What is an FA engineer? Explanation of the annual salary, job description, and future prospects.


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There are many types of "engineers" with specialized knowledge and skills in machinery, networking, and other fields, which can be categorized in detail. You may be interested in one of them, "FA engineer," and are considering changing jobs.

FA engineers are mainly responsible for factory automation. Demand for FA engineers is expanding, and their annual salary tends to be high.

In this issue, we will introduce the types of FA engineers, their job descriptions, annual salary rates, and future prospects. In addition, we will also introduce how to aim for an increase in annual salary.

Types of FA Engineers and Job Descriptions


To begin with, factory automation (FA) refers to the automation of factories. By entrusting the processing of materials, assembly work, and transportation of products to machines in the production process, it can reduce labor costs, avoid human error, and ensure worker safety. The introduction of machines based on automation is indispensable for this FA.

FA engineers are responsible for the design, development, and installation of factory equipment.

FA engineers can be divided into more detailed job categories. First, let's take a look at the different types of FA engineers and what they do.

Mechanical Designer

Mechanical designers are responsible for designing machines to be installed in factories. Since the structure of the equipment itself is to be designed, specialized knowledge is required to understand all the specifications. They also have to predict the size of the machine, how it will work, and its cost, and design it to fit the budget.

Job Description of a Mechanical Designer

The main job of a mechanical designer is to design machines to be utilized in factory production lines. In addition to determining machine specifications, they also incorporate information that is essential for production in the factory into design documents and drawings.

Once the design documents and drawings are completed and the machine is finished, we work with the manufacturing department to make a prototype, and if there are no problems, the machine is actually incorporated into the production line. Another part of the designer's job is to communicate the operation of the machine to the product manufacturing department. If a problem occurs with a machine during production, the designer works with the factory department to find the cause of the problem and devise a solution.

The job of a machine designer is to turn his or her own ideas of "how to make things more convenient" into reality. If the automation of a factory is facilitated by the completed product, the workload of factory workers will be reduced and the production rate will be improved, enabling the delivery of products to many consumers.

Electrical Design Engineer

Electrical design engineers basically work on the electrical systems of equipment. The work is divided into two parts: the hardware part, such as sensors and control panels, and the software part, which is used to create programs to operate the machines. Depending on the company, there may be a division of labor, or a single team may handle both hardware and software.

Electrical Design Engineer Job Description

The work of an electrical design engineer varies widely, for example, understanding the electrical requirements and specifications of equipment and creating wiring diagrams and schematics for the electrical system. In addition, the hardware part of the design includes selecting the sensors to be incorporated into the machine, how to drive the motors, and designing the control panel, while the software part includes designing the PLC program and creating the touch panel.

Electrical design requires specialized knowledge of electricity and the types of electrical components, their uses, and standards. Wiring diagrams are created using CAD software, so it is also important to be able to use CAD software proficiently.

Control Design Engineer

Control design engineers design the control systems necessary to operate machines. For example, an air conditioning unit may be equipped with a function that automatically adjusts airflow according to the room temperature to maintain a comfortable temperature. This is adjusted by the control system.

For machinery installed in a factory, a control system can also be incorporated to ensure that it operates in a manner appropriate to the situation. Because control is an essential function of any piece of equipment, control design engineers are in high demand.

Controls Design Engineer Job Description

The job of a Controls Design Engineer is primarily to design control systems to make mechanical products operate according to specifications. An essential part of the control design engineer's work is the PLC program.

A PLC program is a control system that is used to control from an external device. Originally, in factories, with numerous devices such as robots, sensors, and motors in operation, each device had a relay circuit that sent signals to the next device for coordination.

Today, however, PLC programs allow us to memorize the sequential operation of devices and equipment, and to control their operation.

The areas of control design engineer and electrical design engineer are blurred. In some cases, a single person may be responsible for both control design and electrical design.

Robot Engineer

Robot engineers are responsible for designing and developing industrial robots and promoting factory automation. Teaching" is essential to operate industrial robots. Teaching means giving a program to a robot and teaching it to perform a desired operation.

For example, if you want a robot to carry an object to a different location, first move the robot to the location where the object is located, and once the robot has the object, move it to the location where you want it to be placed and have it placed. Then, the robot is instructed to return to the original location. Teaching enables robots to perform tasks that were previously performed by humans, thereby improving production efficiency and reducing labor costs.

Robot Engineer Job Description

Robot engineers are responsible for all aspects of robot development. For example, they define the requirements necessary to develop robots, such as performance indicators, budgets, and safety standards, and actually design and develop specific robots.

The completed robot is then subjected to repeated experimentation and verification, basically to confirm whether it works accurately and how well it performs. We also verify safety and test whether the robot can be used in production without any problems.

Robot engineers also maintain and support the robots after development. Even if a highly durable robot is completed, if maintenance is not performed on a regular basis, abnormalities may occur. Updating the software built into the robot is another part of the robot engineer's job.

