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  • Writer's pictureTrish Pintar

Is Industrial Automation a Good Career?

What is a good career? And can you find one in industrial automation? The short answer is “yes.”

Whether you’re already part of the workforce or are looking ahead to future opportunities, there can be pressure to find a good career. But what really is a good career? For some, it’s the ability to learn, develop, and grow within their role. For others, high wages or industry stability are a priority. Many jobseekers look for a combination of factors when determining whether a particular career is really a “good job” – and industrial automation ticks the boxes. It’s a great industry to get into for those who are interested in designing, developing, and maintaining systems that control and monitor industrial processes.

An industrial robot

Industrial automation services a wide range of market sectors, such as manufacturing, energy, transportation, and healthcare. Automation is also in high demand; as more industries push to invest in automation, the market for industrial automation equipment and servicing, the demand will continue to rise. Automation is constantly evolving and innovating as more industries embrace automation. It is the perfect industry for individuals who want to continuously learn, troubleshoot new problems, and innovate new technology.

Industrial automation is a broad industry that encapsulates a variety of roles – regardless of your background, interests, skills, or experience, there are exciting opportunities to be found.  The automation field is continuously evolving, providing ample opportunities for growth in your career. If your goal is a career in industrial automation, there are many different paths you can take to get there.

There are three primary technical roles within automation:

Robot Programmer: Responsible for designing, maintaining, and optimizing the control systems necessary to operate robotic applications. Robot Programmers write, test, and modify programs that direct the actions of robotic equipment, and are responsible for the maintenance of the robot systems. They work closely with engineers, designers, and operators to ensure robotic processes function smoothly for optimum performance, and they train operators to run the robot properly.

Controls Technician: Responsible for commission, setup, installation, and programming of PLCs (programmable logic controllers) and HMIs (human-machine interfaces). Controls Technicians develop and design control systems logic, and are responsible for diagnosis, calibration, maintenance, and repair of control systems and processes. This role requires rapid troubleshooting when controls exceed or fall below expectations, to minimize production delays.

Machine Vision Engineer: Responsible for integrating and supporting advanced inspection technologies and machine vision solutions for automated applications. A Machine Vision Engineer specializes in developing and implementing algorithms, systems, and technologies that enable computers to interpret and various inputs. They configure, debug, and maintain vision system hardware and software and integrate vision systems with robotics and other automation systems.

If your sights are set on roles like PLC programming or vision engineering, you may consider studying mechanical, mechatronics, or electrical engineering or engineering technician programs. Engineers in the field have the chance to work with state-of-the-art technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and advanced control systems. The constant evolution within the industry affords engineers the opportunity to push the boundaries of what is possible and engage in work that is intellectually stimulating and can affect real change in the world.

As industries across the globe continue to adopt automation to stay competitive, the demand for skilled automation engineers is soaring. This high demand translates into competitive salaries and ample job opportunities. Engineers in industrial automation are well-positioned to negotiate lucrative compensation packages while enjoying strong job security.

Engineering is not the only path forward to an exciting and fulfilling career in industrial automation. With the rapid expansion of automation solutions across a breadth of market verticals also comes an increased need for experienced technicians to maintain and repair automated devices. Skilled tradespeople, including electricians, technicians, machinists, and maintenance professionals, are indispensable in the industrial automation sector. From installing and maintaining robotic systems to troubleshooting complex machinery, tradespeople have diverse career paths within this industry. The demand for hands-on skills ensures a variety of opportunities for those who prefer practical, on-site work. With the increasing integration of automation in various industries, skilled tradespeople in industrial automation enjoy a stable job market, with ample opportunities for career growth and development such as up-skilling or moving in to supervisory or specialist roles.

Industrial automation is a field that is dynamic and constantly evolving, requiring constant learning and adaptation to new technologies. As more and more processes can become automated and companies continue to shift away from manual processes, talent will be needed to program, monitor, and maintain the robotic components that support increased automation. If technical work isn’t in your wheelhouse, that doesn’t mean the automation industry isn’t the right fit. Industrial automation companies also offer opportunities in Human Resources, Finance, Marketing, Business Development, and other administrative functions.

The combination of cutting-edge technology, complex problem-solving, job stability, and collaboration makes this industry an attractive choice for those seeking to make a meaningful impact while enjoying professional growth and financial success. As we continue to witness the transformative power of automation, the individuals driving this change are sure to find their careers equally transformative and fulfilling.

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