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Considering starting a career change to (eventually) UAV systems engineer/pilot

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by caffeinatedmarmot, Nov 24, 2016.

  1. caffeinatedmarmot

    Nov 24, 2016
    Likes Received:
    So I am mid twenties, out of college with a more or less worthless liberal arts degree (completely my fault) and working a dead end construction labor job. Anyway, i'm considering a career change to a real interest of mine. I've owned a few drones (who hasn't) and am genuinely interested in research/development and engineering of UAV's and implementation across a wide spectrum of commercial applications. Furthermore it seems as if this sector is about to get really hot.

    I'm trying to find a school that I could look into that wouldn't break the bank. I looked at Embry-Riddle, which seems to be a legit school more focused on what i'd be interested in specifically, but gosh--$1,200 per credit hour? That's insane. My state university has a seemingly very basic degree in Aeronautics as well as a UAV research program, cheap enough to where I could probably work part time and pay off some tuition---would this be a good route to take? It's another 3-3.5 years of courses and i'll be nearly 30 when I get out, but at least the job prospects look promising. Would I need a more specific degree than "Aeronautics" to break into the field? Heck, i'd even consider a community college at this point if it'd help me get there..

    Any advice here on schools or job prospects is greatly appreciated.
    #1 caffeinatedmarmot, Nov 24, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
  2. Ed Beck

    Aug 21, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Puyallup WA
    And how old will you be in 3-3.5 years if you don't go to school?

    Having a liberal arts degree you understand the difference between education and training. Both have their value in different ways.

    Speaking in very broad terms, if you see yourself going into an engineering company than an engineering degree where you can be placed in any number of positions is probably better. If you see yourself in your garage building your own drones and a company out of it than a training program is probably better.

    I've also got to ask how's your math skills? Engineering degrees all require basic calculus and many also require differential equations, matrix algebra and linear analysis. Many an aspiring engineer has been killed by diffyq.

    Good Luck!
    caffeinatedmarmot likes this.
  3. andrew.baker.142

    Sep 27, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Southern Maryland
    I'd have to second the motion for an Engineering degree. That will open many doors for you professionally. You can't put a price on working in a field you love.
    Also remember, much of the future development for UAS will be electronics and software, so that is a good area to focus on.
    Most importantly keep flying your hobby aircraft! Pick up a Solo or two and learn how to customize the hardware and software. Enjoy!

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    caffeinatedmarmot likes this.