Let's Make Robots!

Advice for selecting a university course in robotics.

Heey guys,

I've just joined your community after going through your website. I loved it so decided to make an account!

I'm a 18 year old student currently living in Melbourne, Australia. I currently study an Advanced Diploma of Computer Science which I will be finishing in a couple months. To be honest just writing software (especially GUI's) for business, etc. doesn't interest me.

I've always had a passion for knowing how things work and designing things. But unfortunately I've never really finished any cool projects yet.

Now on to my questions:

What kind of University Degree/Course is recommended by you guys?
Should I do a Bachelors in Mechatronics? Computer Science? Mechanics? Science? or even a double degree?

And after that, what kind of jobs could I do after I've finished?

I'm quite in doubt what I wanna be doing for the next couple of years. But I have enough time to figure it out ;)
Any response, advice and useful information is much appreciated.

Thanks a lot!

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Hmmm... I have asked the same question some time ago and the answers were mostly like amcduino's, but some also suggested mechatronics (from what I've understood, it teaches you how to make a protoype and is a mix of electrical and mechanical engeneering and computer science), dynamics and kinematics. I just turned 14 today and I settled on mechatronics, which, I guess, is a quick way to learn robotics without achieving perfection in every domain involved.


writing s/w for business may not sound interesting, but it has made me a lot of money   :-)    self-employed since 1984, make your own schedule, etc.  when I was 20, I was making $40/hr.   now I make 3-4 times that.    businesses dont want to hire programmers, they want to hire solutions to problems.    I combined my knowledge of programming with the needs of businesses.   if a company does something 300 times a day like entering orders, or shipping products and I can shave 5 seconds off each transaction, the client gladly pays me $1000 to do it, etc.   and if you find the right clients (growing companies), they keep coming up with more requests once they see what you can do.

as AMC says, robotics is a combination of multiple skills.  master one, then the next, then the next, etc.    combining skills and technologies is what makes people valuable.

dont worry about learning things.  learn HOW to learn things when you need to.   bookmarks and search engines become your life-line.

whatever I learned in high school and a few years of college was quickly obsoleted by extremely fast moving technology.   robotics will be the same way.   when I first started using computers in middle school (pre-high school), late 1970's, they didnt have screens. since the mid-1960's computers have doubled in speed every 18 months, and that continues today.  (the aliens control it that way :-)  )

Thanks for your comments!

I know I'm not an artistic kinda guy (not in the sense of painting, drawing or creativity in this area anyways). I care more for functionality and efficiency rather than flashy looks, although nothing beats a good design.

I know I'm good at programming, it's something I picked up quite easily and have had to study the least for. I'm also quite good at understanding physics although I have a weak background in Maths. But when it comes to it I've always had trouble with the education system and therefore my academic skills are lacking and my results have never been great. It's the way it's the subjects and the way they're taught that I have trouble with. I'd rather work on something on my own that I'm fascinated by at that moment, just like DaVinci!

I've noticed that I can pick up a book and teach myself, although most professional books are way too expensive these days.

So now you know a little more about me :)

Your responses have led me to a couple more questions:

Is it necesary to actually go to university and get an official degree?
It will cost a lot of money and I'll be stuck to it for a fair amount of years, if not my whole life. Is it not possible to learn these things myself and maybe take up a couple practical short courses to learn tools and machines while I work? Just a question :)

Are there any tips for studying and becoming great in this area?
Any attitudes, essential skills, caveats, avoidances and guidelines to becoming a great roboticist?

Is there any people here that have suffered from lack of motivation and therefore maybe failed or wasted a lot of time when they were about my age? And how did you overcome/deal with that?

I know I have a long way to go in my studies and life in general, so any help/critisism from the masters/gurus/elders is greatly appreciated!

Thanks a lot for responding!