Careers in Robotics: 

Robotics is the future and it involves so much more than just “building robots”.

There are several routes to the field with each placing a focus of study on a different core part of robotics:

  • “The Body” – Mechanical Engineering – This branch of engineering looks at the physical systems which make up a robot. Subtopics like mechanics, materials engineering and manufacturing are core to industrial robotics. Often mechanical engineering courses will have specialization in mechatronics or robotics, but will be focused more on physical design and actuation.
  • “The Nervous System” – Electrical and Electronic Engineering – This branch of engineering gives a basis in electronics, embedded systems, low-level programming and control theory. Often electrical engineering courses will also provide specializations in robotics or automation, which will be centered around the control of robots rather than the mechanical design.
  • “The Brain” – Computer Science – A lot of people in research seem to enter robotics through computer science. This trend is likely to continue as standard robotic hardware platforms become the norm. Common platforms remove the research focus from the physical hardware and instead concentrate on software and high-level programming. Often these courses will include robotic programming topics such as Artificial Intelligence and Software Design. It is usually at this level of study where those with a background in psychology and related fields can enter robotics.



  1. Robotics industry. Discuss the following with your counselor:
    • The kinds of things robots can do and how robots are best used today.
    • The similarities and differences between remote-control vehicles, telerobots, and autonomous robots.
    • Three different methods robots can use to move themselves other than wheels or tracks. Describe when it would be appropriate to use each method.
  2. General knowledge. Discuss with your counselor three of the five major fields of robotics (human-robot interface, mobility, manipulation, programming, sensors) and their importance to robotics development. Discuss either the three fields as they relate to a single robot system OR talk about each field in general. Find pictures or at least one video to aid your discussion.
  4.  Design, build, program, test. Do each of the following:

    1. With your counselor’s approval, choose a task for the robot or robotic subsystem that you plan to build. Include sensor feedback and programming in the task. Document this information in your robot engineering notebook.
    2. Design your robot. The robot design should use sensors and programming and have at least 2 degrees of freedom. Document the design in your robot engineering notebook using drawings and a written description.
    3. Build a robot or robotic subsystem of your original design to accomplish the task you chose for requirement 4a.
    4. Discuss with your counselor the programming options available for your robot. Then do either option 1 OR option 2.
      1. (1)  Option 1. Program your robot to perform the task you chose for your robot in 4a. Include a sample of your program’s source code in your robot engineering notebook.
      2. (2)  Option 2. Prepare a flowchart of the desired steps to program your robot for accomplishing the task in 4a. Include procedures that show activities based on sensor inputs. Place this in your robot engineering notebook.

    Test your robot and record the results in your robot engineering notebook. Include suggestions on how you could improve your robot, as well as pictures or sketches of your nished robot.

    1. Demonstrate. Do the following:
      1. Demonstrate for your counselor the robot you built in requirement 4.
      2. Share your robot engineering notebook with your counselor. Talk about how well your robot accomplished the task, the improvements you would make in
        your next design, and what you learned about the design process.
    2. Competitions. Do ONE of the following.
        1. Attend a robotics competition and report to your counselor what you saw and learned about the competition and how teams are organized
          and managed.
        2. Learn about three youth robotics competitions. Tell your counselor about these, including the type of competition, time commitment, age of the participants, and how many teams are involved.


    3. Careers. Name three career opportunities in robotics. Pick one and nd out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.