How to learn and improve at robotics: 5 tips for university students


A career in robotics is significant because it has several applications across industries. For instance, surgical assistance robots help medical professionals make procedures more precise. In agriculture, robots make farming more efficient by planting and harvesting crops. Due to these reasons, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 17,900 annual job openings for mechanical engineers—including robotics engineers.

If you plan on pursuing this path, you must complete a bachelor’s degree in robotics, mechanical engineering, or a similar field. This requires earnest studying and improvement to fully grasp robotic concepts and applications. Though doing so will undoubtedly be challenging, there are things you can do to improve and eventually succeed in this career. Here are a few tips you can follow.

Use online robotics study materials from top universities

There are many topics and concepts to learn regarding robotics. Among these include visual computing, artificial intelligence, and mechatronic design. These concepts can be overwhelming to grasp, so you can benefit from reviewing robotics classes using online study materials. Universities are where the latest robotic trends are being developed and taught, with many now offering a Bachelor’s Degree in Robotics. These universities are also now providing online materials that are available to everyone.

An example is the Robotics Specialization course by the University of Pennsylvania on Coursera. The good news for those looking to improve their robotics knowledge is that there are also online platforms where the information from top universities is gathered and shared in one place. Note-sharing platform Studocu has a user base of university students from more than 100 countries and adds over 20,000 study guides to its platform daily. Many of these documents come from top university students with robotics programs, such as the Georgia Institute of Technology and New York University. Acquiring their knowledge can place you on par with the best robotics students by improving your knowledge of specific topics and lessons like an “Introduction to Robotics, Autonomous Robotics, and Robotics in Medicine.”

Join robotics clubs and organizations

Apart from formal learning through classes and study guides, you must know how to apply your robotics knowledge concretely. To marry theory with practice, join robotics clubs and organizations for opportunities to build robots and programs with like-minded students.

With this, you can ensure that you’ve fully grasped concepts and lessons, pick up tips and tricks from your clubmates that you wouldn’t have otherwise encountered in the classroom, and sharpen your robot-building skills through consistent practice and activities. Your participation in these organizations can be put on your resume once you graduate, making you a more appealing candidate to potential employers. To start, check out your university’s website or student center to find out what robotics clubs you can join. You can also look into local robotics organizations, like The Minneapolis Urban Robotics Alliance and The Connecticut Robotics Society.

Accomplish robotics kits

Now that you’ve gained sufficient knowledge and practice, you can accomplish robotics kits in your own time to exercise your learning and apply them in real life. These special construction kits contain all the parts that allow you to build mobile robots for improvement and education. For university-level and more advanced kits, consider getting those from Rover Robotics or Roboworks. Completing these yourself should be an enriching experience, not a competition or a race. Overall, doing these kits can teach you to be more independent as a future robotics professional.

Enter robotics competitions

When you’ve mastered robotics topics, learning from fellow robotics enthusiasts, and independently completed robotics kits, it’s time to enter competitions. You can join several regularly-held state and national competitions with a team. Science Daily shares that one is NASA’s annual Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing Idea Challenge. Here, university students design, develop and demonstrate a game-changing idea.

In 2022, the challenge was to develop robotic systems that can move across extreme terrains—without wheels. Entering competitions like these involves teamwork, preparing you for your professional life, where you must work with colleagues to complete tasks. They’re also a chance to get noticed by robotics companies, opening up possibilities for you to receive internship offers perfect for kickstarting your career in robotics.

Pursue a robotics internship

A robotics internship is the best way to acquire hands-on experience in the robotics industry. Here, you’ll have seasoned professionals and veterans to show you how things are done, effectively preparing you for your future career in this field. You may even get to contribute to major robotics projects as an intern. If successful, these will be significant additions to your resume and portfolio.

Finally, great performance can also result in you being offered a spot at the company after you graduate. So once you’ve got sufficient knowledge and experience in robotics, look for internships on sites like LinkedIn. This is considered the elite platform for recruitment: with millions of users, you can easily make countless connections and find an internship. Tech and robotics companies here are often looking for interns to work in different departments and industries, including but not limited to supply chain management, sustainability, and control systems.