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Career chart for a Robotic Engineer/Technician

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      Firstly, thank you for taking the time to read this. I know some of my questions may have been asked multiple times, but it would still be very kind of you if you could answer these questions.  :)

I am an Indian student of grade 9, and am doing pretty well in academics. My CGPA this year was 10/10, which I am pretty happy about  :P . I saw some of the WRO competition videos on youtube, and took an interest in robotics. After some research, I have decided to take up robotics as a career. I wish to know what I need to do from now on in order to become a robotic engineer, and any help will be appreciated. So here are the questions I had:

1. I know starting early helps.. So what should I for the next 4 years till I complete my basic education and am ready for college? (I saw some robotic lecture videos by MIT and Stanford on youtube. Pretty cool stuff) 
2. (Sorry for asking this all over again) Should I take Robotics as a undergraduation course? If yes, which college would be suitable for me? Please know that I am not particularly looking at the USA, but rather at a worldwide level. Any good robotic college in Asia/India would really be helpful. CMU, WPI, MIT, Caltech and others do sound awesome, but they are a bit too expensive.  :-\
3. If Robotics is not a good undergrad. course, then what are the other options before me in order to become a robotic engineer?
4. What should I do once I am out of college and have completed my undergraduation?
5. Could you please tell me some famous robotic related company and what they do and stuff.
6. (I really struggled to get a good answer to this on google) Could you name some famous Robotic engineers as it would help me to see their achievements and research etc.?

Thank you so much for whatever help you can provide.  :)

1) Math and Science. Lots of math.

2) That is your choice. There are a lot of opportunities in robotics for different kinds of engineering / computer science majors. If you have a preference for mechanical or electrical or software that would be a good way to focus. Degrees in robotics are good because you get more of a mix of those three areas of study - but of course you don't get quite as much depth in them - there are only so many credit hours in a degree. (You missed Lawrence Technological University in your list of schools with undergraduate robotics degrees that sound awesome  ;) )

3) As above.

4) Get a job?  ;) Or, you could continue with graduate studies, or do both. I'm not sure what you are asking.

5) That could be a long list - from companies that specialize in industrial robotics like Fanuc, Kuka, Comau to consumer robotics like iRobot to toy companies like Lego. Other companies that use the same technologies would be the automobile and aerospace companies that will be implementing more and more autonomy in their vehicles. Then there are medical applications and farm equipment and...

6) I don't have any names handy. But most of the people who would be considered "famous" probably have their degrees in mechanical or electrical engineering or in computer science since degrees in robotics engineering have not been common in years past (or even now).

Robotics is a combination (synthesis) of many fields:

- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Software Engineering
- Computer Science (AI / Sensing / Algorithms)
- User Interaction / Psychology
- Applications / specific uses

Other fields may be useful, too. Neuroscience, Physiology, Biology, Optics, Materials science, etc.

A good roboticist has an understanding of all of these fields, and probably is a specialist in at least one, preferably more.
Common pairings of specialties include:
- Mechanical + Electrical
- Electrical + Software
- Comp Sci + Psychology
- Mechanical + Applications
... but many more combinations exist.

You can start right now. For example, starting with the Arduino toolkit and doing some projects in that area will get you some electronics and software skills. Or starting by buying an old car and tuning it up to race condition will teach you mechanical engineering and systems integration.
Then pick a suitable direction in university -- a good EE or CS program ought to give you opportunity to branch out into other areas, too, for example.

@jkerns: Firstly, thank you so much for clearing so many of my doubts.. Well, I guess I'll reply in points:
1. :P I didn't know Math has so much to do with Robotics.. So which branch of mathematics is most important? And are there any specific courses which help in a career in Robotics?
2. I guess I would like to take up Robotics as an Under graduation course. And btw, LTU looks awesome!! And acc. to their website, the estimated cost is 34,134$ for two semesters, which is much cheaper as compared to some other colleges. Could you give me some more details on this university?
4. Well, what I meant was: Should I go for a professional job straight away, or should I first do some research first and gain some knowledge from some big robotic engineer?
5. Among the list, I find consumer robotics the most interesting option. So what do professionals in this field do?
6. Oh cool.. How much of a scope does robotics have in the near future?
Once again, thank you so much for your help.

@jwatte: AI is probably my favourite, since it is one of the most creative jobs I have seen so far.. So what combination of specialities does a robotic engineer with a specification on AI need? And thanks so much for the ideas that you have given. I am planning to start with the 50$ robot, since a lot of people on this forum approve of it. Is that a good idea for a guy who is yet to make his first robot?

Geometry, trigonometry, and calculus were invented because they were needed to describe how things work in the real world. If you want your robot to move accurately, you will use the same math to determine how to control the robot. Any engineering degree is going to require that you get through calculus.

You indicate that you are interested in artificial intelligence - that would suggest a computer science type degree may be a good choice (robotics would be fine also).  But, there is no shortage of math in developing artificial intelligence techniques...

Job or research? We can't answer that one for you - it all depends on what you really want to do and what kind of environment you will want to work in. I wouldn't worry too much about it yet. You will get to see what it's  like in college and may get a chance to intern in industry so you can compare and decide before you graduate. Later, if you change your mind, it won't be too late.

For consumer robotics - someone has to define a need that could be filled by a robot, define the robot capabilities, do the mechanical / electrical design, design the algorithms, test the parts and completed devices, design the production tooling, packaging, etc., etc.  Lots of different things to do by people with different skill sets. Then there is the business end of things.

The scope of robotics and related technologies seems to be exploding right now.

LTU is a fairly small private university in Southfield MI. We have a mix of "traditional" students that live on/near campus and commuter students that attend primarily in the evening. We also have many international students. The biggest schools here are architecture and engineering but there are also business and liberal arts degrees available as well.  The B.S. in Robotics Engineering program was started in the fall of 2011 - so it is pretty new..


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