Learn to Program Robots

robotics and automation systems

Nearly every industry, from automotive to medical, uses robots to improve automation processes. Industry experts even predict that in the future, consumers will use robots in their own homes. Because of their relevance and impact, learning how to program robots will soon become as essential as knowing how to install an app on your smartphone. 

But…where can you learn to program robots? Is it an easy skill to learn? In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about programming robots.

Who Can Learn to Program Robots?

an automotive technician programs an orange industrial robot

Programming a robot sounds more difficult than it actually is. The truth is that nearly anyone can learn how to do it. The only prerequisite is having basic computer knowledge.

This is because many industrial robots are programmed using special software.

For example, EPSON, one of the leading industrial robot manufacturers in the world, uses their own proprietary software called SPEL. Knowing how to use the software is key to learning how to program robots.

How Long Does It Take to Learn How to Program Robots?

The time it takes to learn how to use programming software depends on the individual and the course. At Schneider & Company, we offer basic EPSON robot training classes. In these classes, our objective is to teach you basic programming functions in five hours. Examples of what you could learn in a basic class like ours include:

  • Basic Program Functions for Motions (Move,  Go, Jump, Arc, Circle, etc.)
  • Basic Program Functions for Utility (Loop, Integer, Timer, Comments, & Instructions) 
  • Teaching, Naming, & Editing Points

Learning basic functions is easy to do, but it’s important to keep in mind that there are many functions that you could learn. For reference, EPSON’S SPEL software has over 450 common code functions. Essentially, the more you want to learn, the longer it will take. 

Why You Need to Learn This Skill

Factory worker programming a robotic arm using a laptop

Some people may think that learning to program robots is only useful for individuals working in certain industries. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many reasons why you should learn how to program a robot. These reasons include:

  • It’s Highly Valued: Because robots are used in automation processes across many industries, having this skill will make you more marketable to future employers. 
  • It’s Easy: You don’t need a background in robotics or a degree in engineering to do it. All you need are basic computer skills.
  • It’s a Relevant Skill to Know: Technology is changing, advancing, and evolving. Robots will become more ubiquitous in our everyday lives, not just in manufacturing sectors. It’s only a matter of time before they are as common as a smartphone.
  • The Classes Are Affordable: The cost of a robotics class varies, but many of them are affordable. Additionally, you can learn a lot just from one class. Ultimately, the lifelong advantages you’ll enjoy just from knowing this skill will far outweigh any upfront costs. 

The Different Levels of Robotics Courses

There are a wide array of robot programming courses available. The four main types of classes you may see include:

  • Retouching: In this type of class, those who are already familiar with robot programming are taught how to modify existing programs and touch up points (not how to create a program).
  • Writing Code: Students are taught basic programming functions and how to write program code.  A beginner’s class may only cover 40 or 50 functions.
  • Advanced Functions: Students learn additional functions for advanced applications.
  • Vision Guidance: This class focuses on the role of machine vision in industrial robot/robot vision systems. This type of course is especially important because many industry experts consider vision guidance to be the future of robots.

Where Can You Find Robot Programming Classes?

Training classroom at Schneider & company filled with EPSON six-axis robots and laptops

You can find robot programming classes online and in your own community.

Some middle schools and high schools are even offering programming courses to their students.

Organizations like FIRST® are also good places to learn more about robot programming.

If you live in Michigan, Schneider & Company is also a great source for robot programming classes. We offer a beginners EPSON robot training class, which is open to anyone, and an advanced vision guidance course for those who have already taken our beginners class. Both courses usually take place in the spring and/or fall. 

Interested in Learning How to Program Robots?

Schneider & Company is proud to be a top representative and distributor of robotics and automation technology. You can view our complete list of products and solutions here. For upcoming robotics courses, be sure to check our events page.

Sign Up for our Newsletter

Stay up to date on upcoming events and product launches.