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Finding, Hiring, and Becoming a Candidate for a Career in the Drone Industry - Substack

Are you a drone company struggling to find the right candidate for your team or an individual lost in the sea of drone opportunities? You're not alone.

For years we have heard about the boasting volume of jobs the drone industry will bring as technology soars into new verticals and creates opportunities. Many of those jobs are here, some have come and gone, and even more are being created for each day that new ideas become reality. Great, right?

Yes, except there is a disconnect between finding qualified talent, and potential talent not knowing how to find their way to these jobs.

How do you get a job in the drone industry?

Well, that depends on what role you want to fill. There are many online publications out there outlining how to build a drone business, which drones to buy, and how to get started in mapping and inspecting assets to build a client base. This is one way of getting into the industry, but not necessarily what the industry needs most right now.

A few alternative places to find opportunities for a career in drones:

  • Job Search engines, searching by country, region, or keyword. Keywords to use would be for example: Drone, unmanned, UAS, UAV

  • Follow your favorite drone companies and people on LinkedIn. Kat James posts a long list of #dronesforgood jobs monthly that is well worth a read.

  • Opportunities are also posted on platforms like the Unmanned Network. Sign up for free and navigate the library of companies that exist in the industry, or grab a subscription membership to see job listings posted in the opportunities section of the network. (Don’t forget to use code YVARBRIMS and get 25% off if you opt for a subscription membership)

What does the industry need?

  • Drone Operators - Perhaps the most obvious role in the drone industry, but this role comes in 50 variations depending on the context. It does not require a degree, but it does require more than knowing how to push a few buttons. The industry needs a better definition of the various levels of operators and a way to enable operators to advance. Flight hours alone are not proof of experience, it’s the planning, critical thinking, and ability to work with a wide variety of factors that indicate an individual’s level of experience as a drone operator.

  • Accessible Industry Knowledge - We do not need another online course on how to fly drones, we need an all-around industry briefing for every role that supports putting that drone in the air. Sales teams, marketing squads, engineering groups, developers, and decision-makers need to understand how the industry works if companies want to successfully meet their goals. You can hire the greatest salesperson on the planet, but if they are not able and willing to learn the ropes of this particular industry, you might as well have hired an empty chair.

  • More people - There are a lot of competent, brilliant people out there who don’t know enough about the drone industry to actively want to pursue a career in it. We have an industry screaming for diversity and new faces, but not enough people find their way here. They might be busy chasing other tech waves, but don’t they know that many of the exciting new waves out there intertwine with the drone industry? We need to do a better job of portraying what a career in the drone industry can look like because it’s not just a guy or gal holding a remote under the sun.

The below graphic is made to highlight that a career in drones is MUCH MORE than obtaining a license and becoming a drone operator. It’s an industry built for innovation to create, build, regulate, sell, negotiate, develop, scale, and globalize. There is room for everyone to join a part of the drone industry, but it all starts with obtaining the knowledge to navigate each aspect of the complex jungle we are still establishing.

How do we address these challenges?

The good news in seeing a lack of standardization and accessible knowledge is that it’s fixable, but it’s up to us as an industry to fix it. We solved far more complicated challenges to get here, and by solving these challenges we pave the way to scale the industry even further. Here are a few ideas on how to do that.

  • Drone operators looking for work should aim to diversify their resume. Don’t just build flight hours, grow a portfolio of various environments, situations, planning methods, software, and tools available out there to test. Also, consider seeking a role not on the field - to help boost development, regulation, and standardization.

  • Companies looking to hire drone operators should consider what skills the operator should have, and invest in individuals to learn and grow into the role.

  • As an industry, we should push for creating a standard that allows drone operators to advance to various levels of expertise. This is being done to an extent in some countries but is lacking on a global level.

  • Companies hiring for roles connected to the drone industry, but not necessarily on the field, should invest in employee resources to learn the ropes of the industry and how it connects to their role. All the information is out there, but it may take valuable time to find and dissect. Bring in an expert to help get the team up to speed quickly and with ease.

  • Individuals curious to learn more about a career in the drone industry should reach out to industry experts, local schools, and companies to find guidance on how they can contribute to the future of drones.

If you resonate with these industry challenges and would like help in addressing a lack of standardization or knowledge within your organization, or you are a curious individual wanting to learn more, please connect with me on LinkedIn and get in touch. I provide customized workshops, individual sessions, and guides to help spread knowledge of the drone world and get more people into this industry and equipped to succeed.

To create another thousand jobs, we must first make sure we succeed in sustaining the thousands of jobs we have created.

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