Robots and Robotics Jobs in 2024: Career Outlook + FAQ

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Find the answers to FAQ like, "Will robots take my job?" and learn how to advance your career through robotics technology in or out of the field.

[Featured Image] A robotics engineer conducts research in a lab.

Robotics is a fast-growing industry. According to a study by Zion Market Research, the industrial robotics market is projected to reach $81.4 billion by 2028. This figure is a significant increase from its $41.7 billion valuation in 2021 [1]. In the following article, you can learn more about this fast-growing industry and how to secure your career within it.

What is robotics? 

Robotics is a branch of engineering and computer science. It focuses on creating machines that can perform tasks that have historically only been possible for humans. Examples of these tasks include product assembly, data entry, and goods packaging. These machines are also known as robots.

Robots in history 

Humanity has been dreaming up human-like machines for centuries. Around 350 BCE, Greek mathematician Archytas of Tarentum designed and built a mechanical bird capable of flapping its wings and flying hundreds of meters in the air. In about 1495, consummate Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci designed and created a mechanical knight after reasoning that he could apply the principles of human motion to a machine. 


What jobs can robots do?

On television, robots are depicted in many ways. For example, they clean the Jetson family home and accompany Star Wars characters on daring adventures. In real life, they are best suited to perform tasks that are repetitive, extremely precise, or, occasionally, too dangerous for humans to do.

Are robots taking our jobs?

One of the most commonly asked questions about robots is whether they’ll make our jobs obsolete. The answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no. While some jobs will eventually become obsolete, many jobs will simply change to accommodate technological advances. For example, many insurance companies use robotic process automation (RPA) software tools to streamline customer relations.

Instead of having to manually route customers from the help center to the right department, chatbots ask questions to determine customer needs and automatically match them to the right employee. The customer service employee no longer manages help requests that don't belong to their department. As a result, they can focus on resolving the requests that do.

How many jobs have been replaced by robots?

According to research conducted by the World Economic Forum, 85 million jobs are projected to be displaced by automation by 2025. While automation will make some jobs obsolete, it will also create new work opportunities. That same report notes that 97 million jobs are expected to be created in new and emerging industries like AI and product development [2]. 

Will robots take MY job?

The jobs most susceptible to automation involve repetitive tasks, such as assembling equipment, sorting information or documents, and performing routine processes (like accounting). The jobs that are less likely to be automated, inversely, involve more complex tasks that are not easily automated, such as designing novel products, engineering new solutions, and crafting unique digital marketing campaigns.

How to secure your career by evolving with robotics

Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) have enabled robots to operate with little human intervention. However, these machines are only partially independent. They often require consistent monitoring and maintenance by humans to ensure proper operation. If you're concerned about the future of your career, consider learning how to work alongside this cutting-edge technology. 

Research robotics applications in your industry.

The introduction of automation and robotics in your industry could be a career advancement opportunity. In recent years, employers have embraced skill-based hiring and micro-credentials like online certifications to demonstrate knowledge and adaptability. If you've noticed the implementation of robotics tools in your industry, consider learning how to use those tools to stay current and gain in-demand skills. 

Examples of robot disruption and accommodation

Let's examine how Chat-GPT and Dall-E 2 have impacted content creators. Some believe that Chat-GPT and Dall-E 2 can create content and art much faster and more cost-efficiently than human artists and writers. In truth, they cannot perfectly replicate human cognitive processes, and relying on them to do so is not recommended. This concept is demonstrated by Dall-E 2's consistent failure to understand what hands look like, and Chat-GPT's hallucinations (or, confident responses that don't make sense based on its AI training models). Here is a quote from the Twitter of OpenAI's co-founder Sam Altman regarding Chat-GPT:

“ChatGPT is incredibly limited, but good enough at some things to create a misleading impression of greatness. it's a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now. it’s a preview of progress; we have lots of work to do on robustness and truthfulness.”

Sam Altman, @sama, December 2022


Read more: ChatGPT 101: What Is Generative AI (and How to Use It)

The takeaway

Instead of viewing robotics, AI, and ML technology as menacing, job-stealing entities, regard these tools as a means of increasing efficiency in your role. Using the example above, robotics tools should be used to streamline the content creation process and improve communication between clients and creators. Writers can use Chat-GPT to help brainstorm ideas when they're working alone.

