The robotics industry is constantly changing and evolving. New robotics technologies and developments in automation are quickly creating exciting career opportunities at every education level – from micro-credentials to PhDs. Here is where you can learn more about robotics careers in manufacturing and how these new technologies are benefiting workers
As our advanced technologies, like robotics and artificial intelligence, continue to evolve, our skills as a workforce will also need to evolve. Today, there is a disparity between the state of technology and workers' skills. Advanced manufacturing technology requires different training from traditional techniques, which creates a disparity between the abilities of the workforce and the needs of the manufacturers.
Perhaps no industry better exemplifies this disparity than the manufacturing industry. In the blossoming of what we call "Industry 4.0," manufacturing is coming to rely more and more on robots as part of the process. This, in turn, is driving a growing need for workers who are skilled in robotics, to fill the gap of workers needed to operate advanced manufacturing technology.
The problem is that simply not enough robotics workers are out there to fill all of the necessary roles, and that problem is on trend to continue for years to come.
So how do we address that problem? How do we adapt our workforce to meet the needs of advanced manufacturing technology?
Many current manufacturing workers who aren't skilled in robotics actually already have a great set of core skills to build upon. Mechanical skills, electrical skills, and programming skills, these are all necessary to excel in working with robots, and many of those in our current manufacturing workforce are already proficient in one or more of these areas.
Through a combination of more traditional education options, like community colleges and trade schools, as well as on-the-job training, these workers can be upskilled into robotics technicians. Even without a manufacturing background, jobs as a Robotics Technician typically require two-degrees or trade school certifications. For workers who already have a lot of the foundational skills, it will be even less of a time investment to train them to work with robots on the manufacturing floor.
Of course, we can't just upskill our way out of this problem. While it's important to invest in our current workforce, we also need to invest in the future robotics workforce. That means supporting and funding education and training programs that will help get more people skilled in robotics.
There are many younger students who are interested in robotics, but they're not sure what jobs exist or the training needed for these jobs. We need to be doing more to support them and give them the resources they need to get started.
We need to do more to support and encourage diversity in robotics. That means making an effort to bring robotics education and training programs to underrepresented groups, like women and minorities. No matter how far advanced manufacturing technology goes, we will need to continue to bring underrepresented groups into the fold of manufacturing, for the benefit of all parties involved.
There are so many brilliant minds out there that would excel in robotics, but they aren't being shown the training opportunities that could lead them to a robotics career. That's something we have to change.
We need to include everyone. Not just because it’s a nice thing to do, but because there is a need for everyone to fill this gap in manufacturing and to give everyone an opportunity to make a living wage.
Robotics is still a young field, and inclusivity means that it will be shaped and molded by a wider variety of perspectives and voices. But we have to make the effort to create that diversity that, in the end, will only make it better. Advanced manufacturing technology is making the future, and we must shape it to help all of us.