Accessibility Links

Want to work with drones? These are the top drone-related career paths



No longer are drones just the playthings of hobbyists. Thanks to ongoing technological advances, drones are finding their way into industries such as Oil & Gas, Construction and Mining to carry out inspection, monitoring and other services. With the use of drones in industry comes the opportunity to build a career working with these flying machines.

So, what kind of drone-related careers are there? 
With drones finding more commercial applications, there are now more opportunities to build a career working with drones.
First of all, there are likely to be plenty of drone-related jobs available in the coming years. According to a 2013 report from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) around 100,000 new jobs will be created in the first 10 years after drones start being used for commercial purposes. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has made its own prediction, correctly stating that there would be 70,000 jobs created within the drone industry by 2018.

What’s clear is that as the job market for drone-related careers grows, there are increasing employment opportunities available for UAV operators, engineers and technical professionals through to software developers and sales and marketing professionals.

Below, we’ve grouped together the main subsections of drone-related careers. Enjoy!
Whilst there are jobs available flying drones, the rise of automation will be a threat.

Flying drones

Naturally, the first drone-related job that is likely to enter your thoughts is that of flying them. In an industrial/commercial setting however, it’s not so simple as picking up the controls and taking flight. Depending on where you are working you’ll need a licence or certification.

In the US, for example, you’ll have to get yourself (amongst other things) a Part 107 Remote Pilot in Command Certificate with sUAS Rating, as well as a thorough understanding of FAA rules. Whilst being an experienced pilot helps, it’s by no means necessary to become a drone pilot.

Besides flying the drone, you’ll also need to consider what the job drone will be tasked with. Will you have to inspect pipelines? Or monitor the structural integrity of bridges? Maybe you’ll be delivering packages? Each application will require you to learn distinct skills in addition to flying the drone.

It’s also important to note that many drones are being automated, making the need for human pilots less and less necessary.
The bulk of drone-related jobs will be associated with development and manufacture rather than operation.

(Image via Cyberhawk).

Building and developing drones

The building and developing of drones are arguably where the bulk of drone-related careers will be in the future. Consulting firm BCG estimates the industrial drone fleet in Europe and the US will be $50 billion by 2050 and more than 1 million units. 

Someone’s going to have to build these drones- and it could be you.

The development of drones draws upon a variety of skillsets including aeronautics, robotics, software development, AI and mechanical engineering. Here are the most in-demand jobs associated with drone development:

  • Software Engineers- are by far the most sought-after individuals within drone development at present. Both platform manufacturers and software developers are keen to hire software engineers for their R&D divisions, especially as drones begin to find more and more industrial applications. Drone manufacturers such as Flyability and Matternet have stated that they are keen to recruit software engineers to increase the level of automation within their products (e.g. sense and avoid features).

  • Hardware Engineers- drone hardware manufacturers are eagerly seeking hardware engineers to help them make their drones lighter, faster, and more durable. As the commercial drone market becomes more competitive, manufacturers are increasingly needing to recruit the best electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and aeronautical engineering talent to give them a competitive edge.

  • Sales & Marketing- with the commercial drone market set to be worth so much, drone manufacturers are searching for the best sales and marketing professionals to help them capture as much market share as possible. With the nascent commercial drone market still divided between a large number of manufacturers there’s plenty to be gained by hiring the right sales professionals.

  • Operations- within the operations space there are plenty of job opportunities such as technicians, inspectors, and warehouse staff. These are the largely manual jobs that make sure that commercial drones are manufactured and delivered to customers as agreed.

  • Management- like any large commercial operation, drone companies require management professionals to help make the workflow of the company smoother. We’ve seen particular demand from drone manufacturers for project managers and business intelligence analysts.
  • A thriving industry is developing in the customisation of drones for commercial applications.
    (Image via Cyberhawk).

    Maintenance and customisation

    Manufacturing and flying drones are only one part of the equation. An equally important part of the drone industry involves maintenance and customisation. Already a thriving industry is developing in which commercial drones are adapted and customised for industrial applications. Within the maintenance and customisation space expect to see demand for many of the same skillsets as the building and developing space. In particular, mechanical and aeronautical engineers are being sought out by companies which want to advance customisation.
    There are several drone job hot spots including the US, Western Europe and Israel.
    (Image via Cyberhawk).

