Control Systems & Electronics
PROGRAMMING is essentially what happens within the brain. It takes inputs from sensors, makes decisions about what to do with them, and then sends output signals to the muscles. The structure of the neurons (code) determines how effectively the body can interact with its surroundings.
Skills for programmers include organizing the theoretical inputs and outputs in a system that can handle them effectively. The processor is only as smart as the software that is running on it, and it will always do what it is programmed to do (which can be a good or a challenging thing).
ELECTRONICS is everything else outside of the processing core. Are the nerves (wires) able to communicate with the sensors (game controllers, limit switches, etc.), brain (roboRIO), and muscles (motors)? Is there enough energy (voltage/current) in the system to drive them?
Skills for electronics engineers include very good awareness of voltage limitations, electrical circuits, and physical security of connections (crimping technique, securing connectors, encoder cables and what can introduce interference into the system).
Our team uses Python to program the robot for ease of new members joining the team and flexibility / rapid development.