Exploring the role of the RPA developer

RPA, or robotic process automation, is an increasingly present technology in companies worldwide. RPA handles routine digital processes in the same way that an employee would – but automatically, and with minimal need for human resource.

This cost-saving utility is seeing RPA growing in use. Alongside high demand for RPA, then, also comes a surge in the supply of RPA related jobs.  

Chief among the new wave of automation jobs is the position of the RPA developer. Without RPA developers, there’s no RPA — and none of the other RPA jobs waiting to be filled.

So, let’s take a closer look at the role of the RPA developer.

What does an RPA developer do?

There are two flavours to the RPA developer role.

  1. External providers: people that work to create robotic automation software to sell
  2. Internal deployers: people inside a company that has purchased RPA software, who then custom-implement it

Regardless of where in the industry you sit as an RPA developer, the core responsibilities remain much the same. Namely, to design, develop, and implement RPA systems.

We can break this down into a host of tasks:

  • Identify and design business processes suited for automation
  • Set up automated workflows
  • Test automated workflows
  • Monitor automated workflows
  • Bug fixes and maintenance of RPA systems

Skills of an RPA developer

Programming skills

It should come as no surprise that an RPA developer needs to have programming skills. This is mainly true for external RPA providers who are behind the building of the commercial RPA solution itself.

However, internal deployers also benefit from programming chops. Although many RPA platforms are low or no code, the flexibility to write your own scripts is enormously beneficial when custom-implementing a solution.

This encompasses coding skills, scripting experience, and application development experience. Problem-solving and analytical skills also come in handy.

Business process skills

An RPA developer also needs the ability to understand the current state of business processes. They need to have process mapping skills and workflow design skills.

This is because RPA is all about handling certain repetitive business processes. (Or at least, parts of them.)

A good developer of robotic process automation, then, needs to understand how the processes work, and what needs to change for them to be automatable. Along the same vein, not all processes and workflows are automatable. So, the developer needs to be able to identify which processes are suitable for the software.

Competency with data analytics

Automation software deals with data. If you’re making or deploying the automation tool, you need to know how to deal with data too. An RPA developer needs the ability to perform operations on data sets, as well as SQL and relational database understanding.

Experience with RPA platforms

Experience using a low code RPA platform is incredibly handy, as it provides initiation into the world of an RPA developer — what the goal of robotic process automation implementation is.

Why RPA is a growing job field

The role of the RPA developer is a newly important one. That is to say, the demand for RPA has grown dramatically in recent years and as such, there’s a higher demand for people to work with the technology.

Automation is a rapidly growing industry. In fact, the global RPA market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 32.8% from 2021 to 2028.

Meanwhile, 77% of RPA professionals expect their organisation to hire more RPA developers within the next 12 months.

The role of the RPA developer

RPA developer is one of the crucial roles growing in demand across the IT field. It opens the way to a host of other RPA related jobs, too.

Whether you’re a software developer or new to the tech industry, it’s possible (and highly lucrative) to become a robotic process automation professional.

Useful links

A beginner’s guide to BPR

What does low code mean? A simple overview in 500 words

Lucrative RPA jobs, and what they entail