“Find out what you like doing and get someone to pay you for it.”— Katharine Whitehorn
If you love flying drones and want to make a career out of it, then you will be pleasantly surprised to know that the UAV industry is finally breaking into the mainstream after years of living in a nascent phase. The global drone service market is expected to grow from USD 4.4 billion in 2018 to USD 63.6 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 55.9%. That’s massive!
Thanks to the market growth, UAV lovers now have various drone career paths to explore.
Here is a list of 7 interesting career options in the UAV industry:
1. Drone Photographer or Videographer
Drone filming jobs are one of the most popular drone jobs in the market. Many drone pilots offer aerial photography and videography services for event or news coverage, real estate, movie production, print advertising, etc.
Most basic drones work well with recording devices used in professional cinematography and photography. But you must invest time in creating an attractive portfolio of your work to land a good drone filming job.
2. Drone 3D Modeler
Creating 3D terrain models is useful for any construction-heavy industry such as urban planning, mining, and civil engineering. Drone surveying is done for 3D mapping, photogrammetry, and topography studying before planning the amount of excavation needed, the slope and length of the road, or the mitigating measures for probable geological hazards.
Drone 3D models are also used in the construction industry to capture aerial data to identify risk-free areas for building structures. Similarly, in the mining industry, they are used to understand which locations are better for digging or storing materials.
3. Agriculture Surveyor
Precision agriculture is an advanced, niche application of drone technology that requires a special multispectral sensor that can collect data to be used as indicators for determining crop health. Drone pilot jobs are popular with agricultural companies to identify fields with less-than-ideal crop health, so that farm owners can be advised to allocate resources efficiently. This saves their time, money, and labour costs.
4. Power Line Inspector
The amount of time and risk of injury involved in inspecting long power lines for damages is not viable when done manually. Therefore, there is a high demand for skilled UAV pilots who can operate drones with thermal cameras and thermal imaging functionality.
Energy companies that are looking for faster and cheaper ways to inspect power lines would be glad to hire UAV pilots that can make their work easier.
5. Rooftop Inspector
Rooftop inspection is a very opportunistic field today. Companies that are into real estate, solar panel installation, roof repairs, and insurance look for drone pilots that are skilled in both 3D modelling and drone photography. The roof condition and measurements need to be checked before home remodelling too.
6. Search & Rescue
Over 1500 public safety agencies were using drones in 2020 itself according to Bard’s CenterFor Drone Study. Fire departments use drones to create Orthomosaic maps of local buildings that can be used to detect a fire breakout. Law enforcement agencies and first responders use UAVs to help analyze an emergency and plan evacuation accordingly. Disaster management companies also deploy drones to locate victims or send essential supplies to them in case of a flood, hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, etc.
7. Education & Training
Share your knowledge by training other people to operate drones. Of course, in addition to knowing how to fly drones, you need to have a knack for teaching and public speaking here. You should be able to apply for a drone instructor job if you have a few good years of experience and a UAV license.
Drone pilot jobs are in high demand. There are plenty of career options for skilled drone pilots out there that are not just fun and life-saving but also pay well. So, find what interests you and go after it.