Why and How to Get Started in RPA

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a growing specialized field in Information Technology (IT). Once a hyped-up emerging technology, the field has now matured into a more stable industry and an integral part of many organizations.

What is RPA? I won't cover that here. There are a lot of other articles on it and if you're reading this, I'll assume you're familiar. If you aren't, stop here. Read this article by UiPath on "What is Robotic Process Automation" and the Robotic Process Automation page on Wikipedia.

Okay, let's continue. Given the current global Covid-19 crisis, hiring around the world has slowed. Many people, qualified and talented, have lost jobs. Some might be thinking about changing jobs, careers, or up skilling. RPA is a great place to start. Why should you learn RPA?

  1. It's omnipresent. Few industries aren't affected by RPA. From automotive to retail, RPA is changing how businesses operate and function. Regardless of your current industry or job, RPA can be relevant to you.
  2. Automate, don't be automated.  In 2013 Oxford published a now-famous study estimating 47% of US jobs are at risk of being automated. By learning RPA or other automation software and skills, you can increase your internal relevance and importance. It's hard to lay off the person who manages the bots that keep an organization running.
  3. It's (pretty) easy! Last year, #learntocode received a lot of bad press. Coding isn't easy and suggesting everyone "learn to code" isn't practical. RPA is easier to learn. Products like UiPath and BluePrism have drag and drop interfaces, like Visio, meaning you can "code" without writing code.
  4. It's free. Seriously! UiPath, Automation Anywhere, and BluePrism, the three largest software vendors, all offer free online training. Some offer free certifications that you can add to your LinkedIn, resume, and job applications.

So let's say you've now taken some introductory courses on RPA and maybe earned a certification. What's next?

It depends. Here are some ideas:

  • If your company is already engaged in RPA, ask to participate! Implementing and maintaining RPA requires a lot of different skill sets: business analysts (BAs), project managers (PMs), and developers. There's a role for everyone to play.
  • If your company isn't using RPA, should they? Take the initiative to find out where RPA could be applicable and see how you can help them implement it.
  • Lastly, if you're looking to completely change careers or companies, look at the jobs we have posted on our job board! Hiring may be down in other sectors, but RPA is in demand. There are hundreds of open roles across the world with great companies seeking qualified RPA talent.

Right now, times are tough and I hope this helps. RPA is a promising industry and valuable skill set to have. In future posts, we'll cover how to get started with each of the RPA vendors, pros and cons, and other insights.