Career Development

What Does an Automation Engineer Do?

Find out what an automation engineer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an automation engineer.

Automation engineers are responsible for the design, development and implementation of automated systems. These systems are used to streamline industrial processes or improve the efficiency of other types of equipment.

Automation engineers must have a strong understanding of mechanical, electrical, and computer systems in order to build their designs. They also need excellent problem-solving skills to identify issues with current systems and come up with ways to improve them.

Automation Engineer Job Duties

Automation engineers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Designing and developing control algorithms that use sensors and other feedback mechanisms to regulate equipment operation
  • Developing and designing new automation technologies and processes to improve efficiency
  • Working with manufacturers to create prototypes for new products and processes
  • Developing safety standards for new equipment and processes
  • Designing and building computerized control systems for manufacturing processes, such as assembly lines and chemical plants
  • Testing new equipment designs or process changes to ensure they meet safety standards and specifications
  • Overseeing the installation of new automated equipment or processes to ensure proper function
  • Designing control systems for industrial machines and equipment, such as robots or manufacturing systems
  • Creating operational manuals for use with new equipment or processes

Automation Engineer Salary & Outlook

Automation engineer salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of company they work for. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $94,500 ($45.43/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $143,000 ($68.75/hour)

The employment of automation engineers is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Automation engineers will be needed to maintain and repair existing automated systems, such as those used in manufacturing plants. However, automation is becoming more common across many industries, which may limit the overall growth of employment for these engineers.

Automation Engineer Job Requirements

In order to become an automation engineer, you will likely need to have the following:

Education: Automation engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, electronics, computer science or another related field. Some of the coursework that an automation engineer can expect to complete includes mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer programming and engineering design.

Many employers prefer to hire automation engineers who have a master’s degree. Some of the coursework that an automation engineer can expect to complete includes advanced mathematics, computer programming, computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing.

Training & Experience: Most of an automation engineer’s training will take place while obtaining their education. Students will learn the fundamentals of engineering while completing their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. They will also receive on-the-job training when they begin working for their employer.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not usually a requirement as an automation engineer, but they can make you a more competitive job candidate. Certifications can demonstrate your skills and give you the necessary knowledge to perform various tasks and work with different systems.

Automation Engineer Skills

Automation engineers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Coding: Coding is the process of creating computer programs. Automation engineers use coding to create the software that allows machines to perform tasks. Coding skills are essential for automation engineers because they use coding to create the programs that control the machines they design.

Problem-solving: Automation engineers use their problem-solving skills to identify potential issues, develop solutions and test their solutions to ensure they work. They also use problem-solving skills to troubleshoot issues that arise during the production process.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and make a decision based on the information you have. Automation engineers use critical thinking skills to make decisions about how to design automation systems. They also use critical thinking to troubleshoot automation systems when they aren’t working properly.

Creativity: Automation engineers use creativity to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. They use their creativity to design and develop new automation systems and processes. They also use creativity to troubleshoot automation issues and find ways to improve existing automation systems.

Communication: Automation engineers often work with other engineers and other professionals in other fields, so communication is an important skill for this career. They often need to communicate complex technical information to people who may not have the same level of expertise. They also need to communicate with clients to understand their needs and explain how automation can meet those needs.

Automation Engineer Work Environment

Automation engineers work in a variety of settings, including office buildings, factories, and research and development laboratories. They may be exposed to noise from machinery and to potentially hazardous materials, such as chemicals and fumes. They may work long hours to meet deadlines or to solve problems with automated systems. Automation engineers typically work a standard 40-hour week, but they may work overtime to meet deadlines or to solve problems with automated systems.

Automation Engineer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how automation engineers work. Automation engineers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Talent

As automation becomes more prevalent in industry, the need for technical talent will continue to grow. This means that automation engineers will need to be well-versed in a variety of technologies in order to design and build effective systems.

Automation engineers can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in one or more technologies. This will allow them to work with a wider range of clients and help them automate their processes. In addition, they can also focus on developing their soft skills, such as communication and project management, which are essential for success in any field.

The Emergence of AI and Robotics

The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics is having a major impact on the workforce. As these technologies become more sophisticated, they are beginning to replace many jobs that have traditionally been done by humans.

This trend is likely to continue in the future, as AI and robotics become even more advanced. As a result, automation engineers will need to learn how to program these technologies so that they can be used in different industries.

More Focus on Cybersecurity

As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity professionals has grown. Automation engineers are in a unique position to take advantage of this trend, as they have the expertise needed to create safe and secure automated systems.

By focusing on cybersecurity, automation engineers can ensure that the systems they develop are safe from hackers and other cyber threats. In addition, they can also help businesses to improve their overall security posture.

How to Become an Automation Engineer

Automation engineers have a unique and rewarding career path. They can specialize in different areas, such as process automation, robotics, or systems engineering. They can also move up the ranks to become managers or even chief engineers.

No matter what stage of your career you’re at, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends. Read industry publications, attend conferences, and connect with other professionals online. You should also keep track of the latest developments in your field so that you can apply them to your work.

Advancement Prospects

Automation engineers typically advance in their careers by taking on more responsibility within their organization. As they gain experience, they may be given more complex projects to work on or be put in charge of a team of engineers. In some cases, automation engineers may also choose to start their own consulting business or become involved in product development.

Automation Engineer Job Description Example

As an Automation Engineer at [CompanyX], you will be responsible for developing and maintaining our automated build, test, and deployment processes. You will work with our Development, Quality Assurance, and Operations teams to streamline and improve our software development life cycle. In this role, you will be responsible for designing, implementing, and maintaining our automated build system, as well as writing and maintaining custom scripts to automate various tasks. The ideal candidate will have experience with a variety of build tools and scripting languages, as well as a strong understanding of software development life cycles.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Design, develop, and maintain custom automation solutions for a variety of purposes using various programming languages
  • Work with other engineers and stakeholders to understand requirements and use cases for new automation projects
  • Analyze existing manual processes to identify opportunities for improvement and streamlining through automation
  • Develop detailed project plans and timelines for assigned automation projects, including resource allocation and task dependencies
  • Write code and scripts to create new automated processes, or modify existing ones to improve efficiency and accuracy
  • Test and debug programs to ensure proper functioning before implementation
  • Deploy automation solutions and monitor performance after go-live to identify any issues and make necessary adjustments
  • Update documentation for new and existing automation solutions as needed
  • Keep abreast of new developments in the field of automation and suggest ways to incorporate them into company systems
  • Train users on how to use new automation solutions as needed
  • Provide Tier 2 and 3 support for automation solutions as needed
  • Perform regular maintenance on automation systems to ensure optimal performance

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, or related field
  • 3+ years experience in a similar role
  • Proficient in at least one scripting language (Python, Perl, Ruby, etc.)
  • Experience with automation tools, such as Puppet, Chef, Ansible, or SaltStack
  • Experience with Linux/Unix systems
  • Experience with cloud-based infrastructure, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in engineering, computer science, or related field
  • 5+ years experience in a similar role
  • Experience with multiple scripting languages
  • Experience with multiple automation tools
  • Experience with multiple types of cloud-based infrastructure

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