding of the tech you are working with, be able to identify and solve problems, and work with other robotic technicians or engineers.
Robotics operators work in a variety of different industries. The average annual salary for this role in the UK is £25,410, according to data from Glassdoor.
Graduate Robotics Engineer
As a graduate robotics engineer, you will just have completed your university degree or equivalent qualification and usually be starting the first job of your career. A wide range of different companies offer engineering graduate schemes for those who have studied robotics, or you can apply for other robotics jobs that are looking for lower levels of experience.
Data from the National Careers Service states that the graduate robotics engineer annual salary in the UK is £27,500. Robotics is a valuable and growing branch of engineering, so salaries are higher on average in this sector than in others.
Many engineering students combine a year in the industry with their degree course or take part in summer internships between their years of study. If you are offered a permanent job at the end of your degree because of this your starting salary may be higher, as you will already have experience in the role.
Robotics technicians have some of the most hands-on roles within the robotics field of engineering. They are in charge of building different robotic systems and devices and carrying out repairs and routine maintenance to ensure that everything is working as it should.
A robotic technician also troubleshoots any issues that arise with the robots they work with and performs system and component updates and adjustments to refine the machine’s design. They may also program the robots to perform new tasks.
Robotics technician jobs also often involve creating system documentation for the robotic systems or machines that can include instructions or maintenance information. It’s a role that tends to work closely with robotics engineers, but involves more practical work than this role.
The average salary for a robot technician in the UK is £30,744 according to data from PayScale. Your salary will greatly depend on the kind of technician experience you have however and whether you train as a specialist for certain types of robots.
Senior Robotics Engineer
A senior robotics engineer is someone who has worked in the industry for over 10-15 years and has moved up the ranks in their time, gaining more responsibility and being placed in charge of other robotics engineers, technicians or operators. Many senior robotics engineers have also specialised in a certain field within the industry or have become an expert in a specific branch of robotics development or type of machine or system.
Data from the National Careers Service states that a senior robotics engineer’s annual salary is £55,500. In director or management positions this can be even more, increasing up to around £80,000 a year.
Chartered Robotics Engineer
In the majority of cases, all kinds of engineers who are registered as chartered earn more in their roles than those who do not have chartered status. This is true for all robotics engineer salaries.
Data from the Engineering Council found that the average annual salary for a chartered engineer was £63,000. As a chartered robotics engineer, you can expect a similar salary once you have been working in the industry and progressed in your role for a number of years.
What degree do you need to be a robotics engineer?
Whilst you do not necessarily need a university degree in order to become a robotics engineer, it is the qualification path that many students go down. Studying a BEng or an MEng degree in Robotics Engineering is the most straightforward way to start your career, but Mechatronics, Mechanical Engineering, Electronics Engineering and Computer Science are all also degrees that will get you jobs in the same field.
It is also possible to become a robotics engineer without a university degree by studying for an equivalent level qualification instead. Degree apprenticeships are available for robotic engineers, or you can study an engineering or computer science Higher National Diploma or equivalent vocational course.
What is automation and robotics engineering?
Automation and robotics engineering is the intersection between two different engineering disciplines. It involves using automation and control systems to control robots, usually to perform tasks that reduce the need for human labour and can make a process more efficient.
Not all robotics work involves automation, and not all automation and control systems use robotics. However, the crossover between the two is where some of the most exciting innovations in technology and engineering are currently taking place, and an understanding of both branches of engineering can be very useful in any kind of robotics or automation role.
Understanding what the average salaries for robotics engineers are across various roles and levels of experience can be very useful, whether you’re looking for robotics engineering roles yourself or hiring engineers in these positions. It’s a particularly exciting area of engineering at the moment as robotics and automation continue to be further integrated into many aspects of daily life, and those working in the industry can expect competitive salaries and a wide range of opportunities.
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