Are you dreaming of changing the world with a career in automation? If you’re looking for an exciting and fulfilling job helping organizations transform on their RPA journey, there are many possibilities. Whether you’re a student taking your first tentative steps into the world of work, or an experienced professional looking to change careers, there are different pathways into the RPA industry dependent on experience and qualifications.

If you need more information on RPA jobs and some help to assess your options – you’ve come to the right place. So, what are the available opportunities, and how can you pursue these? It all depends on what knowledge of RPA you possess. Let’s start by taking a closer look at what RPA actually is.

WHAT IS RPA?

RPA, Robotic Process Automation to give it its full title, is a form of business process automation. According to research, it’s the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market.

RPA allows its user to define a set of instructions for a software robot to perform. Bots utilize a combination of automation, computer vision, and machine learning to automate rule-based and trigger-driven high-volume tasks.

RPA’s function is to automate some of the most mundane and repetitive computer-based tasks and processes in business. It takes over everyday processes from humans, boosting efficiency, cutting costs, and improving customer service. A whole industry is being created around RPA, with revenue projected to reach $1.89 billion in 2021.

Many industries, such as healthcare, manufacturing, and retail, use RPA to automate tedious, repetitive tasks, such as claims processing, inventory management, or invoice generation. For example, an online business could rely on RPA to assist with the more monotonous aspects of ecommerce order fulfillment. If you have ever received a shipping notification via email after placing an online order for a product, this is RPA in action.

WHAT IS INTELLIGENT AUTOMATION?

RPA is no longer limited to simple tasks in today’s world. Intelligent Automation is where RPA and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are combined to empower rapid end-to-end business process automation. This can accelerate digital transformation.

Intelligent Automation is a combination of:

  • the task execution of RPA
  • the machine learning and analytics capabilities of automatic process discovery
  • process analytics
  • cognitive technologies such as computer vision and natural language processing

Intelligent Automation encompasses discovery, automation, and optimization – the whole automation journey. It automates both front and back-office business processes and harnesses the power of both human and bot teams.

This is what makes the difference between attended and unattended RPA. Attended RPA is where human-bot teams work together, and unattended RPA is where bots run automation that operates independently.

THE EFFECT OF RPA ON THE JOBS MARKET

The introduction of robotics into the workforce can understandably be met with worries about unemployment. However, RPA is actually creating millions of jobs worldwide and an entire spectrum of different careers. It’s thought that these jobs will far outweigh those that are replaced or displaced through automation. Innovation will mean that new types of industry will emerge, and these will require all kinds of new skills.

The RPA field creates jobs for humans to build robots and carry out analyses to implement and mechanize them. The better RPA becomes, the more organizations will adopt it, affording huge scope and opportunities for more RPA professionals.

While the numbers of RPA professionals are growing, there still aren’t enough experienced personnel to fulfill requirements. This affords those wishing to pursue a career in this area an opportunity.

Robotic process automation is also transforming jobs that already exist. For example, in customer support, workers are being freed from dull, mindless tasks. This allows them to focus on more demanding and complex customer queries, therefore, improving the customer experience.

WHAT SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE DO YOU NEED FOR A CAREER IN RPA?

RPA, like many career paths, requires a mix of skills. Smart roboticists need to have a variety of strengths across various engineering disciplines.

RPA uses the highest level of programming, and while this may lead you to assume the opposite, it’s easier to learn than many programming languages. Most of its instructions revolve around processing and passing data to different systems.

Valuable attributes for a successful RPA programmer include:

  • Critical thinking and decision making skills 
  • Systems analysis and evaluation skills, otherwise known as ‘system-like thinking’
  • Having a ‘programmer mindset’ and the ability to learn new programming languages
  • Being keen to learn and acquire new skills
  • Mathematics and logical science skills
  • A flair for communication
  • Technology design skills
  • Troubleshooting abilities
  • Perseverance

4 RPA JOB ROLES TO CONSIDER

There are many new and challenging opportunities for professionals in RPA. These can all inspire innovation, creativity, growth, collaboration, and success. The RPA career path is a relatively new one, though, and so formal job titles can vary. Read on to explore 4 of the most popular roles.