Annual salary of FA engineers


The annual salary for FA engineers ranges from 4 to 8 million yen. According to a survey conducted by doda, a job information and career change website, of approximately 630,000 registered users during the one-year period from September 2022 to August 2023, the average annual salary for engineering (electrical, electronic, and mechanical) was approximately 4.55 million yen. When classified in detail, circuit/system designers earn approximately 5.29 million yen, production engineering/mechanical designers earn approximately 4.94 million yen, and embedded/control designers earn approximately 4.70 million yen.

In one's 20s, the average annual salary is about 3.8 million yen due to lack of experience, but in one's 30s, it is about 4.8 million yen, in one's 40s, it is about 5.35 million yen, and in one's 50s or older, it increases to about 6.58 million yen. If you have specialized and in-demand skills, your annual salary will be more likely to increase.

Future Prospects for FA Engineers


Some people who are interested in becoming FA engineers may be concerned about whether their future prospects are truly secure. Here we will explain the future of FA engineers.

Demand is expanding due to the development of AI and IoT

In recent years, technologies such as AI and IoT have made remarkable progress. An increasing number of companies are aiming to develop and introduce systems that incorporate AI and IoT technologies in order to improve productivity in their factories as well.

AI, in particular, can quickly respond to fluctuating production conditions by analyzing data, thereby improving the flexibility of production lines. AI machine learning can also minimize the risk of equipment failure and production interruptions by predicting problems in advance and enabling maintenance to be performed before abnormalities occur. The demand for FA engineers is increasing for the introduction of such technologies.

However, in order to incorporate technologies related to AI and IoT, it is necessary to learn software technology and statistical skills that FA engineers do not handle. Therefore, FA engineers who will be in high demand in the future will be those who have also learned technologies related to AI and IoT.

Automation in factories is increasing year by year.

Automation of production processes in factories is progressing year by year, and demand for FA engineers who are responsible for automation is also increasing. Although automating production processes involves an initial investment in equipment, it can reduce labor costs. In addition, the mechanization of production lines makes it possible to produce around the clock.

If human operators perform the production process, they may be affected by poor concentration or aging, resulting in the production of low-quality products, but if the production process is automated by machines, quality can be stabilized. Data from sensors and other devices can be acquired, stored, and analyzed to further improve efficiency and processes.

In this way, factory automation offers a variety of benefits, and more and more companies are adopting it. As factory automation progresses, the demand for factory automation engineers will naturally increase.

Manufacturing plants are returning to the domestic market

The fact that manufacturing plants are returning to the domestic market is another reason why demand for FA engineers is expected to increase. Until now, manufacturers have tried to reduce labor costs and shipping costs overseas by setting up factories overseas. However, the impact of the new coronavirus, which has led to instability in production systems and the effects of the U.S.-China trade friction and the weak yen, has caused many manufacturers to consider returning to the domestic market.

The government is also promoting support to encourage manufacturers to return to Japan. The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) is also supporting the establishment of domestic production bases with a budget of several hundred billion yen. As a result of these efforts, we can expect to see more and more manufacturing plants returning to the domestic market.

How to increase your income as an FA engineer

Although FA engineers are positioned to have a higher average annual salary than other industries, if you are aiming for a higher annual salary, try the following methods.

Aim for management positions

First, to increase your annual salary, we recommend that you aim for a management position. Basically, an engineer cannot proceed with a project alone, but must cooperate with multiple members. A managerial position is an important role to organize the members.

In addition to specialized work, managers are also responsible for project progress management, quality control, and member training. The range of work that you can handle will expand, and this will affect your annual income.

If you aim for a managerial position above the rank of section manager, it is not a dream to achieve an annual income of 10 million yen. If you are not dissatisfied with your current company, if your work is being evaluated well, or if you can demonstrate your strengths in a managerial position, you should aim for a career advancement to a managerial position, as it is likely to lead to an increase in annual income.

Changing jobs to a company that offers higher income

Even if you are the same FA engineer and your job description is the same, your annual salary will differ depending on the company. If you are dissatisfied with your current job, or if you do not expect much of an increase in annual income even if you become a manager, we recommend that you change jobs to a company that offers higher income.

If your goal is to increase your annual salary, choose an industry in which the market is expanding or is expected to expand. For example, the semiconductor industry is already expanding and is likely to expand further in the future.

If you want to change jobs with a company that offers high income potential, consider using a job site that suits your needs. United World" is a job site that offers a wide variety of IT jobs, including engineering jobs, mainly with foreign and domestic global companies. Our dedicated career advisors are here to support you in your job search.

If you are an FA engineer looking for a high paying position, United World is the place for you.

Summary: Change your career to become a FA engineer with high future potential and increase your annual salary.


FA engineers are in high demand at this time, but demand for this type of work is likely to increase further in the future. The average annual salary is also higher than other occupations.

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