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How Much is a Robotics Engineer Salary?

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From Roombas to drones, robots and robotic systems play a big role in making our everyday lives easier. It’s no wonder, then, that being a Robotics Engineer (i.e. designing these systems) is one of the most popular machine learning jobs.

Like other machine learning jobs, the salary for a Robotics Engineer edges in the high five figures to mid six figures range, averaging at about $100,640 a year. But as with any profession, your individual salary can vary.

What determines your pay as a Robotics Engineer?

Several factors influence your pay as a Robotics Engineer — let’s take a look at some of the most important ones. Keep in mind that the numbers we share are reported averages and are just meant to help you get an idea of the market and what to expect.

Education

A bachelor’s degree can help you land a Robotics Engineering position and establish your base pay. That degree could be in robotics engineering, specifically, or another related field, like electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, mathematics, software engineering, or computer science. From there, you might bump your salary up with a postgraduate degree like a master’s or Ph.D.

But don’t worry if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, or if you have a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field — it’s still possible to become a Robotics Engineer. Having a specialized degree might help you make the case for a higher salary, but you can get into the field without one by taking courses to build up your skills in areas like automation, artificial intelligence, programming languages, virtual machines, and more.

Experience

Robotics is a complex industry that requires extensive knowledge of multiple fields, like mechanical engineering, computer science, and mathematics. Some of that knowledge can be gained through courses, but a lot of it needs to be learned on the job. You’ll need technical knowledge along with soft skills like communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and persistence. Since it’s a profession that involves a good amount of practical training, more experienced Robotics Engineers command a higher salary than those who are new to the field.

Location

Like most other jobs, Robotics Engineers are often offered salaries based on where they’re located and the local cost of living. Candidates living in areas with a high cost of living — like San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., and San Jose — typically get paid more than those living in areas with a lower cost of living.

But keep in mind that while the salary might be higher if you live in one of those areas, that also means that your rent, groceries, and gas are also more expensive. In other words, you might make more money in a city like San Francisco, but you might also be paying more for everyday necessities than you would in another city. Cost of living calculators can help you compare offers and salaries in different cities.

Here’s how much Robotics Engineers make annually in cities across the U.S., on average, according to Payscale:

  • Pittsburgh, PA: $82,174
  • San Francisco, CA: $102,432
  • Los Angeles, CA: $100,101
  • San Jose, CA: $120,427
  • Boston, MA: $86,178
  • Seattle, WA: $87,429
  • New York, NY: $98,264
  • Houston, TX: $85,000

Company size and industry

In general, larger companies pay more than smaller ones, though that will of course vary from company to company. Government positions may also pay less than private companies, but they can also have excellent non-salary benefits, like paid vacation time and sick leave. It’s important to weigh out the salary and the benefits of any potential position, as health insurance, 401(k)s, profit-sharing, stock purchase programs, and other benefits can be just as valuable as a salary.

Robotics Engineer salary by experience level

As we discussed above, Robotic Engineer salaries vary by how long you’ve been working in the field. Here’s how Payscale breaks down average annual salaries in the industry by experience level, including bonuses:

  • Entry-level (less than one year): $80,511
  • Early career (one to four years of experience): $84,278
  • Mid-career (five to nine years of experience): $95,029
  • Experienced (10-19 years of experience): $98,264
  • Late career (20 years or more): $98,940

How to become a Robotics Engineer

To become a Robotics Engineer, you’ll need to master certain skills, including:

  • Systems thinking: This refers to thinking about the big picture when it comes to projects. Robots are complicated, and Robotics Engineers need to understand how each individual system, like electronics or mechanics, works — as well as how all these systems work together.
  • Active learning: While there’s always more to learn in most fields, that’s especially true for robotics. It’s a field that’s rapidly evolving, and Robotic Engineers need to stay on top of developments in the field.
  • Mathematics: An understanding of algebra, calculus, and geometry are all essential to robotics. Robotics requires understanding abstract concepts that can be best expressed as equations. Geometry is required for technical drawings.
  • Collaboration: You’ll typically work with several other professionals, including other engineers, product developers, user experience experts, and project managers. You need to be able to work well as part of a team and be willing to give and receive feedback on your work.
  • Leadership: As you gain experience, you’ll also be expected to display leadership. This might involve mentoring newer engineers or overseeing larger aspects of the project. You’ll be expected to take initiative and be accountable for the decisions you make.

Programming languages Robotics Engineers should know

In addition to these hard and soft skills, you’ll also need to know multiple programming languages, including C++ and Python.

C++ is one of the most widely used programming languages. It was created in 1979 by Bjarne Stroustrup and his team at Bell Laboratories. C++ is ideal for robotics because it can directly manipulate the hardware it runs on.

We offer two courses focused on C++:

  • Learn C++ is a beginner course that teaches you the fundamentals, including variables, conditionals and logic, and loops.
  • C++ for Programmers is for people who are already familiar with programming and want to learn C++.

Python is also widely used in robotics. Like C++, it’s a general-purpose language, so it has applications well beyond robotics. Our introductory course, Learn Python 3, teaches you the basics, including lists, loops, functions, and more. Learn Intermediate Python 3 builds on the basics, teaching ways to create cleaner code and how Python iteration works under the hood.

We also offer a unique course on hardware programming. Learn Hardware Programming with CircuitPython teaches you how to program on hardware devices using the Circuit Playground Express. It’s suitable for beginners, as well as those who already know Python.Whether you’re brand new to programming or ready to branch out, robotics is an exciting, rapidly developing field. If you’re not sure where to get started, reach out on social media, in our forums, or on our Discord server. We’re here to help you take the next steps in your career.

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July 27, 2022

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