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Calling All Gamers: Modern Manufacturing Needs You

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Are you one of the 60 percent of young Americans who regularly play video games?[1] Ever consider making a career out of your hobby?

Professional gamer is probably the first job title you thought of, right? With only about 2,000 pro gamers in the world, getting paid to play is about as tough as making it in the NBA, NFL or MLB.[2]

The good news is there’s a huge industry that needs workers with your gaming skills: robotic welding, and more generally, manufacturing.

Thanks to automation, the field has changed dramatically. But the workforce hasn’t, resulting in a skills gap.

Here’s how your gaming skills could help you land positions in modern manufacturing.[3]

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Skilled Labor Shortage in Manufacturing

Stifling factories, sweaty assembly lines and hard manual labor are a thing of the past in the manufacturing industry. Today, computer-controlled robots do most of the heavy lifting.

And guess who’s in charge of those computers? Skilled workers.

These days, working in the manufacturing industry requires either a technical skillset or trade-based skills to substitute for the tasks the machines can’t handle.[3]

The problem is, workers with these kinds of skills are in short supply. The old way of doing things has given manufacturing an image problem, and as a result, the National Association of Manufacturing and Deloitte project that 2.4 million jobs could go unfilled between 2018 and 2028.

The American Welding Society indicates that 40 percent of manufacturing firms turned down new contracts because they didn’t have enough skilled workers.[4] One of the ways the industry is attempting to spread awareness about the problem is by holding a national Manufacturing Day each year.

 

How Gaming Skills Crossover Into Modern Manufacturing

Directing an avatar to jump or run in a virtual world with a videogame controller is quite similar to operating a welding robot with a touch-screen interface.[5] The big difference is, you’re making something real that people pay good money for in manufacturing.

Kinetiq Teaching has allowed for once prohibitively expensive welding robots to be used in small- and medium-sized operations, as well as large ones, by doing away with the need for complicated computer programing. Robotic welding operators manually position the robotic arm near the workpiece and then use a handheld, touch-screen interface to make it start welding, effectively programming the robot.

Afterward, the robotic welder operator can play back the programmed trajectory and make changes on the fly. “A user-friendly touch-screen menu is now all that stands between robotic welding and the welder,” notes Welding Productivity Magazine. Anyone with welding knowledge can apply it to Kinetiq Teaching.

Besides the manual dexterity needed to operate the controllers, what other gaming skills can be applied to a career in robotic welding or automated manufacturing? Check out the chart below:[6][7][8]

Skills Needed Gaming Automated Manufacturing Robotic Welding
Critical Thinking X X X
Problem Solving X X X
Attention to Detail X X X
Persistence X X X
Spatial Reasoning X X X
Team Work X X X
Goal Setting X X X

A Career in Modern Manufacturing

There are several reasons to consider a career in manufacturing. The pay can be relatively good, companies often offer benefits and the shortage of qualified workers means there should be plenty of job opportunities in the coming years for people with the right skills—people like you.[9]

As a gamer, you already have some of the skills needed for jobs in semi- or fully-automated welding or other manufacturing sectors. But the other skills necessary for this kind of job come from an entirely different type of learning.

Robotic welder operators need to understand the fundamentals of fusing metal, which can be learned in welding courses at a trade school. Classes in robotics at a vocational school, manufacturing firm or robotic equipment manufacturer are also usually necessary.

Interested in learning more? Check out the benefits of trade school.

Additional Sources