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Robotics Engineering Vs. Computer Engineering (Compared)

Robots are just computers with arms, right?

Well, it’s not as simple as that. Building robots takes much more expertise than developing computer code.

In this guide, let’s explore the differences between computer engineering and robotics engineering.

Robotics Engineering Vs. Computer Engineering

Computer engineering and robotics engineering share similar content, however, they are distinct academic programs and career paths.

Computer engineering focuses on designing, developing, and optimizing computer hardware and software.

Robotics engineering involves designing, building, and testing robots and robotic applications.

Accordingly, robotics engineers may also work on hardware and software but only in application to robots.

Learn more: Electrical Engineering vs. Robotics Engineering

Which One Has Better Prospects?

Career-wise, average salary, job outlook, and potential positions are distinct.

Computer engineers fall into two main categories: software engineers and hardware engineers.

Software engineers earn an average of $110,140 per year, while hardware engineers earn $128,170 per year.

Respectively, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects job opportunities to grow by 2% and 22% before 2030.

So, computer engineers have a high chance of finding a job and earning a significant salary.

On the other hand, robotics engineers earn an average of  $87,039 per year.

The BLS forecasts that electrical and mechanical engineering, the two umbrella engineering types of robotics, will grow 7% before 2030.

For this reason, robotics engineers may need to accomplish a higher academic degree or obtain experience before looking for a job.

They will earn upwards of $131 363 annually and find a job more readily.

Follow along with the chart below to find out more:

 Robotics EngineeringComputer Engineering
Average pay$87,039 annually$110,140  to $128,170  annually
Ease of finding a jobMediumEasy
Types of jobs you can qualify forRobotics Engineer
AI Engineer
Machine Learning Engineer
Automation Engineer
Controls Engineer
Sensors Engineer
Electromechanical or Mechatronics Technician
Mechanical Engineer
Electrical Engineer
Software Engineer
Hardware Engineer
Test Engineer
User Interface
User Experience Designer
Computer Engineer
Hardware Engineer
Software Engineer
Database Developer
Database Administrator
Programmer
Robotics Engineer
Machine Learning Engineer
Systems Designer
Web Designer
Game Designer
Data Scientist
Data Analyst
Algorithm Designer or Developer Computer Support Specialist      
Difficulty of the majorModerateModerate
Key things to noteStudents may wish to obtain a graduate degree, specialize in a particular industry, or gain experience before looking for a job.Computer engineers can stay in a generalized program, although it is best to concentrate on either software or hardware.

Can A Computer Engineer Become A Robotics Engineer?

If computer engineering students develop an interest in robotics, they can easily alter their career path to fit their passion.

Computer engineering allows students to understand, design, and build microchips, circuits, processors, and other hardware for computer systems.

Likewise, computer engineers learn to read and write scripts to run basic and advanced computer programs.

Robotics engineers must understand these principles, as robots contain computer components, systems, and sophisticated programs.

This way, computer engineering creates an excellent foundation for robotics engineering.

Students will simply need to learn how this knowledge and skill applies to robots and robotic gadgets.

Additionally, they will also need to study mechanical parts and systems, structures, and sensors.

Learn more: Can A Mechanical Engineer Do Robotics?

Is Computer Engineering Used In Robotics?

Computer engineering is a part of robotics because robots need a computer to control their actions or behavior.

These computers are slightly different from personal computers, laptops, or smartphones, so engineers must have specialized knowledge of the robotic application.

Whereas most computers need human manipulation for operation, robotic computers must act independently.

They must receive data from the environment via movement, manipulation, scanners, and sensors.

Then, they will read and process the information and perform a pre-programmed, appropriate function or a response.

Depending on the specific industry, robots may need to perform one or a complex set of tasks.

Computer engineers ensure that the robots execute the tasks efficiently, accurately, and safely.

Is Robotics A Good Career?

Robotics is an excellent career regarding work content, industry options, potential job opportunities, salaries, and benefits.

Engineers will have the chance to bring advanced machines to life via computers, moving parts, motors, scanners, and sensors.

They will always have exciting projects, as every major industry requires new, more sophisticated robots.

The most popular industries include manufacturing, healthcare and medicine, automotive, aerospace and aviation, agriculture and food, and military.

Also, robotics engineering students can pick from many different job positions, allowing them to focus on their passions or skills.

Fortunately, all of the main career options have a high annual salary:

  • General Robotics Engineer:  $87,039
  • Machine Learning Engineer: $123,531
  • Automation Engineer: $96,566
  • Controls Engineer:  $79,614
  • Sensors Engineer: $92,143
  • Mechatronics Technician: $58,623
  • Mechanical Engineer: $95,300
  • Electrical Engineer: $101,780
  • Software Engineer: $110,140
  • Hardware Engineer: $128,170
  • User Interface or User Experience Designer: $97,269

Robotics engineers have the chance to move into higher-paying positions with more responsibility and recognition as time passes.

They may increase their chances of career advancement by gaining further education, certifications, or licenses, or simply by proving their skills over time.

Where To Start Learning Robotics?

You can start learning robotics by listening to interesting youtube channels such as:

  • Introduction to Robotics: A Lecture Series by Stanford University
  • Universal Robots: Latest Developments in Robotics Technology
  • GreatScott: Tutorials in Building Electronics and Robotics
  • How To Mechatronics: DIY Mechatronics Projects
  • DIY Builder: DIY Robotics Projects
  • Skyentific: 3-D Printed Robots and Robotic Parts
  • James Bruton: Builds and Designs Inventions and Advice
  • Paul McWhorter: Tutorials on the Latest Robotic Technology
  • TechJoint: Latest News in the Tech World (including Robotics)

If you are still in high school or desire supplemental material during college, you may take online courses such as:

  • Robotics Foundations I – Robot Modeling
  • IBM’s Computer Vision and Image Processing Fundamentals
  • Georgia Tech’s Human-Computer Interaction I: Fundamentals & Design Principles
  • Introduction to Robotics Masterclass
  • MIT Open Courseware’s Introduction to Robotics
  • Artificial Intelligence for Robotics
  • Columbia University’s Robotics Program
  • LinkedIn’s Introduction to Robotic Process Automation 

Final Verdict

The choice between computer engineering and robotic engineering is challenging.

These career paths offer exciting work opportunities, numerous job options, and high salaries.

Fortunately, if you cannot decide, there is a significant overlap between the two academic programs.

You can easily major in computer engineering and switch to robotic engineering if you find out you prefer robotics and robotics programming.