Or, they can have Chat-GPT create a rough outline based on concepts and ideas when they're struggling with writer's block. Similarly, artists can use Dall-E 2 to brainstorm layout ideas or enable customers to create a rough version of what they expect their commission to look like. The best way to approach cutting-edge technology in your career is to be mindful of its limitations and open to change.

5 robotics jobs to consider

If you're interested in transitioning into a career that works with robotics, you have many options. Robotics is a fast-growing field that encompasses a wide range of different positions. Here are five jobs to consider pursuing if you’ve been counting robots instead of sheep at night.

*Note: All salary information was sourced from Glassdoor in April 2023. 

1. Robotics engineer

Robotics engineers design, build, maintain, and repair robots and the applications that run them. Combining elements of mechanical and electrical engineering with computer science, robotics engineers focus on all aspects of creating robots, from conducting research to actually building robots and monitoring their performance in the real world.

  • Average salary: According to Glassdoor, robotics engineers earn an average base salary of $86,366 with an estimated $14,720 additional pay in the form of bonuses, tips, profit sharing, or commission annually.

  • Education requirements: 65 percent of robotics engineers have a bachelor's degree, 15 percent have an associate degree, and 13 percent have a master's degree [3]. Common areas of study include mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, mechatronics and robotics, and computer science. 

2. Robot technician

Robot technicians install, maintain, train, and repair robots and other automated systems for businesses. In their daily work, robotics technicians may do everything from setting up a robot to work in a factory to troubleshooting system errors and training the robot to perform specific tasks as needed.

  • Average salary: According to Glassdoor, robotics technicians earn an average base salary of $47,124 with an estimated $2,796 additional pay in the form of bonuses, tips, profit sharing, or commission annually.

  • Education requirements: 49 percent of robot technicians have an associate degree, 20 percent have a bachelor's degree, and 19 percent have a high school diploma [4]. Common areas of study include electrical engineering or electrical engineering technology, business, and mechatronics or robotics. 

3. Software engineer

Software engineers design, build, and troubleshoot the software on which robots operate. Using their knowledge of mathematics and programming languages like Python, software development teams create applications that allow robots to perform tasks in the real world, whether they’re welding exhaust pipes or simply scanning barcodes.

  • Average salary: According to Glassdoor, software engineers earn an average base salary of $90,863 with an estimated $16,338 additional pay annually.

  • Education requirements: 73 percent of software engineers have a bachelor's degree, 20 percent have a master's degree, and 4 percent have an associate degree [5]. Common areas of study include computer science, electrical engineering, and computer engineering. 

4. Robot operator

Robot operators are responsible for operating robots in the real world, particularly in industrial settings where many of them are used for manufacturing. In their daily work, robot operators do everything from setting up equipment to actually operating robots and programming them to perform specified tasks.

  • Average salary: According to Glassdoor, robot operators earn an average base salary of $41,559 with an estimated $2,700 additional pay annually.

  • Education requirements: 48 percent of robot operators have a high school diploma, 20 percent have an associate degree, and 16 percent have a bachelor's degree [6]. Common areas of study include general studies and electrical engineering.

5. AI engineer

AI engineers specialize in creating programs that use AI and machine learning techniques to help improve robotics autonomy. In robotics, AI engineers are responsible for creating programs that allow robots to make decisions and interact with the external world through computer vision.

  • Average salary: According to Glassdoor, AI engineers earn an average base salary of $105,441 with an estimated $22,751 additional pay annually.

  • Education requirements: 63 percent of AI specialists have a bachelor's degree, 17 percent have a master's, and 10 percent have a high school diploma. Common areas of study include computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering [7].

  • Where to start: You can take the first step towards a career in AI with an industry leader in technology through IBM's AI Foundations for Everyone Specialization. In this 100% online, self-paced course, you'll learn key AI concepts and gain advice from experts about learning about and starting a career in AI.

Stay current in robotics jobs and technology with Coursera

If you want to learn more about robotics applications or start a career in robotics, consider taking an online, beginner-friendly course. You can learn about robotic process automation (RPA) and develop the skills you need to independently design and create automation solutions for your business processes with the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Specialization from UIPath

Article sources


PR Newswire. “Demand for Global Industrial Robotics Market Size…,” Accessed April 27, 2023.

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