Are you looking for a career in Industrial Automation? Well, there are many great career opportunities in one of the fastest-growing industries in society today. The global industrial automation market is projected to grow from USD 205.86 billion in 2022 to USD 395.09 billion by 2029, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.8% during the forecast period1. The fact that the industry growth rate is compounding so quickly means there will be a high demand for careers in the industry. Do you want to learn more about careers in Industrial Automation? Well, you are in luck we discuss the top eight industrial automation careers below, highlighting more about each career so you can choose the right path for you.
- Automation Product Manager
As technology develops and advances in automation, product managers will continue to become more popular in the industry. Automation product managers are responsible for a product line’s strategic planning, development, maintenance, and oversight. This role is responsible for optimizing and scaling automation at a facility. Getting started in a career as a product manager usually starts with a bachelor’s degree in business or a related IT/engineering field. You do not have to get a college degree, but it makes it much easier to find a job when you start in the industry. One of the go-to sources for salary information, Glassdoor, a U.S. job portal, analyzed over 40,000 salaries and put the average base pay for a product manager at approximately $102,2892. Your starting salary depends widely on your experience level and your organization’s pay structure.
- Automation Project Manager
Automation project managers usually work alongside product managers but often oversee multiple product lines versus just one or two. As a project manager, you often develop and maintain a specific product’s development cycle and coordinate the strategy of a given product line with operations managers within your facility. To get started in a career as an automation project manager, you typically would focus on a degree in engineering, IT, and/or business. Again, you do not have to have a bachelor’s degree, but it may help you find a job easier. Glassdoor estimated the average base pay for automation project managers at a respectable $100,090 a year3. There is plenty of room for growth in this career path to transition into roles as technical project managers and senior technical project managers once you get the necessary experience to advance.
- Industrial Automation Sales Engineer
Sales engineers have lots of career flexibility and are one of the fastest-growing careers in industrial automation. The number of employed sales engineers is anticipated to grow by 6% by the year 2031, keeping up with the average occupation growth rate4. To get started in a career as a sales engineer, you want to prioritize getting a bachelor’s degree in engineering or business. Sales engineers normally specialize in a specific product or product line. They support the sales team by demoing products and explaining the benefits of buying their organization’s product. Sales engineers help alleviate some of the stress of the sales team by becoming experts on a specific product. This role is especially prevalent in manufacturing organizations today. Sales engineers are often found in business-to-business settings, where they work alongside sales professionals. The average base pay for sales engineers is $85,000 a year, with room for commission opportunities if they can successfully support their sales teams5.
- Automation Control Engineer
Automation control engineers often have bachelor’s degrees in electrical, mechanical, or chemical engineering. These engineers often start in the manufacturing industry to get hands-on experience, then work their way into specialized roles in automation. Automation control engineers help create the layout of automation’s electrical and mechanical control processes. They have a common goal of locating any bottlenecks that might exist in the current automation process. Once they have identified these hiccups, they modify the existing control processes with input from product and project managers to improve the bottleneck and streamline the process. The average base pay for this career path is approximately $87,000, with additional commission opportunities depending on the company you work for6.
- Automation Application Engineer
Automation application engineers often have a bachelor’s degree in electrical, chemical, or mechanical engineering. This role is somewhat of a liaison between operations and sales. This engineer is responsible for utilizing company software and operating protocols to design and apply automation systems in a typical setting. In other words, you would assist product and project managers by designing logical and efficient mechanics for any given process. The average base pay for this career is $87,000, with additional compensation built into your salary depending on the pay structure of the company you are employed by7.
- Field Systems Engineer
Field systems engineering is a career path that offers a lot of flexibility and room for growth in the industrial automation world. Field systems engineers normally have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical, chemical, or electrical engineering. Employers often require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but you can become an engineer in industrial automation without one if you have relevant years of work experience. Field systems engineers design and develop applications for different manufacturing control processes. You may be responsible for providing system configurations and safety protocols to meet business requirements. The average base pay for a field systems engineer is $89,997 a year, with the opportunity for additional compensation depending on your role specifics8.
- PLC Programmer
A Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Programmer creates design schematics, writes and installs computer programs, and tests the effectiveness of the manufacturing process with a support team. The educational path for this career is typically earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering. Either way, you would need to be an expert in logic and coding. You must have strong programming skills to work alongside product development teams to optimize the manufacturing process. They create design schematics, write and install computer programs, and test the effectiveness of the manufacturing process with their support team. This is a specialized career in automation and is a great place to start in the industry. The career outlook for PLC Programmers is bright, with an average salary of $74,2779.
- Automation Technician
Becoming an automation technician is the easiest route to a career in industrial automation. Automation technicians install, maintain, and replace automation systems with the help of engineers. But as a technician, you often specialize in a certain occupation and have experience working with AI technology and robotics. You must at least have a high-school diploma; additional education or certifications in automation technology are often required by companies. The International Society of Automation (ISA) offers two certification programs. The Certified Automation Professional (CAP) certification is for individuals involved in the process and manufacturing automation industries working with information systems, control systems, and operational consulting. The Certified Control Systems Technician certification provides a knowledge base applicable to many industries to work with instrumentation for systems that measure and control temperature, flow, pressure, and level. You may also earn a Control Systems Engineer License by taking exams provided by your state. The Electronics Technicians Association and the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council also offer certifications that can further your professional development10. The average base pay for this position is $56,924 a year11, with tons of room for career growth into engineering roles once you get the needed experience to advance.
All of the roles mentioned above are great career paths in industrial automation. These careers will continue to boom and grow in the coming years due to the industry’s growth rate. Companies today are prioritizing safe automation in their manufacturing processes. Jumping into a career like this is a great way to capitalize on this trend. Technology is not slowing down anytime, and robotics use will continue to grow in manufacturing. According to Research Dive’s newly published report, the global collaborative robot (cobot) market is predicted to grow at a stunning CAGR of 41.2% by 202612. This trend indicates a shift in the manufacturing industry with businesses looking to enhance safety, save time, boost quality production, reduce monitoring, and collectively reduce fixed costs associated with an unautomated process.
You have all the information to get started, so what’s next? Well, a good next step is to connect with our team today. Our team has a variety of open opportunities in industrial automation that just might be your next dream job.
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