Our world today is unlike what has been experienced by those in the previous centuries. We have become heavily dependent on technology so much that many processes in our household, communities and workplaces are constantly automated to make life easier and enjoyable.
This is mostly due to the contribution of a team of experts who infuse technology into everyday processes. Robotic engineers are one of such people, they help with the building of robots and smart equipment used in every sector today.
I would be giving you a detailed guide on the practical steps to take to become a Robotics Engineer in South Africa.
How to Become a Robotics Engineer in South Africa
Robotics engineers are professionals who have studied the principles and techniques applied in the field of robotic engineering. Their own type of engineering is focused on building and designing machines for different industries such as manufacturing, automotive, service, hospitality, medical and also individuals who make use of automated equipment to perform what one would consider as repetitive or hazardous jobs.
Every robotics engineer is concerned with the following processes throughout the lifetime of their career;
- conducting research in different areas of robotics to aid in making cost-effective and safe robotic systems
- designing processes and prototypes to be implemented in the development stage of the project
- Testing and maintaining software controlling robotic systems.
Individuals who work as robotics engineers should be able to demonstrate a good knowledge of automation processes and computer systems which can be used in developing safe and cost-effective machines.
Their work also involves a lot of problem-solving and analytical approach to the situation because they may spend months and sometimes years in identifying solutions to design problems before implementing and launching to the general public.
Now that you have an idea of what a robotics engineer does here are some steps you should take in realizing your dreams of becoming a robotics engineer.
Take Related Courses in High School
Robotics engineering is a science-related subject hence, you should be in the science class with the aim to pass all science subjects (physics, further mathematics, computer science) including English and Mathematics. Many South African universities always want candidates with good scores in these areas.
Good background knowledge in these courses makes it good for you to understand the courses to be introduced into your learning curriculum when admitted into the university.
You could also take a step further by joining a tech community of young people for mentoring and exposure while still in high school. The activities carried out would help you understand if this career path is suitable for you.
Get a Degree from an Accredited University in South Africa
Once you have a good NSE certificate, the next step would be for you to make sure to get a bachelors degree from a reputable university in South Africa.
These schools have their specific requirements used to screen prospective candidates looking to study at their university. But I would advise that check the requirements of your desired school months before the entrance examination date, this gives you time to make adequate preparation ahead.
You should apply for degrees in mechanical, electrical, industrial, computer science engineering if there are no options for robotics engineering in your university of choice. Studying these courses would give you an opportunity to understand how systems work and the processes involved in their development.
Further your Education
Getting a masters degree in robotics engineering isn’t compulsory but if done gives you an added advantage in the pool of applicants during a job recruitment process.
These programs teach you the recent advances in most fields of robotics and also improves your research skills which are needed for completion of your project required for graduation.
Get Experience through Internships
Getting experience via internship positions is a great way to start building your skills as a robotics engineer, it also gives you access to a community of engineers who can serve as mentors willing to guide you throughout your career.
You can also consider attending training programs during breaks from school as it gives an avenue to earn certification while still being trained on hand-on-techniques. During your spare time from all of these, you can make use of the skills learnt in developing projects which can be added to your portfolio.
Once you are done with school and are looking to navigate the job market, I would recommend you finding a mentor either through networking during meetings and training or reaching out directly to them via private message on social media channels such as Linkedin.
Having a mentor helps you avoid certain mistakes newbies would make without guidance and it would be a good place to jumpstart your careers as your mentor would be willing to help you find opportunities needed to navigate the next stage of your career.