Every couple of years or so there is always a new job that comes out that has a huge demand in the beginning. The ones who started off with the interest as a hobby are usually the first ones to benefit from it because they took an interest in it just for the pure reason that it was fun to do. Well, it turns out all those kids flying RC quadcopters will get to put all those hours of practice to good use knowing that they will be in high demand in the coming years.
Starting Pay $100K
It turns out being able to fly a quadcopter really well is a skill that many top companies are going after in order to expand their business. Amazon announcing already that they want to include drone delivery into their shipping program is something that they are currently contending with the FAA about. Facebook wants to use drones for their business as does Google. The demand is increasing and as more and more people start signing up for these drone degree programs the incentive to ensure there are plenty of jobs available will soon create a large economic impact to the tune of $82 billion dollars by 2025.
Many universities are quickly adding drone programs into their current curriculum, mainly for engineers, but hopefully for all students interested in at boosting their chances of landing a job right out of school and for many, they can look forward to a nice starting salary of $100k. Many companies are already paying $50 an hour for drone pilots to do research. Drones have many uses and as companies are starting to see, they are capable of doing a lot of things that many large aircraft are unable to accomplish.
Not a Kids Toy Anymore
I remember when I would hear parents complain about the cost of buying one of the more expensive quadcopters and drones for their kids. The high dollar ones can get up into the thousands if your not careful. These drones allow you to add on geo-tracking, special sensors, a go-pro camera, some even allow you to add on more than one go-pro camera and some even have the ability to add on 360 degree image capturing capabilities. They have proven themselves worthy of the cost because of the information they can return back to you. A farmer no longer has to walk his land anymore to check on any problems. He can sit on his porch, put on the goggles that come with the drone and he can use the drone to cover large areas of land in a shorter period of time. He can even have the drone monitor areas using sensors automatically.
It turns out that all that time Timmy was practicing using his drone in the backyard making silly videos turned out to be the best investment you could have given him. He now knows how to control his device with precision, he understands how to use all of its features, knows how to capture video using real-time streaming or edit the video and then upload to youtube for his channel, and more importantly, he understands the physical limitations the drone has. All these skills are what companies are looking for but now you need to be able to pass the drone pilot license program in order to fly your drone legally now. The FAA is still working out the details but once they get finalized majority of all drones under 55 lbs will be required to follow the law.
Where can you Get your License?
Many universities are offering a license program within their curriculum but for many the idea of having to sit through other courses that don’t pertain to a drone license does not seem like a good use of time. This is why many online programs are already offering them so you can get started. For example, the Unmanned Vehicle University is already offering programs only on getting your license. Chances are this is a for-profit business so you need to be aware that if you plan to take out loans for this program understand what kind of interest rates and pay-back program you will be dealing with after you have completed the program.
If they are smart about their program they will offer the same tuition saving system that many coding programs offer and that is they defer the costs in return for a percentage of their first-year salary with a company that has already shown interest in hiring them. Majority of coding schools have partnerships with major companies so the schools that have the best connections have the highest job placement program afterwards.
You want to make sure any school you go with has a placement program in place already, if not then you need to start contacting companies that are hiring drone operators and asking if they wouldn’t mind covering your costs for school once you are accepted and enrolled.
These are a few other places already offering drone degrees
– Unmanned Vehicle Degrees and Training Programs
– List of Drone Schools
– UND B.S. in Aeronautics
– Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – UAS Degree
– Kansas State University – UAS Degree
– Embry Riddle Aeronautical University – Umanned Systems (Masters)
– Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Unmanned & Autonomous Sys Engr (Masters)
– Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, University of Alaska Fairbanks
– Indiana State University Unmanned Systems Program
– Texas A&M Corpus Christi Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems
– Virginia Tech Unmanned Labs
These are a few programs that are currently out there for anyone interested in jumping on the bandwagon. Rest assure there will be lots more fly-by-night operations that will be springing up to teach you how to fly a drone for half the price but understand there will be lots of limitations to what you can do afterwards. For instance, most companies will want to hire someone who came from an accredited school, not “Jim and Tammy’s Flight and Bait and Tackle Shop School.”
A few Rules to Follow in the mean time
The FAA has already set some ground rules for now before all becomes law. Here are a few
– Drone must be flown within line-of-sight from pilot
– Can not fly above 400 ft
– Flown only during daylight hours
– Need a license to fly
For the many out there who can not afford the prospect of having to go back to school just to learn how to fly a drone you can always learn online for free. If you search on Udacity, Edx, Opencourseware you might find some programs on Unmanned Aircraft Systems. This will help you get a better understanding of whether or not you will be able to handle the material. If you want the simple and free method there is always YouTube (University) where you can search for what you want and watch a short video on it and then go do it yourself. The only difference between this and a degree/license is that you will know the skills just not the details of why, how, or the law. Oh and you will still need to pay the license fee and exam and find an accredited place to take the exam in.
YouTube Drone Videos
How to Fly a Quadcopter Part 1, Part 2
Learn to Fly a Quadcopter in Five Minutes
How to Fly a Quadcopter 101
Quadcopter Flying Tutorial
Basic Quadcopter Tutorial Part 1, Part 2
How to Build a Quadcopter
Basic Quadcopter Tutorial Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5
This quadcopter will follow you when filming
Drone Technology Research
TED Talk Robots that fly by Vijay Kumar
The Astounding Athletic Power of Quadcopters by Raffaello D’Andrea
Feedback Control the Coming Machine Revolution by Rafaello D’Andrea
No Roads? There’s a drone for that by Andreas Raptopoulos