Careers in the Drone Industry

4 min read

Career Trends: May 18, 2022
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

In India, the introduction of the new liberalised rules is helping release India’s airspace for drone operations.

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The emergence of new-age technologies has seen the job market evolve rapidly and open career opportunities in new industries. One such area is the Drone Industry, which has gone from niche to mainstream in the past few years becoming a critical developing technology in the deep-tech sector.

In India, the introduction of the new liberalised rules is helping release India’s airspace for drone operations.

Recreation, photography, research, transport & delivery, defence applications, agriculture, and disaster relief, are some examples of sectors where drone technology is being used.

Some examples of how drones are being used

  • Drones can be used as weapons or for real-time surveillance of assets, visual inspection/maintenance, construction planning and management, etc., in defence operations.
  • They can also be used for non-defence surveillance, construction and planning, such as by the forest department or the pollution control board, as well as for public monitoring and inspection in busy places.
  • In the agriculture sector, drones can help spread micronutrients and in surveying.
  • They are also being used by the various law enforcement agencies, and departments like fire, health, and emergency services wherever human intervention is not safe.

The industry is expected to grow significantly over the next decade, leading to many new career avenues.

Here are some emerging job roles in the drone industry:

Design engineers and assemblers 

  • The industry needs people who can develop drones based on their expertise in engineering branches such as Aeronautical, Electronics and Electrical, Mechanical, and Robotics Engineering.
  • Additionally, occupations such as manufacturing engineers who build drones and assemblers who put them together are also emerging.

Drone pilots

  • As the demand for drone operations increase, companies will need trained professionals who can remotely manage a drone’s flights.
  • Drone pilots play a critical role and require training and certification with sector-specific specialisations.

Pilot trainers

  • Certified trainers are needed to train candidates who aspire to be drone pilots.
  • They play a critical role in ensuring safer flying.

Drone flight planners

  • This involves determining flight schedule, altitude, weather-related specifications and image or video capture specifications to meet the data goals.
  • Drone flight planners also need to understand the specific use-case, the location of the flight, etc.

Drone software engineers

  • Developing software for flight operations is crucial.
  • It is critical to develop indigenous software to eliminate the risk of cyberattacks.
  • Since the use cases and the concept of leveraging drones for business operations is new and unique, software developers must upskill themselves accordingly.

Drone data specialists

  • Drone data specialists and GIS engineers coordinate the data processing and analysis of datasets.
  • GIS Professionals help companies interpret images, videos and maps to recognise trends and potential problem areas.
  • The industry will also see a significant rise in demand for sector-wise experts who will convert drone data to actionable insights.

Relevant courses

For starters, one must be well-versed in the regulatory legislation governing commercial drone piloting in India in order to pursue a job in this industry.

In terms of formal training, training schools approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) offer guided training to drone pilots. Special partnerships and associations with universities help facilitate courses on the design and development of unmanned aerial vehicles and training on mapping and inspection.

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(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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