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3 Things That Will Help You Succeed in a Robotics Career

 
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The field of robotics is exploding with an ever-increasing spectrum of applications, products, and fields of career opportunity. As a new high school grad, college grad, or somewhere in between, you may wonder, “What can I do to get into robotics? What can I do to get ahead of my peers, get that key internship, and land a great job in this cutting-edge field?” Let me tell you what you shouldn’t do: focus only on your classes.

Here at Bastian Labs, Bastian Solutions’ R&D branch in Idaho, we have seen many intern candidates and interested students apply, all hoping to get into robotics. Teamwork, work ethic, intelligence, and good grades are all very important, but by themselves, will not make you stand out from your peers. Here are three characteristics that we look for. They may not be what you think!

Extracurricular Experience

Perhaps you get good grades, but so do many of your peers. What will make your resume stand out is your multi-disciplinary experience outside of class. It’s hard to take on extracurricular activities when you are drowning in a high credit load, but it is so important, even if it means completing your degree in more than four years. Join your local micro-baja team, volunteer to take meeting minutes at your formula SAE group, help your CubeSat team, find out what research your professors are doing and volunteer to help them, even if it’s sweeping the floor for free. It might seem like a trivial or menial first step, but it is a stepping stone to better opportunities. A parked car doesn’t go anywhere, no matter which direction the wheels are pointed. So, get into gear!

Knowledge of Related Disciplines

I once heard it described by a manager in another automation company that his best engineers were T-shaped: deep in one area and broad in many. In the robotics field, mechanical engineering (ME), computer science (CS), and electrical engineering (EE) are so tightly intertwined that you cannot succeed in one area without a working knowledge of the others. How to start? Go buy any one of those robotics kits online that contains an Arduino. Arduino is a very simple microcontroller that is easy to program and has an enormous amount of support and free code online. You will teach yourself some mechanical assembly, some wiring, some coding, and soon you will have your own moving robot. This will give you exposure to all three pillars of robotics: ME, EE, and CS. More importantly, it will give you the confidence that yes, you really can learn anything if you try.

Insatiable Curiosity

Lastly, have a passion for learning and a drive to invent. We work in a small team, and while we can teach you much, we don’t know everything. An insatiable curiosity about the way things work and a humility to learn will be your best friends. We want to be able to point you in a new direction, push the ignition, and have you take off – learning all you can about that area and having a blast while doing so. Like a rocket launcher at a balloon festival.

We need inventors who are passionate for learning in Bastian Solutions. That drive and thirst to learn will get you much farther than a high GPA alone. Do you think you are an inventor and innovator? Prove it. Show us what you’ve done, and then come join our Bastian Solutions team.

Author: Hans Leidenfrost

Hans is the lead design engineer for Bastian Laboratories.  He is responsible for inventing things, breaking things, and putting out the occasional electrical fire.  Nicknamed “Doc Oc” by his team, his favorite thing to do at work is to design 3D printed robotic arms and test them.

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