Industrial automation is a growing career field. As the industry advances, more and more job opportunities become available, but does an industrial automation engineer do? And what does it take to become one?

An industrial automation engineer creates and applies the technology that is used for monitoring product production. They design, program, test and implement automated machinery and processes that will complete specific and exact tasks. They are usually employed in car manufacture, and food process, but other industries are automating at least part of their manufacturing processes which means that jobs are becoming more plentiful.

But what does it take to become an industrial automation engineer. According to Lisa West, of Equustek Solutions Inc., although automation engineers are becoming more and more needed, it can be difficult to find an automation engineer degree program. Most engineers have a bachelor’s degree in some sort of relevant field, such as robotics, fluid dynamics, or some other field of engineering. Some will earn a master’s degree before they even consider applying for jobs. As there is few direct degree courses, automation engineers tend to get a lot of hands on, on the job training.

There are some skills and qualities that are important for an automation engineer. They should have an understanding of computer programming, and software development. They should be both detail orientated, and creative. They should have good communication skills, as they would be required to interact with other members of staff. They should be able to troubleshoot problems, and they should have good manual dexterity.

Licensing or certification can improve an automation engineers chances of employment. There are three in particular that can be very beneficial. A control system engineer license shows that the individual has understanding of the instrumentation and automatic control of dynamic processes. A control systems technician certification is recognized by more than 40 companies. Lastly, an individual can gain an automation professional certification. This is a difficult certification to achieve, and there is currently only 400 certified automation professionals in the world.

According to, a salary profile database, the average salary for an entry level automation engineer is between $50,000 - $90,000 per year, depending on the location. The salary can increase up to around $150,000 per year depending on location, experience, and skill level. Engineers with certification are generally better paid than those without.

Automation is becoming increasingly popular in various industries because of the many benefits that it brings, such as lower costs, increased worker safety, and more consistent results. However, this popularity also means that there is a shortage of workers. Research suggests that this industry will continue to grow by at least 7% per year, and that by 2018, will have reached a market size of $283.2 billion. With the expected growth of this size, it isn’t only automation engineers that will be needed, but research and development departments will grow as well. This makes it a very exciting time to become an automation engineer.

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