I made the decision to learn Robotic Process Automation (RPA) after discovering RPA was a fast-growing area in information technology with great career prospects.
Is RPA easy to learn? RPA is easy to learn compared with other technologies as it doesn’t require any programming knowledge to get started using the common RPA tools from UIPath, Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere, which are available as either free editions or trial versions for people to practise with.
Compared to other technologies, I found RPA a lot easier and this kept me motivated in learning more and more.
Getting proficient in the basics of RPA was easy enough, as I learnt about the principles and how to use popular RPA software. All in all, I would recommend RPA as an easy to learn technology and below are my 11 reasons why you could succeed in RPA.
1. No math required
To start learning about RPA you don’t need to have a background in mathematics, this is because a lot of the RPA software is designed for normal users to automate the day to day manual tasks. to achieve this the RPA software is designed to make them easier and more intuitive to use. This is why the popularity of RPA software has grown so much in such a short space of time.
Some math will be required for advanced users of RPA software as this will inevitably involve some level of automation calculation development but for normal users and new starters be rest assured, there is no real math knowledge required.
Are you new to RPA, find out What is RPA? I have created this article with essential information you need to know.
2. No programming skills required
To be proficient to a basic level requires no programming skills and that’s what makes RPA such an interesting technology to learn.
It’s far easier to start to learn a technology when you don’t need to know something else first, so with RPA there is no need to know anything about programming to get started. In fact, to accomplish quite a lot of learning how to use the RPA software, will not require any programming skills at all.
Some ability in programming will be required for advanced users of RPA software to do complex automation tasks but for normal users and even new starters, there is no real programmings skills are required.
3. Only a basic technical background needed
A basic tech background is needed to learn RPA as a lot of the principles of RPA and how these principles are used are pretty straightforward. Most people have a basic set of tech skills, they know how to use a computer, how to browse the internet, use word processing software and more.
As long as you have these basic skills, then learning RPA isn’t going to be as difficult as someone who doesn’t have any basic tech skills.
Intuitive RPA courses
The courses I used to learn RPA were very intuitive as the people who’d created the courses had spent a lot of time thinking about how to make the courses easy to use for normal people. This made picking up the technical know-how about how to use RPA software very easy. I didn’t for one minute find it daunting learning about RPA and the software involved.
Easy to use RPA software
The software I used for RPA was straightforward to learn to get the basic tasks done and this was made easier by how the software has been designed. The organisation that built the RPA software had really spent a lot of time, looking at how to make their RPA software is easy to use by normal people.
4. A low learning curve
RPA has a lower learning curve than other technologies, giving an enormous benefit in not only being able to learn RPA quickly but increasing the chances of sticking it out and completing learning as this is always down to how easy something is to learn.
I found technologies which are harder to learn, thereby having what’s said to be a high learning curve, have made it difficult for me to stay motivated and complete learning about the technology, giving up along the way and not only wasting money (if I have bought a course) but more importantly, wasting time, that I could have used more productively somewhere else.
5. Courses are easy to use
The RPA course I used was very easy to use and I quickly picked up the basics. This was important to me, as it built my confidence with the RPA as technology and increased my belief that I could progress, learning more and more to make me proficient with RPA.
I’m always wary of people who try to explain things in a complicated manner to make themselves look smarter and try to make what they do look complicated, that only they are good enough to do it.
This is why it’s important to be careful in how you choose to learn about RPA as invariably some people out there will try to make RPA look like rocket science when it isn’t.
Some of the free resources like info websites on the face of it look like a good idea to learn about RPA but the people who write about RPA on these info websites tend to over complicate RPA and this can put off many people from learning it.
6. FREE software makes it easier to learn
Once you have attained the basic knowledge from a course, then the next step is to start to put those principles into practice by learning from doing RPA tasks.
With the best way of doing this by using the RPA software and running through automating manual tasks using the different functionality, the RPA software has to offer. There’s no need to worry the courses will show you exactly how to get started in doing this.
Don’t worry about the cost of getting the RPA software as some RPA software are free for a trial period with one of the most popular RPA software having a FREE community edition. This FREE community edition is enough to get you started on learning how to use this RPA software.
7. Easier business logic
Just like programming, RPA has elements of business logic that needs to be learned but unlike programming, most of the RPA software I’ve seen, have an easy to use business logic, without the need for programming.
Business logic is needed for RPA to decide how to automate, so if you wanted to automate the process of creating a document from scratch, the business logic could be:
Step 1. Check to see if word processor has been started
-> If word processor has been started go to step 3.
Step 2. Start the word processor
Step 3. Create a blank document
So in these three steps, logic has been applied to check if the word processing software has been started and if it has not been, then a step is added to start the word processing software before proceeding onto creating the blank document in the last step.
