Essential Skills & Qualities of an Automation Engineer
Automation Engineers will usually require a degree in engineering. Mechanical and electrical engineering degrees are probably the most common routes into the professional. From here, most can gain technical experience on the job. It is likely any engineer would need to learn specific requirements for a specific employer, depending on the systems, equipment and products they use.
There may be more related graduate and master’s degrees that can help boost a candidate’s relevancy for certain job applications.
Skills and experiences required for an automation engineering job will vary from job to job. There may be entry level positions, or jobs may require a certain level of engineering experience.
Some likely skills and experiences required for automation engineering include:
Problem Solving – The job revolves around problem solving so candidates should ideally enjoy this type of work and flourish in a setting that gives them autonomy to come up with practical solutions to hard, technical problems. Being able to work on a very micro level but also understand the bigger macro challenges and goals, is a key skill any successful automation engineer needs to have.
Analytics – From monitoring current processes to testing and interpreting new automation ideas, the role of an Automation Engineer is one of constant analysis. This means candidates that enjoy numbers, maths and applying this kind of skillset to challenging processes will have the edge to develop a long-term career in this field.
Knowledge of Specific Equipment/Processes – For senior positions, specific knowledge and experience using certain equipment/processes may be required. For example, if the job is for a food processing plant, understanding the type of machinery used and how they function is likely to be sought-after.
Communication – Automation Engineers will need to be able to effectively communicate their ideas, findings and ongoing monitoring to other engineers and team members. It’s likely reporting on how the processes are functioning will play a big part in the job, so being able to explain automations (both verbally and via reporting/emails/meetings) will ensure they add as much value to an organisation as possible.
Creativity – Although on the surface, automation engineering appears a very technical and scientific job, it also requires limitless creativity to develop solutions and ideas for automation innovation. Engineers should feel confident trying new things and creating solutions for inherently complex processes.
Management – Management skills are going to be useful, even for entry level positions. Automation involves connecting and managing different parts of a process, so being able to oversee lots of moving parts and details is valuable.
Tech-Savvy – Regardless of the specific industry, an automation engineer will be working with both manufacturing equipment as well as technology to test and implement solutions. As technology advances, experience and confidence using computer programmes and software, is likely to play an increasing role within this job. From robotics to computer software, automation is advancing quickly, so engineers that enjoy this evolution of the role, will be best suited.