The job of a robotics technician is to design and maintain automated robotic systems. These technicians must be knowledgeable in a variety of areas, such as mechanical repair, electric circuit design, and computer programming. A two year associate's degree is usually required for individuals in this career.
Robotics technicians work in many different locations. Some are employed by factories and automation facilities. Industrial robots in these places usually have a specific job, such as welding or painting. Any time that a robot breaks or malfunctions, a robotics expert is responsible for diagnosing and repairing the problem. Robot techs must be able to work under pressure in order to minimize factory downtime and fix problems quickly.
Malfunctions in robotic systems are not always caused by physical problems, but can also be created by computer errors. A robotics technician must understand the programming code used to control a device. Technicians often must search through many lines of programming code in order to discover a mistake, and then re-program a robot to function properly. The ability to work methodically and patiently is a vital skill for workers in this profession.
Robotics technicians use a variety of diagnostic and repair tools. These include oscilloscopes and multimeters, which are used to measure electrical signals. Technicians must also be familiar with programmable logic controllers and electronics schematics, in order to determine the source of a malfunction.
Training for robot techs begins at the high school level. Individuals who are interested in this career typically take classes in science and mathematics. Many workers also attend a technical college or trade school to obtain an associate's degree in robotics technology. Over a period of two years, robotics students typically learn about microprocessors, hydraulics, electronics, and other technologies used to create robots.
The education of a robotics technician does not always stop at the college level. Many workers receive specialized training from an employer. Companies that use robots often train workers in the detailed specifics of a particular robotic device or model. Technicians gain valuable experience by working hands-on with robots in actual factory locations.
Some technicians become supervisors or trainers, and provide education about robotic systems to other workers. Robotics trainers work for technical companies, trade schools, and colleges, and demonstrate the proper way to use and repair robots. Technicians with high levels of experience can be hired by robot manufacturers, and provide advice on ways to improve new robotic systems.