German is not a difficult language (especially compared to French, or even to Spanish) and because of its very clear structure, grammar and pronunciation, you can learn it quickly.
A lot of German grammar structures are very close to Latin, so it will help you learn other Latin languages. It can help you to learn French, because you will have a clear structure in mind. However, the vocabulary is totally different, and there are some (but not many) major differences in the use of tenses. French has also a lot of specific difficulties. As a good speaker of both languages I would say it helps if you learn German first, but if you want to learn French, it will be easier if you start with another Latin language than if you start with German.
On studying automation in Germany, you should rather do it in English, because the Germans have a lot of industrial, engineering or scientific concepts in they're language (check wikipedia.de...) which are different from the English or American ones (though it's okay with automation), and I mean words that you cannot simply translate in English. In French for example you're more likely to have an English word for every French word. This can make things more difficult.