Getting along well with robots can be a challenging task. However, for RPA developers, it’s just a job.
Within the last 5 years, Robotic Process Automation projects have proven to be high-margin initiatives across industries from accounting, insurance, and sales to manufacturing and oil and gas sectors. Forrester experts predict that by 2023 the RPA market will reach $12 billion.
What is the reason for this boom? Is it hype or the actual rise of the machines (oops, robots)?
One thing is for sure: the high adoption of RPA by a good range of industries has been caused by the undeniable benefits of automation: increased accuracy of data, reduced operational costs, and enhanced customer service.
Naturally, with the growing interest in RPA, the demand for RPA developers and related roles is also increasing.
In this article, we will define Robotic Process Automation technology, take a closer look at the RPA developer profession, determine the skill sets for various RPA related professions, and guide you on the first steps for a career in RPA.
What is RPA?
Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is a non-invasive technology that is used to automate repetitive tasks performed manually by humans in desktop or browser applications.
One should not confuse RPA with Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning. Although we may see the elements of both in RPA, Robotic Process Automation is more about rule-based technology, where bots are strictly guided by pre-set instructions.
Due to its rule-based nature, RPA is extremely popular in finance and accounting, as well as in human resources and insurance, where heavy operational burden and repetitive paperwork-based activities prevail. For these functions, RPA helps streamline data and document processing, keep records and update spreadsheets, and assist in invoicing and request management.
To be more specific, let’s see how you can build automations in ElectroNeek RPA integrated development environment (IDE), called Studio Pro. Basically it looks like this:
- Based on the tasks you need to execute within the workflow you simply drag and drop blocks in the IDE.
- To execute tasks, a bot follows instructions represented by graphic blocks that contain specific actions.
- The blocks, connected by arrows, build the logic of the processes.
- After the logic is built, you can save it and launch it on your computer. Bots will do the manual work for you.
One of the typical activities that can be easily handed over to a bot is switching between multiple CRMs and desktop applications in order to exchange data from one system to another. To do so, an RPA developer builds an algorithm for a bot using RPA platform functionalities. ElectroNeek Studio Pro allows even a non-technician to build efficient bots for simple to complex repetitive tasks as described above.
Nevertheless, some really sophisticated tasks require a little bit of coding, and this is the point when we jump right into the RPA developer’s pocket – let’s figure out what they actually do.
Who is an RPA developer?
To put it simply, an RPA developer is a professional in your team who works with both business analysts and operational managers to optimize business processes.
This sounds good, but a little general, right? So what actually an RPA developer does:
- Builds a set of requirements for building a process
- Builds, develops and tests automated workflows
- Deploys RPA components, such as development tools, bots, code repositories and logging tools
- Supports RPA projects implementation
- Executes RPA solutions quality assurance
- Interacts with Scrum masters, business and QA analysts to identify and implement initiatives within business process improvement
- Interacts with stakeholders to build technical requirements tailored to specific business needs
- Interacts with developers to ensure the proper implementation and integration
- Maintains testing and bugs fixing within the launch and deployment of bots
Depending on the company’s field, an RPA developer may execute these functions either for the company’s inner automation initiatives or for external clients (e.g. by being a part of an RPA and BPM consulting company). While working with external clients based on the company compliance requirements the process can be deployed either on an RPA developer (consulting firm) side or the client-side.
While “RPA developer” is a general term used to describe an RPA professional, there are various other titles related to RPA, which may differ according to the actual duties of the professional:
RPA Solution Architect:
Key function: Enables the RPA solution to be implemented, analyzes the initial infrastructure of the environments and other bots’ deployment requirements.
Key function: Administers and supports existing automation processes and initiates change implementation as part of the administration process.
Key function: Helps businesses to plan, design, configure, test, and launch automation projects.
Key function: Designs, implements, and tests bots based on the requirements of the business within automation initiatives.
RPA Business Analyst
Key function: Analyzes business opportunities for automation, works closely with teams to identify requirements, functional and process design of the automated solution.
As you can see, the RPA developer profession implies a diverse set of activities and functions depending on a specific organization’s needs. Often, the functions described above can be combined and executed within a single role in a company.
What does an RPA developer do: Use case
Let’s observe an example of a process that can be automated by an RPA developer with the help of ElectroNeek RPA bots.
Challenge: To create a weekly performance report a legal firm marketing manager spends hours logging into the task management system and collecting the data on all the tasks executed by team members one by one.
Once the information is collected and structured the manager creates the report.
In order to increase the manager’s productivity, the legal firm has addressed automation.
What an RPA developer does:
- Analyzes the company infrastructure and documents a set of requirements for building an automated process
- Builds a logic for a bot, i.e. by a set of commands an RPA developer guides the bot to execute activities usually performed by a human:
– To log into the task management CRM by using the manager’s credentials
– Go to the Team Tasks section
– Select a relevant team member board and copy the information on the tasks and their statuses
– Open a new Excel file and insert the information in the proper column containing a team member name
– Go back to the CRM and repeat the algorithm for other team members’ boards
– Once all the team members’ boards are processed, to end the activity.
- Once the bot logic is built the RPA developer tests the automated workflow, and
- Maintains bug fixing (if any) within the launch and deployment of the workflow
- Deploys bots in the production environment
- Performs ongoing maintenance and support for the project
Below you can see how the Excel-based workflow built by an RPA developer looks in ElectroNeek Studio PRO:
How to become an RPA Developer
So, you’ve set your mind to becoming an RPA developer. Where should you start?
First of all, let’s figure out the list of skills you need to have to enter this field.
Although there are various RPA-related positions in the market and each role has its specific skill set requirements, there are some common skills that any RPA expert is recommended to have in order to be considered for the best RPA positions.
The ideal RPA developer skill set includes:
- Programming capabilities: Java, .NET, C, or C++
- Specific mindset: an algorithmic and structured way of thinking
- Knowledge of database query language: SQL
- Understanding of the basics of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
According to the latest Indeed research, the average salary of an RPA developer is $61,024 for a junior specialist role and $130,447 for a lead developer position.
As for career growth, an RPA developer job opens a wide range of opportunities for growth as a professional.
By working with various CRMs, ERPs, programming, and database query languages you can grow your expertise and challenge yourself by taking new roles, such as RPA Solution Architect, Business analyst, or traditional Developer role and work with more complex projects.
RPA developer journey: where to start
But what if you are a complete newbie in RPA?
Here is a solution: get an RPA certification from a trusted RPA vendor. Good news! There is no need to Google it – ElectroNeek Academy is here to help you.
ElectroNeek Academy is a quality-learning interactive RPA environment with courses elaborated by leading RPA experts for users from beginner to advanced.
By choosing ElectroNeek Academy as your first step in the automation world, you get the opportunity to learn RPA from scratch, even with zero coding skills. ElectroNeek is the easiest to use RPA platform that allows even non-experts to build and deploy their automations in a no-code/low-code environment.
Here is what you can learn at ElectroNeek Academy – in fact, it is all you need to start your first automation projects:
- Introduction to RPA
- Introduction to ElectroNeek Studio Pro
- Desktop Apps Automation
- Web Automation
- Document Processing Automation (OCR)
- Spreadsheet Automation
In this article, we’ve defined Robotic Process Automation technology, taken a closer look at the RPA developer job, determined the skill set you need to have to obtain the ideal RPA job, and provided you with guidance on your first steps to a career in RPA.
We hope our article has debunked any myths and fears you may have had with regards to starting a career in RPA and can make your RPA journey smoother.
Dreaming of RPA? Start your journey with ElectroNeek!