What is the difference between an automation engineer and a controls engineer?

Automation vs Controls Engineer

Suppose you are looking for career advice concerning different engineering fields. You are in the right place. Engineering is a vast and sometimes confusing field because of so many interconnected areas. However, engineering has 4 branches: mechanical, electrical, civil and chemical engineering. First, you have to select which branch you want to go to, then choose a specialization area of that branch. It will help you to break down the big query into smaller ones. However, if you are particularly looking for the difference between automation engineering and control engineering, follow the article. We have discussed every important detail of both fields and their differences. So be informed, and good luck with your career.

Automation Engineer: An Introduction

Automation engineers develop and maintain computer-aided systems and processes. They retain the computer-controlled manufacturing and processing systems. They automate the different parts of the system to increase its efficiency. Their job is to plan and make the system more intelligent so it requires less human interaction. Sometimes, they also create an entirely new technology to support any computer-aided system. They work in different industries like food, pharmaceuticals, and plastic. They make models of a system to check their effectiveness. They also control and monitor these systems’ workflow using different software. Automation Engineer can be any engineer with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and can work with mechanical systems and computers. 

Academic requirements for Automation Engineer:

Most automation engineers hold a bachelor’s degree in any engineering field relevant to mechanical physics. Moreover, they are the experts in computer-aided systems and computer-aided manufacturing. They have courses in databases, robotics, and statistics. They also know electronics and understand computer languages.

Academic requirements for Automation Engineer

Trainings they must have:

They work in different manufacturing companies, such as food, medicine, and heavy industrial production sectors. They usually work on the computer systems behind these productions. They maintain and control computer-aided manufacturing.

Responsibilities of an automation Engineer:

Their duties vary according to the industry. It also depends on whether they are working with machines or programming languages. However, their general responsibility is to build more efficient systems, and it remains the same everywhere. They work with other engineering teams to build automated systems. They have skills like how to plan an automated system and how to maintain and control it later. They introduce the company with new technology and always try to make it more useful. The efficiency of their systems is determined by the fact that their system requires human interaction. Some more responsibilities are:

  • Communication with the client to get a complete knowledge of their requirements.
  • Conduct research to design new automation technology.
  • They create a relationship between input coming from the client, controllers, and system output.
  • They establish a monitoring and quality assurance process to assess the quality of the new system.
  • They detect and remove errors and bugs in the technology.
  • Make it easy to interact with humans to increase the work effectiveness.

Controls Engineer: A brief Introduction

They create design layouts, materials, and information flow for a system to increase production. They play a vital role in plant operations. They are important for many industries related to electrical, mechanical, and engineering production. They mostly design and develop systems for manufacturing operations. 

Academic Requirements for Control Engineers:

Bachelor’s degree in mechanical, electrical, and manufacturing engineering. The post requires 2 to 4 years of work experience in the relevant field. However, the control engineer must have experience in relevant software and computer-aided systems. Excellent communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills. They must have the ability to determine the analytical and mechanical complexities of the system, and this requires industrial experience in the relevant field. 

Responsibilities of a control engineer

Their most important task is ensuring the plant runs smoothly and efficiently. Further responsibilities are given below:

  • Maintain the quality and safety standards of the production site.
  • They design dedicated systems and maintain their quality mainly relevant to production.
  • They have excellent error detection skills and know how to solve on-site issues.
  • They must have good communication skills.
  • Their duty is to control the workforce and manage the production team.

Career prospects


They design and manufacture control systems for robots. These control systems play a vital role in manufacturing or working robots. Control Engineers create sophisticated control algorithms to enable the robot to do complex tasks. They also create a feedback control system for the robots.


They create control systems for aircraft and spacecraft for their navigation and crucial processes. They also try to design control systems that will support automation design systems. 

Food and Pharmaceutical production

They also work in production industries such as food and medicines. They design systems that will enhance the quality and quantity of the product. They also make sure how to increase production by using fewer resources. They work like a catalytic ingredient in the production sector.

Automation Engineer vs. Controls Engineer

Automation Engineer vs Controls Engineer

Job Duties

Somewhere, their job duties collaborate, but both fields are pretty specific in their work. Automation engineers focus on designing and creating automated systems requiring fewer human interactions. They research, design and build intelligent machines. On the other hand, control engineers monitor and control the flow of the systems. They design and build control systems that will assist the automation systems. The point is both design, build and maintain systems; however, automation engineers use modern automated technology and control engineers work with conventional technology. 


Both possess the technical and analytical skills to do their job. However, automation engineers are more into programming languages, and control engineers are more good with mechanical work along with the coding. Their skills are not very distinctive. They use similar work training to do their job. 

Work Environment and Salary:

Typically, they have similar types of work environments. Both work for production companies relevant to mechanics, electronics, robotics, food and medicine. Automation engineers make more than control engineers concerning their salaries.


To conclude, both fields are interesting and require a lot of training and a strong educational background. However, before making any decision, you need to be well-informed. Keep in mind your interests and area of expertise. 


Automation Engineer vs. Controls Engineer: What are the Differences?

Automation engineering is more about manufacturing automation systems that require less human interaction, while control systems are made to control the flow of any process or production.

What is an Automation Engineer and Controls Engineer?

Automation engineers research, design, and create intelligent and automated machines such as robots. However, control engineers design, manufacture and control the production flow by using control systems.

How do I choose the right automation and controls engineer?

If you want to reach the skilful automation and control engineer, you can contact to our consultant or you can email us on the given email address on the website.