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Need Help Pursuing Career in Robotics

  1. Sep 5, 2015 #1
    Hello Everyone,

    I posted in Physics Forums back in 2011 trying to figure out what undergraduate Major to choose based off my interests. I had received very positive feedback then and am seeking more advice now that I am further along in my career.

    I am a recent undergrad graduate with a major in Engineering Physics; this major is a multi-disciplinary major including Advanced Physics, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and Programming. I have just completed an internship at NASA (which was not in the area of Robotics but in Aeronautics, another interest of mine that I would like to ultimately combine with Robotics) and would like to move further into the area of robotics. With that said, my biggest struggle is this:

    1. Do I try and get a job / internship in the area of robotics and go back to school later?
    2. OR do I immediately get into a Masters Degree program in Robotics and find a job later? If so, should I try and pick a school near a bunch of robotic companies? I ask this because my hometown has a robotics program but does not have robotics companies near by, which would require me to relocate and pay out of state tuition.
    3. I am ultimately looking to work on robotics involved in exoskeleton suits, would you know of any places offering internships in this area?

    I am struggling with the order to which I should do things. From what I understand, to work with/on Robots, I need more education. If you have any insight on this topic or have experienced this yourself, I would appreciate the advice.

    Thank you all so much, your advice is priceless!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 6, 2015 #2

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Companies often hire based on the skills you have shown on your resume so not having robotics listed means they won't consider you for such positions.

    My suggestion is to take some mechatronics, robotics and programming courses get your masters and/or PhD and then seek out companies doing research in robotics which is the current state of affairs in most robotics today.

    Other mentors with more ME/Robotics experience should comment on your post shortly.
     
  4. Sep 6, 2015 #3
    Thank you jedishrfu.

    Are you saying to take a few (free?) online courses in mechatronics, robotics and programming to start the ball rolling, then later dive into a masters program? And in general, would you know if a Masters program in Robotics is enough to get a job in the field, or do most companies prefer to hire those that have also completed there phD in Robotics?
     
  5. Sep 6, 2015 #4

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Sometimes serious hobbies listed on a resume can get your foot in the door. When I've interviewed students I'm more interested in the ones who have hobbies related to the job they've applied to. Hobbies show me that they have more than just an academic interest in the job.

    For your case. It wouldn't hurt to develop a hobby in doing a robotic project that featured hw and sw components.

    Also if you have the chance take some paid courses in programming micro controllers and mechatronics having academic credit lends credibility to your resume.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
  6. Sep 7, 2015 #5

    donpacino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    My two cents.

    If you want to do advanced development and/or research get your masters first. While you might consider yourself qualified for advanced jobs, some employers might not. You might be able to land a robotics job with just an undergrad degree, but chances are more likely that it is a support role where you implement code and do "grunt work" (even if it is analysis) as opposed to the "interesting stuff."
     
  7. Sep 10, 2015 #6
    Thanks for the advice. A little background on myself, I do work on projects with some hw and sw components, but my trouble is receiving replies from companies because I do not have a Masters in Robotics; I feel that I am not looked at as seriously. This is what is prompted me to maybe continue school first. With that said, I do like your idea of taking a few elective courses in my area of interest to potentially get a job.
     
  8. Sep 10, 2015 #7
    Thanks for the reply. I understand that I'm not as qualified as someone with a Masters and,from the sound of it, will have to get my degree first. With that said, do you think there is an advantage to landing a job as an undergraduate, getting the experience, then going back to school? Or if the goal is to do the "interesting stuff" longterm, just go straight for the Masters then the job?
     
  9. Sep 10, 2015 #8

    donpacino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    SO I got a job and got my masters at the same time. Its a lot of work but worth it to get the masters
    It was nice having the money, but sometimes I wish I went straight for the masters. I had to try a lot harder to prove I was capable of doing higher level work.
     
  10. Sep 10, 2015 #9

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    This is the reality of hiring. Companies select people based on proven experience as shown on your resume. They figure that the right candidate will come along with that experience and so they wait. Showing an interest isn't enough unless you have someone on the inside that can pull you in because they know your skills and drive. However, sometimes the hobby approach may get you a chance at an interview and from there its your ability to convince the interviewer that you can do the job and do it heads above any other candidate which is a pretty tough sell that saves the day. (Even then sometimes you might get lucky if they are desperate for a viable candidate usually small startups think this way).
     
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