8. Easier to learn RPA from what you already know
As RPA can be applied to what you already know how to do, is what makes RPA easy to learn, as RPA is all about taking manual tasks and making them work automatically, this automation as it’s called can be learnt easily from taking what you already know how to do and turning this into an automated task.
Every month I download a spreadsheet from my bank account of the months’ transactions and I have to spend time sorting these out so one of my accounting applications can understand what I’ve earned and what I’ve spent my money on in the month gone.
About 80% of the spreadsheet can be understood by my accounting application when I import it into the application but the other 20% of the information needs to be manually adjusted for the application to understand.
This is where the RPA software comes in, as I’ve automated this task, adding in some basic logic for the RPA software to take the downloaded spreadsheet and adjust it, so when it’s imported into the accounting software, it’s fully understood without me having to manually intervene. So the steps to automate will be:
Step 1. Download the spreadsheet from my banks* website
Step 2. Update the spreadsheet by making changes so it can be used by my accounting software
Step 3. Import the updated spreadsheet into my accounting software
Step 4. Start the accounting spreadsheet processing the information from the spreadsheet
Just by doing these tasks I already know how to do manually, I have learnt a lot about how the RPA software works and this makes it even easier to learn more by automating more of the manual technical tasks I do on a regular basis.
9. Less to learn to get a head start
What I loved about my time learning about the principles of RPA was I only needed to learn these and not have to jump out of my learning time to learn something else that was associated with RPA but I didn’t know as a prerequisite.
When it came to learning how to use one of the RPA software, I only needed to learn how to use the RPA software, I didn’t have to learn anything else as I would have if I was learning to program.
I found when I was learning to program, not only would I learn how to program but learn how to do additional things on top of the programming. So learning about capturing data and saving data into a database using programming, would also require me to learn how to set up the database and be able to administer it.
Sometimes I could spend an age stuck trying to learn how to do something associated with programming, as it required a lot more time to understand how to do it.
This just isn’t the case with the basic of RPA, as the time spent on learning how to use the RPA software is concentrated on learning about the RPA software with little or no distractions into learning additional knowledge and skills, that end up adding to the time to learn.
10. Finding time to learn RPA is easy
As the RPA principles were easy to learn and the RPA software I used was easy to use, I found that finding the time learn RPA was very easy for me to do and more importantly, this time was incredibly productive in building up my RPA skills.
This was very important to me, as I felt I was making great progress in achieving my learning goals.
Spending half an hour here and there learning how to use the RPA software was priceless to me, as I learnt so much in such a short space of time. Grabbing a coffee at a coffee shop and spending half an hour to an hour learning about the RPA software at the coffee shop was my way to learn.
I used to do this before I went into work, travelling in an hour earlier to sit in a coffee shop and learn, with this becoming my routine to learn not only about RPA but anything else I’m thinking about learning.
11. RPA reduces constant learning need
Once I’d understood the basic principles of RPA, I didn’t need to seek out any further knowledge to keep going. This I felt was the bonus of RPA, as I felt I had achieved what I set out to do, instead of being stuck in a perpetual learning cycle with no end in sight.
Other technologies I have learnt about required constant learning by having to revisit how things have changed drastically. With RPA, I found this isn’t necessarily the case, as the changes have been minuscule in comparison to other technologies, so easier to grasp.
With RPA, I just learnt how to do use the software and make it part of my life by making most of the things I would normally do manually, would instead be done automatically thanks to the power of the RPA software I was using.
In conclusion, I found it easy to learn about RPA, it’s principles were easy to understand and the RPA software I used, was straightforward to get to grips with the basic features.
I would recommend RPA as an excellent technology to learn, as it doesn’t have the technical baggage that most other technologies have.
I’ve started developing my programming skills in Python to take my RPA skills to the next level. I’m finding it easier to do this, as I only have to learn one thing, that’s Python as I have already learnt how to use the RPA tool.
Is RPA difficult to learn? No, RPA is not difficult to learn, in fact, it’s probably one of the easiest technologies to get a basic grasp of in next to no time. There are no prerequisites of having to know how to program, to get started and the RPA basics are easy to understand for most people.
How do I start learning RPA? Learn about the fundamentals of RPA first using a good RPA course and then you can progress onto learning how to use an RPA software to start automating the manual tasks you would do with the software you already know how to use.
*RPA makes things easier to do but it can also create security problems if used incorrectly. I always manually log into my bank’s website and then run the RPA software to do any tasks I want. I recommend you do not allow any RPA software to store any sensitive credentials like usernames, passwords or any personally identifiable information like social security numbers that could be used by malicious people if they managed to get hold of them.