1. Becoming an RPA Developer

If your desired job title is that of an RPA developer, you certainly aren’t alone. Robotic engineering features in the top 5 fastest-growing fields in the US. RPA developers are in charge of designing and managing workflow optimization projects. They work cross-functionally with business analysts and business operations.

This role requires specific skills and a thorough understanding of best practices, such as documentation and planning. It requires the ability to create workflow diagrams and document processes strategically before implementation. The job can also involve testing and bug fixes. Therefore, coding skills are desirable. However, RPA does not require as much coding as traditional software development. The ability to navigate various technologies and tools is also necessary.

Skills and Experience Required for an RPA Developer

  • An understanding of programming languages, like, Python, Java, Ruby, and computer science as a whole
  • Strategic planning skills for setting design goals or initiatives and the ability to map out workflows
  • Keen analytical skills, including the ability to analyze a process and provide improvement recommendations
  • Debugging and problem-solving skills- automation doesn’t always run smoothly, and you may need to handle any issues

RPA developer salaries are competitive, although they can be a little lower than more general-purpose developer roles. However, because RPA is an emerging field, there’s a lack of suitably qualified RPA developers, making it much easier to bag your dream role.

Getting Started as an RPA Developer

A good starting point is deciding on which platform you should build your RPA developer skills. There are plenty of solutions in the marketplace, but basic concepts are shared across tools. All RPA platforms are built upon programming languages. If you’re only experienced in one programming language, e.g., Java, and want to utilize this knowledge, this will limit your choices. However, if you are not yet an RPA programmer or are proficient in all the main languages, you can start with any of the leading RPA tool providers.

If you need to learn RPA programming, there are now numerous online training courses that you can take. These are offered by the leading RPA tool providers as well as independent training platforms.

If you already have basic programming knowledge, you can enhance your RPA development skills by building bots using free resources. Most RPA software platforms provide free material to guide you through building your first bot.

Opportunities for an RPA Developer

  1. RPA companies/vendors – building bots and automating processes
  2. RPA consultancy – providing RPA development services to other companies
  3. End-users of RPA – working for a company that automates their own processes
  4. Other technology companies – such as automated document processing companies

How an Experienced RPA Developer Can Increase Their Opportunities

Those with experience as an RPA developer can establish credibility by publishing plugins and bots, providing reusable and configurable solutions for the developer community. This is advantageous as you can monetize your codebase. You can also use process mining tools to understand actual processes better and improve your bot development speed.

2. Becoming an RPA Solution Architect/Designer

Previous experience as a software architect would likely see you nail an interview for an RPA solution architect vacancy. This role involves translating customers’ business requirements to define RPA value propositions and the scope of solutions. They design solutions and work toward their development and deployment.

An RPA architect’s job description also includes:

  • Analyzing client processes
  • Identifying RPA opportunities
  • Recommending strategies and approaches based on analysis and client RPA maturity
  • Ensuring smooth delivery of projects by collaborating with project managers
  • Understanding efficient software design patterns
  • Making judgments about when an application is stretching the limits of RPA too far
  • Having a thorough knowledge of best practices and thereby advising your team
  • Facilitating team meetings and presentations with clients

Skills and Experience Required for an RPA Architect

  • A degree in information systems, computer science, or similar
  • Experience in technology, ideally as a senior developer, architect, or project manager
  • Five years plus of programming experience and expertise in at least one of the market-leading RPA platforms
  • Experience in automation
  • Experience in process documentation and analysis
  • Good time management skills and business acumen
  • An understanding of the application of RPA in different business sectors
  • Fundamental knowledge of RPA concepts and market
  • Design skills
  • A passion for learning
  • Problem-solving skills

3. Becoming an RPA Analyst

This role can vary in name and is often known as ‘business analyst’ or ‘process analyst.’ It essentially handles the business-related aspects of automation.

An ideal RPA analyst has good business analyst skills. This role requires analysis of businesses and their processes when shaping the requirements for an application or integration. Analysts must understand current processes, identify automation and improvement opportunities, and perform a zero-based design of the process.

The lines can blur between RPA analysts and developers. Developers will need to spend time understanding the processes they’re automating, whereas analysts can potentially use RPA tools to produce application prototypes.

