getting a job in drones

Ask Drone Girl: getting a job in drones

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about getting a job in drones. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

Hello!

I am retired from the US Army and back in College. I am wanting to get into a engineering field that would be best for working with drones. What would you suggest? San Diego City College has a AA in Electronics. They also have the first 2 years of electrical engineering or mechanical engineering degrees with a transfer to San Diego State University. Do you have any suggestions on what’s best to study to get into the drone field? Thanks!

Thank you for your service, and welcome to the drone world! The tough thing in the drone industry is there is no “set path” to succeed. The great thing about the drone industry is there is no “set path” to succeed.

I’ll let you know my story. I got into drones by accident. I was a college student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in both German and Journalism, with a minor in multicultural studies. I needed one credit to graduate and the only thing that really fit in my schedule was a course on drones, so I signed up and of course, fell in love!

Many of the most successful people I meet have similar stories. They studied business, biology, public affairs, data science, English or didn’t go to college at all. The head of the FAA studied political science, while many talented drone pilots studied art and photography. Those people are vital to making drone-related policy, teaching people how to safely fly drones or using them in incredible ways.

That being said, I would many of the jobs I see working at drone companies specifically are for people with degrees in software engineering. Particularly now that the hardware is becoming commoditized as many companies fold and DJI takes over, the trend now is going into building great software to direct the drones and analyze the data, which is ultimately what most people want drones for. Like mobile development? I see many job postings at a variety of drone companies for iOS or Android developers.

My advice is to look at your dream job. What are the qualifications to get that job, and what can you do now to get those qualifications? Take for example, DJI’s jobs site. They have jobs like “Repair Technician” which does require knowledge of electronic theory, meaning your AA in Electronics could be a great step to landing a job like that.

Perhaps you don’t want to work at a drone-specific company, but want to use drones day-to-day. Maybe you want to use drones to make farming more efficient, so you might be better off studying crop science. It really depends what you’re looking for, because the possibilities for having a career with drones are really endless.

The sky is the limit!

Happy flying!

-Sally

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