Why would a biology major be interested in robotic process automation (RPA)? Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with one of our interns and his UiPath manager to get the answer to that very question.
Jarius: My name is Jarius Garner. I’m a junior biology major at Howard University and I have been at UiPath as an Academic Alliance Intern for the past three months. You are probably wondering to yourself, “Why would a biology major want to learn RPA?”
I have always had a very high interest in the interconnection of technology and medicine and how tech can improve healthcare in the United States (U.S.), and this led me to UiPath. Currently at UiPath, with the guidance and aid of my mentor, Robert Love, I have spread the vision of a robot for every student to multiple colleges and universities around the country while also learning the intricacies of RPA and artificial intelligence (AI).
Robert: I am currently part of the UiPath Academic Alliance team, but have been onboard the RPA bandwagon for about three-and-a-half years. When you think about RPA, you normally think a lot about business efficiency and how it will change the future of work. I believe there is a compelling story for RPA in the future of education. Even in another fast-growing field like data science—where I spent most of my career—there is often a higher technical barrier to entry and impact is often harder to determine. Not to mention, there is still a fair amount of manual and repetitive work.
Want to hear more about Robert's experience entering and working in tech? He was a guest on an episode of Inside the Rocketship podcast. Check it out!
What type of background do you need to do RPA?
Jarius: None! At first, when I heard the words “robotic process automation,” I immediately thought that the only way I would be able to learn it was if I had a background in coding (which I have very little of). Luckily, this was not the case. Students in all disciplines and majors can learn RPA as it requires no background in coding. And UiPath StudioX simplifies the entire process by providing drag-and-drop features to create automation processes.
Robert: Well, I think many backgrounds are suitable for RPA. If you have a background in coding, then you probably have a head start on becoming a formal RPA developer. I would say that the biggest determinants though, are motivation and having a clear goal. There are also plenty of RPA roles other than RPA developer. For instance, there are many roles where a background in business processes or process improvement can be beneficial.
UiPath learning resources are tremendous and development has only gotten easier. I was pretty excited when I first learned UiPath from the UiPath Academy. The content was very structured and centralized, and I didn’t have to spend much of my time bouncing from resource to resource—as I previously did for info on machine learning approaches. After learning UiPath, I quickly introduced it to at least a couple dozen people. I know a few of them really took to it and have been applying RPA in their jobs ever since.
Where do you see RPA being used in your field?
J**arius**: As an aspiring surgeon, RPA has many uses in the field of science and medicine. There are many administrative duties that healthcare systems must do, such as: inventory tracking, audit procedures, and claims management. With RPA in place, healthcare systems become more efficient and this creates a happier environment for patients. On the scientific and technical sides of things, RPA can be used to diagnose patient ailments using AI. This can provide more accurate diagnoses for patients and reduce the number of misdiagnoses. RPA has a big future in all areas of medicine and it is only a matter of time before a robot is on every computer in your local hospital.
Robert: I spend most of my time thinking about RPA in the education space. Beyond educating students in how to use RPA, I think there is a lot of opportunity to make education more efficient by directly applying RPA to school processes. That includes everything from enrollment and registration processes to exam scheduling and progress reporting. If you can make those things operate more smoothly, then you free up time for administrators, educators, and students to spend more time and energy on instruction.
How is RPA shaping the future of education?
J**arius**: Education is the backbone of our society and, recently, (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) most students (including myself) have been treated to a new form of college many are calling “Zoom University.” However, with great problems come great solutions. And RPA is the solution.
Through the UiPath Academy, RPA can be learned in a four-hour starter course that teaches the basics of RPA and UiPath software. For schools that are part of the UiPath Academic Alliance, there is a classroom version of the starter course (with materials provided to instructors) as well. This opens the door to swathes of students to be able to gain a new trade. With the future of education now being primarily online, automation skills are becoming an increasingly more important skill for students to know. The future of education is RPA.
Robert: I think RPA is so transformative that you will see it massively adopted in universities, on online learning platforms, in continuing education environments, and in secondary schools. We’ll see more and more mechanisms for people who are something other than computer scientists to learn about RPA. There are a lot of parallels between RPA and the growth trajectory I have seen with data science. A big difference is I believe RPA has a greater ability to directly improve the status quo.
Is RPA in your future?
Whether you're a university student or an executive already in your professional career (or anywhere in between), we offer a large variety of free courses on UiPath Academy. Check them out!
Is your alma mater part of the UiPath Academic Alliance? If not, this video is a great introduction to share with them.
And if Jarius has inspired you to intern at UiPath, be sure to check out our current internship opportunities.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.uipath.com/blog/rpa/biology-student-data-scientist-discuss-future-of-rpa