    Where are the drone jobs based?

    The commercial drone industry is global. But there are several countries which definitely stand out as ‘drone hot spots’. First among these is the United States which is home to the most drone companies which are actively hiring. Following closely behind the US is France, the UK, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands which are home to burgeoning domestic drone industries with evidence of strong hiring activity. In terms of ‘countries to watch’, Israel is rapidly becoming a hive of drone manufacture and development. Israeli companies such as Airobotics and Percepto and a swathe of start-ups mean that Israel has plenty of drone-related careers on offer.
    Investment is pouring into the commercial drone industry meaning there are plenty of well funded companies looking to hire drone talent

    The drone companies to watch

    Investment capital is now pouring into the commercial drone industry, as such there are now plenty of well-funded drone companies looking to make new hires. Whilst the below list is not definitive, it provides you with an idea of some of the best-funded drone companies out there- which should help you decide which drone companies are most likely to be hiring new talent:

  • 3D Robotics.

  • Airware.

  • DJI Innovations.

  • Liquid Robotics.

  • Airobotics.

  • Aeryon.

  • Yuneec.

  • Ehang.

  • Swift Navigation.

  • Cyberhawk.

  • Echodyne.

  • Airmap.

  • Skycatch.

  • ZipLine.

  • Launch your drone career with Fircroft

    Register with Fircroft for free and we’ll alert you to the latest technical and engineering UAV jobs across the world that match your skills and experience.
    Recent Comments
    Hi I'm drone expert from Pakistan. I'm making and flying Drones since professional areal video grapher also hobbiest. I'm searching for good job.
    Bilal, 11 April 2019
    I'm very interested in the UAS operator positions. (Drones)
    Robert Manis, 11 April 2019
    Hi I'm drone expert from india. I'm making and flying Drones since 2015.i am professional areal mapping n land servry.grapher also hobbiest. I'm searching for good job. Mo 8707317655
    MADHURAJ Dubey, 14 July 2019
    Hi I'm drone pilot from Morocco . I'm making and flying Drones since 2018 .im professional areal video grapher also hobbiest. I'm searching for good job.
    Abdelhafid , 24 July 2019
    I am a Drone Repair Technician and specialise in DJI and would like an opportunity to work in your Company. I am currently based South Africa and I am looking to furthering my career Overseas.
    Mishalin Murugan, 31 January 2020
    Hi I m aeromodeller and mfg customise Drone for army and industrial purpose I am also working on long endurance drone also training provide to defence personnel and and private flowers I am one of the good DJ I Drone repairs in India basically I am interested in ground supporting job
    rakesh sahay, 19 March 2020
    I'm an expert pilot seeking career with drones in Texas..
    James L Merriman, 22 March 2020
    I am an early retiree looking at a second career. I am also a drone hobbyist looking for a start in the drone industry. I am prepared to start anywhere that I can learn more about this exciting technology.
    Dean Mighty, 13 April 2020
    I'm a drone pilot in the Atlanta area. I'm looking for work to help support my family and help to creation excitement to any industry.
    Clyde Smith, 14 April 2020
    I am drone developer , i have experience of 5 years in making custom drones . I am finding job related to drone development , flying and all types !
    Bhushan Kohade, 02 November 2020
    Add new comment
    By commenting on this blog you're agreeing to our terms of use

    Comments left should relate to the subject of the above blog. Unfortunately job applications cannot be accepted here.

    For job enquiries and applications please use our job search and for technical or account queries please contact us.

    Back to Top

    By clicking "Save" you consent to
    receiving matching jobs based on the
    job/page you are viewing by email from
    Fircroft, as detailed in our privacy policy
    Fircroft would like to keep you up to date with our latest company updates via email. Occasionally Fircrofts marketing may contain 3rd party or affiliate information, however we will not share your personal data with any 3rd parties without your consent. From time to time, we might contact you to get your views on the service you have received. To help you get the best out of Fircroft, we may personalise them based on your location and how you use
    Fircroft would like to keep you up to date with the latest company updates and vacancies via SMS / Text messages
    Your consent options above means that Fircroft cannot contact you about any new or alternative career vacancies. If you want Fircroft to only contact you about the role(s) you have applied for please continue, however if you would like to be considered for other positions please allow us to contact you by changing one or more of the above consent.