My name is Atharva Gupta, and I am originally from India. Ever since my school days, I have been captivated by the field of Robotics. I was always good at coding, but I didn’t want to become just a software engineer and wanted to code on hardware, so I decided to pursue my bachelor's degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering which gave me exposure to coding and at the same time play with hardware as well. During my undergraduate studies, I was inspired by the numerous fascinating Robotics projects undertaken by my peers. Being particularly interested in F1 cars, I decided to join a team that designed student built F1 cars for global competitions.
After a year, my thirst for knowledge grew, and I embarked on my own project called Mars Rover Manipal. This project involved competing in a rover competition against teams from all over the world, hosted in the US. Following my graduation, I secured a position at the multinational engineering and technology company, Bosch, where I worked on testing new cars on Dyno and participated in various robotics projects related to vehicles, such as the Auto-cancellation of Indicators in Two-wheelers.
During my tenure at Bosch, my passion for Robotics and Machine Learning intensified, leading me to pursue my Masters in Robotics and Machine Learning at North Carolina State University in 2018. Unfortunately, just before I could complete my degree, the COVID pandemic struck, causing a downturn in the job market. However, I consider myself fortunate to have landed a job as a Machine Learning engineer at Apple, working on their support website. While it was a valuable experience, I yearned to align my career more closely with my true passion.
It was during this time that I came across an exceptional opportunity with AIM Intelligent. Machine, a startup focused on automating construction and mining machines where we focus on automating construction machines. Although I had envisioned working with smaller robots, cars, or drones, I find the work we do here truly fascinating. At AIM, we employ full end-to-end automation to operate some of the largest machines in the world. As a Robotic and Machine Learning Engineer, my responsibilities include controlling the robots and conducting live tests on these massive machines.
Here I listed a few examples of the diverse career options available within the field of Robotics. It’s important to note that many of these roles can overlap or have specialized subfields, offering even more opportunities for specialization and growth.
Proficiency in programming languages such as Python or C++ which are commonly used for robotic system development. This skill is crucial for writing test scripts, test automation, and controlling robots through code. I acquired a solid foundation in Python during my university studies, where I learned its fundamentals and applied it to diverse projects. With Python, I can efficiently manipulate data, develop control pipelines, and create powerful test scripts that automate processes and enhance productivity.
Electronics and Hardware Knowledge
Understanding of electronic components, sensors, actuators, and other hardware used in robotics. This knowledge is important for troubleshooting hardware-related issues during testing. Understanding of how to communicate with robotic hardware using standard interfaces like UART, I2C, SPI, or specific robot control interfaces. I acquired these during my bachelors and masters which always had some hardware involved in the projects
Familiarity with various testing methodologies, including unit testing, integration testing, regression testing, and performance testing, to ensure the robustness and reliability of robotic systems. Ability to diagnose and troubleshoot issues that arise during testing, whether they are related to hardware, software, or communication between components. I acquired these skills when I started testing on big machines for AIM
Machine Learning and AI
Depending on the robotics projects you're involved in, knowledge of machine learning and AI techniques may be beneficial, particularly for testing robots with adaptive or learning capabilities. I learned all these skills while pursuing my masters at NC State
Teamwork and Collaboration
Robotics projects are often complex and require the efforts of multiple individuals with diverse skills. The ability to work collaboratively as part of a team is essential. A team-oriented mindset involves actively contributing ideas, sharing knowledge, and supporting colleagues to achieve common goals. This skill ensures that everyone is on the same page, fosters creativity, and maximizes productivity.
Adaptability and Flexibility
The field of robotics is dynamic and rapidly evolving. As a result, projects can encounter unexpected challenges, changes in requirements, or technological advancements. Being adaptable and flexible means being open to change, embracing new approaches, and quickly adjusting to new circumstances. This skill enables employees to stay resilient, maintain high performance in the face of uncertainty, and find innovative solutions.
Clear and effective communication is vital in a robotics company. Engineers need to convey complex technical information to non-technical stakeholders, and teams must collaborate seamlessly to ensure smooth project execution. Excellent communication skills involve active listening, articulating ideas concisely, and tailoring the message to the audience. It fosters a positive work environment, reduces misunderstandings, and promotes efficient problem-solving.
Similar to many others, my journey has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. It all began when I was pursuing my master's degree and seeking an internship during the summer break. Despite sending out over 400 applications, I found myself without a single interview lined up. However, a glimmer of hope appeared when I received an interview opportunity from Lenovo, which I eagerly seized. There were couple round of interviews, both being coding and ML questions. The expereince at Lenovo was great like any other top tier companies.
Similarly, as my graduation date approached in May 2020, the pressure was on as an international student with limited time. I started applying for jobs in the fall of 2019 and sent out over a thousand job applications, but disappointingly, I wasn't able to secure a position. Nevertheless, my efforts and patience paid off and it turned around towards the end of May when I had a fortunate call with an Apple manager who showed keen interest in me. Consequently, I began working for Apple.
After 18 months, with the job market reopening, I started my job search again. This time, I did manage to secure more interviews, but none of the opportunities resonated with the passion I sought for my next role. Then, a recruiter reached out to me about AIM, and from my very first conversation with the CEO, I knew it was a perfect match. The alignment of our passions was incredible, prompting me to resign from Apple within a week and relocate from Austin to Seattle in just four days.
It always plays out as it’s supposed to be. I would actually not change a lot of my past as, if i did change one event or one job in my past i would not have landed this amazing Job with AIM. So advice to my younger self regarding building a career:
To boost your career opportunities, make the most of the resources offered at your school's career center. Utilize their feedback and recommendations to improve your resume, and engage in mock interviews with peers to hone your interviewing abilities. Research potential jobs that align with your interests and carefully review their prerequisites to identify essential skills. Compile a list of these skills and prioritize enhancing and acquiring them. During semester breaks, actively pursue internships to gain valuable experience and build professional connections. These steps will aid in cultivating a competitive advantage and heightening your likelihood of securing your desired position.