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Mastering robotic process automation: Essential skills for success

19 Jun 2023

Robotic process automation can help teams save time at work, so it is a good skill to learn as you will always be in demand.

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Robotic process automation (RPA) is quite a commonly used technology in the workplace, particularly in industries like health and financial services where accuracy is important.

The ‘robotic’ in RPA is something of a misnomer as there are actually no physical robots involved – you won’t find R2D2 sitting at the desk across from you. Instead, RPA is a computer-based software that automates tasks – particularly repetitive, rules-based tasks. It can be ‘trained’ to complete different tasks that are too high-volume or boring for humans to do.

Let’s take a look at some of the skills you will need to become an RPA developer.


Most RPA is low-code, but developers should understand how the tech works. A lot of the time, if you are looking to become an RPA developer, you may have some previous development experience, which will stand to you.

Languages such as SQL, HTML, CSS, Python and JavaScript are all good ones to have. Perhaps the most important coding skill for RPA is the Microsoft .NET framework, as this is one of the most widely used languages. Of these, Visual Basic .NET is the most important one to know, as it gives you access to Microsoft’s collection of prebuilt methods for overseeing all data types for RPA systems.

Data analytics

As an RPA developer, you are effectively training a bot to carry out the same processes as you. The reason you train a bot and therefore automate your colleagues’ more repetitive tasks at work is, of course, to save on time.

In order to train the bot, you’ll need to understand what kind of data it will have access to as part of its function. RPA is often used in data science, so a good understanding of what data analysts and scientists do and what they need is beneficial if you are to use your skills to help them.

RPA platforms

UiPath, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism and Pega are just some of the most popular RPA tools out there. A lot of these platforms are low-code or no-code so if your coding skills are lacking you should become proficient in at least one of these platforms.

UiPath is probably the most widely used RPA tool, but this guide by Unite.AI helpfully explains in detail some of the most popular tools and what their functions are depending on your industry.


Because you’ll be working to implement RPA processes for lots of different teams, you will need to be good at listening, patient and accustomed to collaborating with people from a variety of different backgrounds. For example, you might be working with people from a financial services or insurance background and you will have to explain how your work will help them. You’ll also have to understand what they do in order to know what processes to automate.


RPA and AI may sound similar but they are actually different as RPA does not have the ability to learn like AI does. However, if you use both technologies together they complement each other and can definitely benefit organisations.

AI is everywhere right now, so brushing up on those skills and having an idea of where AI and RPA can intersect to benefit an organisation is a big plus from an employer’s point of view.

Learning paths

If you’re wondering ‘Why RPA?’, this course from Coursera could potentially help explain why and make the case for the tech.

Coursera also has beginner courses on RPA, such as this one, which offers an introduction to UiPath. Udemy, Simplilearn and Pluralsight are all good bets for RPA beginners’ courses, too.

UiPath’s blog is an excellent resource to find things like case studies, webinars and other learning resources.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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