8 Key Skills in Surgical Robotics
8 Key Skills in Surgical Robotics
oday, the field of surgical robotics is largely associated with minimally invasive surgery—it's how doctors perform complex procedures with greater precision and control than is possible with more conventional techniques. But tomorrow it's going to mean a whole lot more than that.
- Groundbreaking solutions that not only diagnose but treat diseases at the same time
- Mobile training labs that use virtual reality to simulate complex surgical procedures, with the goal of making surgery safer for people everywhere
Looking to launch or build your career in this exciting space, and help us change the future of health for good? Just make sure you have some of the following skills, traits and competencies under your belt.
Among the most fascinating things about surgical robotics—and the reason it's such a dynamic space in which to build a career—is the role that creativity plays in the end-to-end design and development process. Why? Because you're building a bridge between hardware and software.
Think about it: On the one hand, your work will involve physical components: sensors, arms, motors—all of the advanced instrumentation behind today's most sophisticated minimally invasive techniques. On the other, you’ll be dealing with state-of-the-art software, which requires knowledge of operating systems, data analytics, programming languages and more.
So whatever your specialty might be—from systems integration to mechatronics, visualization and imaging, machine learning and artificial intelligence and more—you’ll find amazing opportunities to unleash your creativity. When you join our team, in fact, you’ll always be encouraged to experiment, collaborate and try new things.
We believe that truly groundbreaking innovation is only made possible when people with unique backgrounds, perspectives and skill sets come together. How we're innovating in new surgical robotics is no exception. This is deeply cross-functional and interdisciplinary work.
For starters, you'll need to know pretty much everything about a specific unmet need: what current treatments are available, where there's room for improvement and why. As a result, you'll be hearing from surgeons and front-line medical practitioners. Meanwhile, you'll also be gathering input from business heads and listening to experts in supply chain and manufacturing. Finally, you'll have to coordinate with Market Access teams to ensure that the products you're working on are accessible to doctors and patients everywhere.
To be successful, in other words, you'll need to feel at home at the center of a highly collaborative, cross-functional process. It's part of the reason we're always looking for team players.
Meeting the needs of patients, doctors and nurses is the first commitment in Our Credo at Johnson & Johnson, and relentless curiosity is the engine that allows us to do so.
It's what drives us to tinker, experiment and iterate. It's the reason we're constantly asking "Why..." and "What if..." And it's more than just a source of new ideas but part of what binds us—as unique and different individuals—together as a cohesive team with a common identity.
So curiosity is a major part of our DNA at Johnson & Johnson, and we hope it's part of yours, too.
This might seem like an offshoot of curiosity, but troubleshooting—at least in the context of surgical robotics—comes down to more than that. What does it look like in practice?
Developing test algorithms. Debugging. Supporting the evolution of prototypes. Ensuring the repeatability and reproducibility of findings. Understanding test requirements from both a hardware and software standpoint.
All of these things depend on the ability of our colleagues at Johnson & Johnson to troubleshoot effectively. You might say that troubleshooting is a key part of how we validate our boldest and brightest new ideas—and if we do it right, those ideas might one day literally save people's lives.
Surgical robots are exquisite marvels of engineering, so a baseline understanding of engineering fundamentals is going to be key. Right now, for example, we’re hiring people with expertise in the following areas:
- Biomedical engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Mechanical engineering
- Robotics and controls engineering
- Software engineering
- Systems engineering
If you’re an undergrad and unsure which engineering specialty will best pave the way for a career in surgical robotics, it's a good idea to check with your academic advisor or the career center at your college. After all, every school takes a slightly different approach. Some offer coursework around robotics through their mechanical engineering departments. Others offer similar coursework for electrical engineers, and still others treat robotics itself as a dedicated specialty.
So ask around to see what the case may be—after all, there's no substitute for practical, hands-on experience. And if you can supplement that experience with proficiency in, say, a programming language (as we'll see next), you should be good to go.
It might sound obvious, but at the end of the day, surgical robots are very, very, very sophisticated machines. How do you get them to do useful, and potentially even life-changing, things?
Well, for starters, you have to be able to communicate with them. That's the reason you'll need to have some knowledge of the languages they speak—and some proficiency in programming—in order to make the most impact on our team.
That said, it's fine if programming isn't your primary area of expertise. In fact, we like it when team members are "bilingual," or bring more than one core competency to the table. That's definitely something to keep in mind. Having baseline knowledge of an object-oriented programming language like C or C++, together with other functional expertise, should be enough to get your foot in the door.
Where does data science come into play in the context of innovation in surgical robotics? The better question is probably this one: Where doesn't it?
For starters, our robots quite literally run on data. So it's no surprise that we're always on the lookout for skilled data scientists to join our surgical robotics teams. These professionals add so much value, contributing to both the design and development of data modeling processes, machine learning algorithms, predictive models—and a whole lot more.
Like other technology-driven, rapidly evolving fields, surgical robotics is an area where massive breakthroughs happen all the time. New platforms, programming languages, design ideas and applications are constantly being discovered—and with seemingly limitless possibilities on the horizon right now, that isn't going to change any time soon.
So you'll need to be committed to ongoing learning if you want to stay ahead of the latest innovations in the field. And, needless to say, we'll also do our part to help you out. In fact, you'll find that learning and development are cornerstones of our culture at Johnson & Johnson. When you're empowered with best-in-class tools and resources, it's a whole lot easier to stay on top of your game.
Join Our Surgical Robotics Team Today
Ready to apply your unique skill set to take on today's most urgent and complex healthcare challenges? To collaborate with best and the brightest from around the world? To help us change the trajectory of health for good?
If so—and if you have or are working to acquire the skills outlined above—then we're excited to meet you. Check out all of the openings we have in surgical robotics at Johnson & Johnson right now, and before you go, sign up for our global talent community, too. The latter is an easy way to stay in touch, learn more about our culture and even get updates about jobs that might interest you in the future.