How to Become an Automation Engineer?

Are you thinking of becoming an Automation Engineer or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become an Automation Engineer, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Automation Engineer job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become an Automation Engineer

An automation engineer uses technology to streamline and automate various manufacturing processes via machines and software. If you have mechanical knowledge and troubleshooting abilities, you might benefit from a career as an automation engineer. In this article, we will cover the steps needed to become an automation engineer.

Earn an engineering bachelor's degree.

Most employers want to hire automation engineers who have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a related field. These programs should include courses such as statistics, robotics, and artificial neural networks (ANN). Automation jobs combine engineering, science, and information technology, so you should try to take courses that focus on these areas. Depending on the role and employer, you might need a master's degree in a related field as well as experience working on manual and automated testing procedures.

What type of degree should you pursue to become an Automation Engineer?

68% of people working as an Automation Engineer earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be an Automation Engineer?

  • Test Automation
  • Scripting
  • Selenium
  • VB.NET
  • Javascript
  • Cloud
  • PLC Programming
  • Agile
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as an Automation Engineer in the United States.

Gain entry-level experience.

While enrolled in undergraduate or even graduate-level courses, you might be able to obtain hands-on experience, whether it's through an internship, externship, or volunteer capacity. Take advantage of these opportunities to learn more about the industry. Shadow workers to learn more about what you can expect out of the job, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Your entry-level job in this field might be as a junior automation engineer where you test parts of the project to make sure the codes work.


Hone your skills.

To be a successful automation engineer, you need to possess several specific skills. Some of the more common ones include the following:

  • Adaptability: Since this is an ever-evolving industry, you must stay up to date with the latest technologies and techniques as soon as they develop.
  • Communication skills: You might be tasked with explaining novel and complex ideas to a multidisciplinary team. Written communication skills might also be needed to keep records, which is a key part of this regulated industry.
  • Computer skills: One of the more important skills needed involves working with computers, particularly in programming and software development.
  • Problem-solving skills: You will likely encounter issues and be required to troubleshoot them and find effective solutions.

Obtain certification.

Although automation is a relatively new field, certifications can help you stand out when looking for an automation engineer job. Try to get at least one of the following automation-specific certifications:

  • Certified Automation Professional (CAP): Offered from the International Society of Automation (ISA), the CAP designation demonstrates competence in the industry since it covers a range of automation topics in the exam.
  • Control System Engineer License: Issued by the National Society of Professional Engineers, this qualification places a focus on process control.

Further your knowledge.

Just like other computer-related careers, automation engineers must stay up to date with changes made to software and computer programs. You might be tasked with completing additional training whenever new programs hit the market or attend seminars to learn more about the industry. Also, consider attending industry-sponsored conventions where you can see firsthand how automation works. You might also pick up some tips from these events.

Automation Engineer Career Path

Automation Engineer

2 - 4Years of Experience
$80K - $124K /yrMost Likely Range
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34% advanced to

Senior Automation Engineer

2 - 4Years of Experience
$119K - $182K /yrMost Likely Range
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Automation Engineer IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
$114K - $173K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Automation Engineer Career Path

Automation Engineer I
Automation Engineer
Senior Automation Engineer
Automation Engineer Manager
Automation Engineer IV
Senior Manager of Automation Engineering
Principal Automation Engineer
Senior Principal Automation Engineer
Associate Director of Automation Engineering
Director of Automation Engineering
Senior Director of Automation Engineering
Vice President of Automation Engineering

Related Careers in the engineering Industry

Interested in other engineering careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Automation Engineer skills. Discover some of the most common Automation Engineer career transitions, along with skills overlap.

0% skills overlap
8% transitioned to Engineer