Automation Engineer

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What Is an Automation Engineer? How to Become One, Salary, Skills.

Automation engineers apply software engineering expertise to create automated hardware and software processes. Here’s what to know about an automation engineer’s needed skills, salary and how to become one.


What Is an Automation Engineer?

Automation engineers build and maintain automated technical processes and systems. They tend to work closely with multiple teams to determine technical workflow issues and design software solutions accordingly.


What Do Automation Engineers Do?

Automation engineers develop, test and implement software tools or programs to automate technical operations. Projects can range from simple tasks like automating the population of user data into a spreadsheet to complex tasks like automating the actions of industrial robots for manufacturing.

Automation Engineer Responsibilities

  • Research, develop and install automation solutions for machinery or software applications.
  • Create test automation frameworks for use by developers and QA professionals.
  • Troubleshoot automation errors and bugs.
  • Communicate with colleagues to identify areas for automation and optimization.

Day-to-Day Responsibilities of Automation Engineers

  • Code automation programs in C#, Java or Python.
  • Apply scripting languages to automate tasks in existing systems. 
  • Produce and update documentation for software development projects.
  • Review and edit code from other engineers or developers.

Automation Engineers Within a Company

Automation engineers are part of an engineering or IT team within a company. They may report to a senior automation engineer, lead automation engineer or automation architect.

Importance of Automation Engineers

Automation engineers ensure the upkeep of efficient technical systems or processes. Their work largely saves companies time, expenses and resources on manual tasks. 

How to Become an Automation Engineer? | What to Study, Skills & Roles. | Video: AutoPLC (Automation & PLC)


What Skills Are Needed to Be an Automation Engineer?

Qualifications to Be an Automation Engineer

  • On-the-job training or one or more years of experience in automation software or equipment maintenance.
  • Ability to build and maintain automation processes.
  • Ability to perform software testing and troubleshooting.
  • Proficiency in programming and scripting languages. 

Automation Engineer Prerequisites

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering or related field.
  • Company-specific product or technical certifications.

Automation Engineer Hard Skills

  • Expertise in computer programming and scripting languages (C#, Java, JavaScript, Python).
  • Experience with automation software and testing.
  • Understanding of mechanical systems and operations.
  • Knowledge of robotics and robot programming.
  • Knowledge of AI and machine learning applications.
  • Familiarity with cloud computing databases and technologies. 
  • Familiarity with CI/CD processes and pipeline tools.

Automation Engineer Soft Skills

  • Adaptability skills.
  • Critical thinking skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Verbal and written communication skills.

Tools and Programs Automation Engineers Use


How to Become an Automation Engineer

Automation Engineer Education and Experience

Automation engineers often hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering or a related field. They may also earn a master’s degree or graduate certificate in automation engineering or a related field.

Automation engineers are expected to gain on-the-job training or one or more years of experience in automation software or automation equipment maintenance. Knowledge of software development and testing, programming and scripting languages (C#, Java, Python), mechanical systems, computer operating systems and CI/CD processes are also recommended.

Automation Engineer Certificates and Courses

Automation Engineer Career Path

If not beginning a career as an automation engineer, professionals may have previous experience in automation software development, automation equipment maintenance or similar roles. After experience as an automation engineer, professionals may progress into a senior automation engineer role. From here, roles like lead automation engineer, automation architect or director of automation engineering are available.


Automation Engineer Salary and Job Outlook

Automation engineers are expected to see an 8 percent increase in job growth by 2028, according to Zippia.

The full compensation package for an automation engineer depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the candidate’s experience and geographic location. See below for detailed information on the average automation engineer salary.


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