Joseph Bailey – MSc Robotics graduate

Year of graduation: 2010

Current Employer: Autotech Robotics Ltd

Current Job Title: Engineering Manager

Current Location: Plymouth

“Plymouth was always high on my list of choices. The reason for that was that the reputation of the robotics course was top flight.”

Tell us what you have been doing since completing your studies.

After university, I worked as an IT administrator at a building company whilst looking for a job that I could be really excited about. When the opportunity to work for Autotech came around, I jumped at the chance and made the move into my current career. Since then, I’ve been working in the automation industry, providing automated manufacturing systems to many different industries including car manufacture, plant manufacture, and even some specialist industries.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

I’ve worked on some projects in which we have been the first company to produce working versions of new industrial systems. One of these was a system designed to laser track a lap joint for welding which I really enjoyed being a part of; but the most fun one was automating a precision centreless grinder manufacturing process, which I also believe to be the first of its kind.

What would you do differently since graduating?

Very little. Maybe the only thing would be whilst working in my first job, I allowed myself to become comfortable and it stopped me looking for the career I really wanted for a while. I would definitely choose to keep my resolve when job hunting and find my current job more quickly.

Imagine you were about to start university again - with the benefit of hindsight - what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

I didn’t take a placement year during my degree, at the time I felt like the time and effort I would put into finding a position could better be applied to my studies. Since then I’ve seen the difference that time in industry has made to the placement engineers we’ve had here and have found myself really regretting the decision not to do it.

What was your main reason for choosing to study your course at Plymouth? With hindsight how significant was this for you?

Plymouth was always high on my list of choices. The reason for that was that the reputation of the robotics course was top flight. I’m really glad I was accepted on the course because it was everything I was told it would be (and more). I also found transitioning into the additional masters really easy, even though it was not part of my original plan.

How did we support you in your studies? If you used any support services whilst at the university how did they enable you to get to where you are today?

Every member of staff I encountered during my time at Plymouth was incredibly helpful. They always had time to answer questions outside of lectures and were always willing to steer you in the right direction if you were struggling with something. I found the library to be invaluable during my course, for many reasons: the wealth of knowledge was incredibly useful for research assignments and sometimes just having a quiet place to sit and work was more valuable than I realised at first.

How did studying at Plymouth change your career aspirations and plans?

I almost stumbled blindly into my degree. I was interested in electronics at school, and robotics seemed like an exciting extension of that, but I had no idea what job it would get me or what I was going to do once the course was over. During my time at Plymouth, with the help of lecturers and support staff, I was able to form solid plans for my future and I’m happy to say that they’re on track for the moment.

What is your favourite memory of studying for your degree at Plymouth?

I remember working on a project in my second year; my friend and I were three weeks into a month-long project that would make up most of the final grade for the module, when due to an unfortunate circumstance all the work we had done so far was lost. While our lecturer was sympathetic there was really nothing he could do to help, so we had a week to make up our work. We chose a slightly simpler concept for our do-over, but we managed to work hard enough that week, and complete our task so comprehensively, that we managed to earn the highest mark in the class. I still remember how good that felt.

Inspired by this story?

For more information about studying robotics, please visit our MSc Robotics course page. For more information about our range of courses within the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics, please visit the school page.

Want to find similar alumni?

If you would like to find out what other relevant alumni from the Faculty of Science and Engineering are currently doing, please visit the engineering and robotics interest area.