I have been a robot Programmer for two years now. I really enjoy what i do but I am tired of working ridiculous hours or traveling constantly. Has anyone of you found a job with under 50 hrs a week without traveling? I have tried two different companies now and I am thinking of getting out of the field all together, is there any hope?
Unfortunately that seems to be the nature of the beast. From my skeptical, burned-out experience, the reasons for the constant recruitment ads for programmers:
Robots aren't deployed on the system integrator's floor, they are deployed at the customer factory site. Travel required.
All other parts of the machine / system are done FIRST, and THEN the RobotGuys are sent to finish up. Usually by this time the schedule is way behind and time must be made up by the programmers. Long hours required.
Too many places are still run very badly and a "throw it over the wall" mentality masquerades as "team work". A lotta BS. By the time the programmer gets it, all the supporting "team" members are deployed on other projects and can't be bothered to fix all the mistakes. Long hours & pressure to patch it all up on the customer floor. I've been "stranded" at customer sites on several occasions by miserable management teams who think their job is to deploy a warm body to the customer floor. I once had to beg the plant manager for a weekend off to go back home for my wife's birthday.
If your job is Manufacturing Engineering, then robot programming is only a small portion of the work done. Production Managers are only concerned with getting their parts out the door, on THEIR schedule. Robot breakdowns, repairs, upgrades, and programming changes occur at 230AM on Sunday night. Oh, and they only give you 1-1/2 hours time slot, so you had better get it done.
Robot programming is a lot like crack cocaine (or so I've heard). You get hooked on it.
Consider going freelance. I have friends who do that , and it is quite lucrative. It requires travel, though, but you are more in control. Regarding job liability & task responsibility, many of the freelancers I know adopt the mentality of "I sell programming HOURS, not SOLUTIONS" as a way of not getting stranded forever a badly concepted system job.
Good article for robotman