What Does it Take to get a Good Manufacturing Job in Today’s World?
In 2013, manufacturing companies reported to having up to 237,000 job openings that were yet to be filled. The rise in demand for factory workers has been there since 2005. Research attributes the shortage of workers in the manufacturing industry to demography.
80% of workers in the manufacturing industry are of the age between 45 and 65 years and only fewer than 25% below the age of 30 are in the industry. Despite having an unemployment rate of 16% for the age between 18 and 29, young people do not seem interested in venturing into the manufacturing industry.
One reason for this may be the stereotypical thinking that the industry does not have any good paying jobs. However, this is not the case. With technological advancement, factory jobs are not what they use to be in the old days.
Technicians are needed on a daily basis to help with installation and maintenance of system in the manufacturing plants. As of May 2017, the median annual pay in this field as of May 2017 was $56,740 annually (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). One of these technician careers is the mechatronic technician.
Functions of a Mechatronics Technician
Mechatronics technicians perform a wide range of technological functions. These include assembling of electrical and mechanical components on stations or production lines, developing and troubleshooting robotics solutions, integrating systems, installing and maintaining systems in a plant, quality assurance, and research and development.
In a manufacturing setup, however, the work of a mechatronics technician is to set up machine, repair and maintain automated equipment. Other than manufacturing, mechatronics technicians are needed in agriculture, construction, and aerospace industries.
Education Requirements for a Mechatronics Technician
To get a job in the manufacturing industry as a mechatronics technician, one usually needs to have attained a bachelor’s degree in mechatronics. Students receive lectures from mechanical, electronic, computer and control engineering divisions. Students also receive hands-on experiences through practical lessons in the laboratory and through internship opportunities with local companies.
After completion of the course, a student is expected to be competent in the application of various skills including electrical and mechanical design. Graduates may further their studies by pursuing a master’s degree in mechatronics or any other related field. With the education and experience through practice, a mechatronics technician is able to work in any challenging environment in their scope of study.
Hard and Soft Skills Required to Work in the Field of Mechatronics
Mechatronics is a field that involves a mix of mechanics, electrical, pneumatics, computer programming, robotics, and system development skills. In addition to this, a mechatronics technician needs to have an understanding of the fundamentals of motion control and machine dynamics and vibration.
Mechatronics technicians work in a dynamic environment where other than technical skills learned in class, they need other skills to help them in their everyday activities. These skills include:
- Problem-solving skills: A better part of a mechatronics technician is to troubleshoot devices and find out if they are functioning as required. If not, they have to find a solution to the problem. Therefore, one cannot thrive in this career without the essential problem-solving skills.
- Creativity: As part of their job, mechatronic technicians design and develop new products. Inventing a new device requires a lot of creativity. Therefore, creativity is a crucial skill for a successful career as a mechatronics technician.
- Communication skills: Often, mechatronic technicians work together with engineers to develop products for clients. They will need to explain complex devices to people who are not familiar with the field. Explaining clearly and effectively will need eloquence, which is covered under communications skills. Therefore, a mechatronics technician needs to have excellent communication skills.
- Teamwork: A lot of work requires the mechatronics technician to collaborate with engineers and scientists especially if one focuses on research and development. In this setting, mechatronics technicians are exposed to diverse groups of people and being able to work with all of them come in handy.
If you are the type of person interested in using your hands to work, putting systems together and, finding solutions to real-world problems, then this is the career for you. A career in mechatronics could expose you to real-world problems that will engage your intellect.