I find myself very interested to work in the field of robotics though my background is not robotics, I had a degree in Physics, master 1 in Hydrodynamics and this year I have studied just one semester about robotics and the internship that I am doing now aims to develop a numerical model but is not related to robotics.

So, the thing is I don't have enough practical or theoretical skills in robotics but I believe that my interest and my scientific background allow me to learn and integrate successfully while I am working, so I think I could do just fine even if I didn't have a solid experience in this field.

I have found a job for one year as a robot operator in a company, so I would like to try it (today is my interview). And while I am working I could learn courses online about robotics.

I would like to know about the skills I could develop as a robot operator especially practical skills.And also what kind of opportunities could I get after working as a robot operator? Anyone had an experience with such a job before?


1 Answer 1


Considering your apparent education background, I’m surprised at this question...

But regardless. Working with robots, when compared to making robots are very different things.

This is not so much different than driving cars and fixing them compared to designing and building them.

As you studied physics, then you’re well aware that physics is the practical application of mathematics. (In a dumbed down way)

Much is the same that engineering is the practical application of physics.

A trade and/or the use of machines would then be the practical/end use of engineering.

Learning to operate robots, as in using them safely, programming them, and to a degree fixing them, will give a person all the knowledge required for said machine usage.

This would include machine specific programming (or a commonly used language depending on the machine(s)) spacial thinking, understanding multiple coordinate systems... world, joint, camera vs world, etc etc. These are things your education would help you understand easier than someone not formally educated.

Repairing said machines will give an insight into how they may be built, and the engineering thoughts that went into them...or maybe just confuse a person why some choice was made than the obvious one....

But it's unlikely that you would ever do this...and a maintenance person would normally be found anyways, these machines are expensive after all.

Using robots will teach the differences between precision, accuracy, and repeatability in a real world application.

Learning the use of machines will provide valuable insight into them, but is quite far removed when it comes to designing them, programming them (as in programming their embedded systems, not just their movement via gcode or something ), and controlling them.

However all of this is highly dependent on what you’re operating on.

Running a cnc mill is far different than running a 8 axis industrial arm, both provide valuable knowledge, but are very different kinds of robots with many overlapping and many non-overlapping usage cases and knowledge.

I suggest looking for Fanuc, ABB, Kuka training courses to see the things they describe you would learn about, and compare them to DMG or Siemans milling courses to have an idea of the differences between them, and simply waiting to take the job and see what you learn. Hopefully you'll be running older machines that you will actually have to do something, and not just hit the start button to run a CAM program someone in an office premade for you.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your answer! The thing is the kind of physics degree that I hold is more theoretically approached than applied and inspite of that I have succeeded the robotics courses that I have taken this year. But I am being disappointed when applying to a PhD in robotics. I am making interviews but in every case they would like a student who has more practical experience. Though I try to show them my interest and willingness to learn and practice new techniques because I know when starting a PhD I don't have to know everything about the topic. $\endgroup$
    – user23478
    Jul 24, 2019 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ But ofcourse they will favor another engineering student over me. So maybe studying only one semester of engineering wasn't enough for me.So I have thought that maybe it could be helpful for me to take this job especially that they don't require skills that I don't have, better than having a gap year in my CV, so that maybe I could apply next year to a PhD or maybe just continue working in companies in general depending on the opportunity. $\endgroup$
    – user23478
    Jul 24, 2019 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ Oh and by the way the application of this job is on parking cars and I guess its a new robot, I will ask them more details in the interview $\endgroup$
    – user23478
    Jul 24, 2019 at 10:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This depends a lot on the university and the prof..but id be hesitant to hire a physics student with little to none experimental experience for a robotics phd, than an engineering one...the control theory, engineering design electronics and programming and standard practices that youd be missing...is just enormous. Apparently the profs who would supervise you think the same...working at a job as an operator just wouldn’t give you any valuable insight to help your situation i think. It may be better to just do an eng degree and have as much as you can from physics recognized in the eng degree. $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2019 at 10:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Dont forget to mark this answer as correct, if its the one you’re looking for! Good luck :) $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2019 at 10:39