April 20, 2012      

RoboticsWire?As more surgical and health-related procedures require robotics, employment ads for registered nurses with robotics skills have increased by 21 percent. Growing demand has also driven advertisements for teachers of online and virtual classrooms. Demand for post-secondary teachers of robotics has increased 175 percent over March 2011 levels.

Supplying workers for these jobs, however, has been tough in certain parts of the U.S. However, Evansville, IN, Fresno, CA and Baltimore, MD were currently the best places to recruit workers with robotics skills. Areas of the country like Detroit, however, struggle to fill jobs. In Detroit, job demand doubled, but worker availability remained stagnant.

Research firm Metra Martech reported that the robotics industry could create as many as one million new positions over the next five years. Jobs will not just be for engineers who design or manufacture robots; practices in robotics will create many jobs in the manufacturing sector, and indirectly, jobs in the service sector.

To enter a career in robotics, many analysts suggest students under the age of 18 become involved in FIRST robotics competitions. In college, students interested in a career in robotics should major in mechanical, computing, aerospace, biomedical or electrical engineering, rather than pursuing a highly specialized robotics degree.

?A wide array of skills is necessary to develop these robotics systems,? Jon Bornstein, manager of the Army Research Laboratory’s Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance, told the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. ?Hardware, software, actuation, mobility in complex environments, mechanical engineering, power, control?All of those will be wrapped up in robotics.?

The United States is currently the fastest growing sector for defense and service robotics applications. German and Chinese companies utilize the highest number of manufacturing robots. While the U.S. is the fastest growing market for robotics overall, and the most widely used medical robot in the world is from America, the country will face stiff competition from countries like South Korea that are investing heavily in robotics.

For now, people from a wide variety of disciplines can team up for robotics projects. ?There’s a great need for people in computer science, electronics, and physics,? says Bornstein. ?We also employ a large number of psychiatrists. We want a robot to have a mental picture of what people are doing around it.?