The job boards are filled with promising and well-paid job offers.
So what are the requirements for becoming a robot programmer, what skills do an applicant need in order to have a chance to get a permanent employment?
First of all we have to define the term robot programmer. Most programmers are male, about 99,5%. I have personally only seen very few female robot programmers, maybe one for every 200 males. This is why I will use to the male pronoun in the following text, may the ladies please forgive me.
So, obviously a robot programmer programs industrial robots.
But there are three big differences when looking through job descriptions:
There are robot programmers working
- In manufacturing companies.
- For plant and machine fractures.
- For service providers and the robot manufacturers.
The robot specialist in manufacturing companies is responsible for making sure that the operation runs smoothly. He also has to optimize process and cycle time and manage the integration of new types as well the maintenance of his iron colleagues.
He might not know every detail of the programs of his robots, but he knows their quirks and errors and prevents interruptions of the production through precautionary maintenance.
From time to time he implements new production plants from the manufacturers and takes responsibility for them after the warranty expires.
He receives recognition from his colleagues and the management, can plan his vacation time in advance, but he has to take his business cell phone on vacation with him. It’s not common for him to have a company vehicle, at times he has to work overtime and occasionally even at night or on the weekends.
Usually he is a trained electrician, has attended some robot trainings and has a good understanding of the production processes in his company.
It doesn’t take long until he has learned everything about his field of responsibility.
He gets to be home every day in the evening, but he does not learn and earn as much as his traveling colleagues.
Usually his income lies between €3.000 and €5.000 (in Germany), his job is pretty safe in a major corporation, but especially in smaller companies he might get replaced by an independent service provider.
A Robot programmer at a plant or machine facturer puts the plants and robot cells for his company in operation.
He usually cooperates with one or two robot manufacturers, has prefabricated program structures and adapts these to the individual needs of the plants. He know his programs in every detail and he continuously expands his standard structure.
After commissioning the plant in his work place he takes it to his customer and makes sure that it is implemented the way the company wants it to. This means that he has to make sure that the cycle time or process safety are the way it is desired. He hands the machine over to the client’s robot specialist and when everything has worked out the way it is supposed to be, he can go home just in time for the weekend.
These implementations can go as fast 2-3 days, but if the project is more complicated it might also take weeks or months.
His job is paid well, he has a company vehicle and a business cell phone (also for private use) but his vacation often gets postponed. His income is somewhere between €3.500 and €5.500 plus traveling expenses. It happens more often than not that he has to work overtime, but he has a secure job.
He only gets to know very few robot manufacturers and fields of work as his employer prefers fast commissions and only distributes standard plants.
There is a higher risk of him finding his job tiring after a while, as well as the feeling like missing a challenge in his day-to-day work.
This is why the fluctuation in this field is pretty high.
The robot expert working for service providers or the robot manufacturers is putting robots in all different kinds of fields and applications in operation.
The programmer working for a manufacturer usually only works with one type of control technology while the employee at a service provider gets to know many types.
His job is usually very well-paid, depending on how many different types of robots and applications he knows. He also gets a company vehicle and a business cell phone for private use. He can usually take his vacation as planned. He’s also usually at home at the weekends, unless he has a commission for an automobile manufacturer.
Out of the three types of programmers he is on the road the most, but he also earns the most, around €3.500 to €6.000 plus traveling expenses.
He usually has a very fulfilling work and his labor is highly in demand.
Robot programmers working for service providers have a lot of variety in their work, they get to know many different places, people and robots.
If you like traveling, don’t mind staying in hotels during the week and like to take on new challenges, this might be the perfect job for you.