What Is Automation Engineering? Definition and Career Advice
Updated 21 July 2022
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Engineering affects almost every aspect of daily life, from creating bridges to the cars that drive over them. With changing technologies and growing populations, automation engineers look for ways to make daily life easier for employees, consumers and companies by automating certain systems, like store checkouts or assembly lines. Knowing more about this engineering discipline can help you make an informed decision about whether you want to pursue this career path. In this article, we discuss what is automation engineering, what thpse in this role do and how you can become one.
What is automation engineering?
Automation engineering is an engineering discipline that focuses on improving the efficiency of various manufacturing and computer processes by automating certain parts of the system. Automation engineers plan and change existing technology so that it needs less human interaction, and they monitor the performance of the changes they make. Sometimes, an automation engineer may design entirely new technology to automate a system. Automation engineers can be traditional engineers who work with physical machines or software engineers who work with programming languages.
What do automation engineers do?
The specific duties of an automation engineer vary depending on whether they are working with machines or programming, but the general responsibilities remain the same. Automation engineers work with engineering teams to develop the systems of automation. They have meetings to determine how they want to automate a system and control the process after automation. After these meetings, they lead the implementation of changes or new technology and oversee the quality assurance process. Here are some more specific duties to give you a broader understanding of an automation engineer's role:
Communicate with clients about requirements
Research and design automation technology
Create and establish a connection between information inputs, controllers and outputs
Establish monitoring and quality assurance processes
Handle defects or errors in the technology
Improve efficiency for human workers or other systems
Is automation engineering a good career?
Automation engineering has the potential to be a good career for someone with the technical skills and desire to pursue a career in a technological field. Here are some frequently asked questions about a career in automation engineering:
What is the salary?
The average salary for an automation engineer is ₹6,34,176 per year. This salary may change depending on what your experience is and where you work. For example, in Bengaluru, Karnataka, automation engineers have an average salary of ₹7,65,524 per year, while the average salary of an automation engineer in Kolkata is ₹4,51,197 per year.
What is an automation engineer in IT?
An automation engineer can work with information technology to automate solutions specifically for software processes. They work with IT teams to discover problems within IT systems. They use their expertise to design and implement automation solutions that can improve the processing capabilities of the computer network.
Are automation engineers in demand?
Automation is a growing field in technology and manufacturing. As technology continues to improve, more and more tasks are likely to be automated. This means that demand for automation engineers may grow as well. The salary for an automated engineer is usually higher than for other IT professionals, indicating the profession is in demand. For example, the average salary of a software test engineer is ₹4,93,202 per year, which is around ₹2,00,000 less than an automation engineer.
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Automation engineering skills
Automation engineers possess many skills that help them create reliable automation systems for their clients. The basic skills required to be an automation engineer include:
When starting a new project to automate a system, automation engineers may have to manage an engineering team. Leadership skills are necessary to ensure that the new or changed systems work efficiently for the client. The automation engineer on such a team probably knows the most about automation and can lead their team through client requirements, design plans and implementation. Being able to manage a team well leads to more efficient outcomes for clients, so this is a valuable skill.
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A good automation engineer looks for new opportunities to upgrade their automated processes and increase productivity. They can accomplish this by staying active in their engineering networks, paying attention to transforming technologies and seeking extra information to improve plans. Those with innovation skills are usually more creative too, which often leads to better problem-solving abilities.
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Programming is an essential skill for automation engineers to create their systems. This can mean computer programming with coding software solutions or programming physical machines like robotic assembly lines. Either way, programming systems to take inputs and create outputs based on certain requirements is a necessary function of automation, since a human may not be there to control the systems manually.
This skill is most important for those automation engineers who work with more traditional machinery automation. They may need to build and maintain the machines they work on. These engineers use their understanding of mechanics to find problems with machinery and repair them. They also design systems of machines to automate more efficient processes.
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Written communication is essential to an engineer because they use it to communicate with their teams and clients about the problems they identify and the solutions they are implementing. They also use communication to understand the history and uses of the machines and software they work with. This can give them insight into what processes need to be changed. They write detailed reports about the work they do so future engineers can understand their systems.
Automation engineers also use verbal communication to speak with their clients and teams. They give directions to their team members for efficient workflows. They also communicate with their clients about problems the client is facing with their system, and what solutions they are interested in.
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Automation engineers use flexibility and creativity to find innovative ways of improving automation and workflow processes for their clients. They use flexibility to juggle different projects. When an original design needs to be changed, an automation engineer uses their flexibility to continue to work on the problem and come up with different solutions.
How to become an automation engineer
Here are some steps you can follow to become an automation engineer:
1. Earn a bachelor's degree
Most automation engineers have a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering. These degrees have courses in relevant topics like statistics, databases or robotics. You can take the Joint Entrance Test (JEE) to gain admission to engineering colleges that offer these technical programmes. While you are in college, try making connections with your professors and peers. These connections can help you develop a community in the field, which may be useful when you are looking for a job.
Related: Top 10 Jobs With Mechanical Engineering Degree
2. Get an internship
Many students work internships while they are pursuing their engineering education. Interning while studying can help you gain valuable on-the-job training. It can also help you establish connections to the professional community that can help you get a job after graduation. When applying for jobs, you can put your internship on your CV as experience and list any supervisors from your internship as references. An internship can also be a valuable resource to help you decide what type of automation you want to pursue professionally.
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3. Pick a speciality
There are a variety of industries that use automation engineers. The two most common types are mechanical and software automation. If you are interested in machines and in figuring out how they work, consider pursuing mechanical automation. If you want to work in an office and focus more on coding or internal systems, pursue software engineering. Picking a speciality can help you narrow down the skills you should develop to be a successful engineer. It can also help you find a niche of clients and agencies to work with.
4. Advance your education
Some companies prefer candidates with master's degrees in automation engineering. You can still apply for engineering jobs without an advanced degree. However, to improve your resume, consider pursuing experience in an industry like food processing, biotechnology, systems design or manufacturing. These industries can help you build the necessary experience and skill set through on-the-job training.
5. Apply for jobs
Look for automation engineering jobs in your area that are in your chosen speciality. Reach out to professors and old mentors from your internships. You can also search for jobs online. Create a list of jobs that you want to apply for and write a targeted resume for each job. This means putting specific phrases in your CV that highlight the skills and experience a specific job description states as a requirement.
Stay organised by keeping track of which jobs you apply to and what jobs you want to follow up on. When you hear from a company, be sure to practise interview questions, so you can make a good impression.
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries vary depending on the hiring organisation and candidate experience, academic background, and location.
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