Skills and Experience Required for an RPA Analysts

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • An understanding/experience of the capabilities of RPA software platforms
  • Knowledge of process analysis and process optimization
  • Understanding of technical requirements
  • Knowledge of User Acceptance Testing
  • Good team leadership skills
  • Strategic planning skills

4. Becoming an RPA Project Manager

The role of a project manager in RPA is very similar to that in other industries. Activities include ensuring that projects are completed on time and in budget. There will usually be a requirement to manage multiple projects at once. Previous experience working hands-on with an RPA tool will be seen as a considerable advantage when applying for this role.

Skills and Experience Required for an RPA Project Manager

  • Several years of professional experience
  • Project management experience
  • An understanding of risk assessments
  • Client communication skills
  • Demonstrating the ability to control scope, delivering on time and in budget
  • Experience managing a team
  • Good reporting and presenting skills
  • The ability to address issues and troubleshoot

Other Careers in the World of Robotic Process Automation

Due to the truly global nature of RPA, so many new types of jobs are emerging. For example, roles in testing localization are needed to guarantee an excellent user experience and that companies are sending out the right messages globally.

Even if you’re not so technical, the world of RPA could still be your ticket to a new career with financial benefits and opportunities for progression. It’s possible to redefine or enhance your career path by becoming a ‘champion’ of RPA, even outside the arena of IT. As with any industry, it’s all about great teamwork.

Along with developers, architects, analysts, and project managers, a whole host of other roles are required for the smooth running of robotic process automation companies. More traditional roles are still needed in areas such as HR, sales, and marketing. For example, sales copy must still be written by a human.

PURSUING A CAREER IN RPA

RPA and intelligent automation, where artificial intelligence is combined with the task execution of RPA, are changing the face of work in the modern world. Are you prepared to take advantage of these fantastic opportunities? There has never been a better time to think about newly emerging jobs.

Why not get ahead of the crowd and receive training and earn a certification in the high-demand skills that could easily land you a well-paid job in the field. RPA requires less of an in-depth and detailed understanding of coding language than is traditional. This means that people with different educational backgrounds aren’t excluded from the industry.

RPA Training and Certification

Education and learning are the key components of achieving career success in RPA. Don’t be worried about the accessibility of this knowledge. Anyone can take advantage of free online learning platforms to learn how to use RPA vendors’ technologies.

RPA vendors recognize that the success of the digital workforce revolution depends on providing professionals with a detailed and comprehensive RPA education.

Take advantage of certified RPA learning centers and free online training resources. Most RPA employers will want to see that prospective employees have achieved at least minimal training in the industry. It’s even better if you’re able to gain certifications. A good start is generally to train on one or more of the leading RPA platforms.

There are also independent RPA training organizations that have sprung up around the world. If you intend to pursue this route, it pays to do your research into which course is most credible. It’s also crucial to choose the course that’s right for you. Things to look for are:

  • Proven track record
  • Demonstration of expertise
  • Quality and depth of training on offer
  • Industry-recognized certifications
  • An extensive network of training partners
  • Strong links and relationships with academia
  • Global reach

When recruiting, organizations usually look for experience as well as qualifications. But because RPA is a new industry, most applicants typically have less than five years of experience. This means that there is a much greater chance of an applicant being successful with just the basic certifications. Employers will be impressed that candidates have taken the initiative to seek out RPA training and certification independently.

Experience and location are the most critical factors in determining how many RPA vacancies are available to you and the sorts of salaries you can expect. With more companies than ever seeing the benefits of RPA, such as fewer errors, better compliance, improved customer experience, and dramatically reduced costs, career opportunities are only predicted to increase.

The interest in RPA technology is strong, and competition for jobs is only predicted to intensify. Now is the time to receive training in RPA, whether online or in the classroom, and achieve certification to help you secure your dream career. An RPA specific role will provide many new opportunities for you to develop and excel.

Author’s Bio:

Sunjay Randhawa – Head of Global & Demand Generation. A seasoned marketing leader with over eighteen years of experience leading and scaling demand generation and digital marketing strategy initiatives (Paid and Organic Search, Lead Generation, Display, Social, Affiliate, Mobile) from small to large companies globally. Here is his LinkedIn

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