Decrease in Drone Jobs?

As a 1099 contractor, I currently check cellular towers all throughout the United States with a particular emphasis on RAD arrays, ground equipment, and shelters. This is a travel-intensive position that offers invaluable insights into construction and cellular communications. The responsibilities of finishing my CS degree and my full-time WFH job as a government software engineer, however, forced me to put this work on hold for the time being.

I have been actively looking for prospects to return to the field of tower inspections for the past few months, but I have been unsuccessful. Now, I am anxious to get back into it. I am even thinking about starting my business, complete with a mobile upload app, 3D rendering capabilities, and AI-assisted image stitching.

It has come to my attention that DroneUp is discontinuing their app. Does this imply a decline in the need for trained pilots or an excess supply of pilots?


The discontinuation of the DroneUp app appears to be more about the company’s strategic redirection rather than an indication of the drone pilot market’s health.

From what’s been gathered in drone community discussions, DroneUp might be focusing on package delivery services, possibly in collaboration with a major retailer.

This pivot doesn’t necessarily signal a decrease in demand for drone pilots; in fact, the industry is quite the opposite.

The drone pilot profession is on an upward trajectory, with a surge in demand across various sectors such as agriculture, real estate, cinematography, and surveying.

Projections suggest that the drone industry will create a substantial number of jobs in the coming years, with an impressive growth rate anticipated over the next half-decade.

While there’s an increase in certified pilots, the market expansion is concurrently opening up new opportunities.

To differentiate oneself in this burgeoning field, developing specialized skills like 3D mapping, video editing, and advanced flying techniques is crucial.

Given this context, venturing back into tower inspections or starting a business in this domain could be quite opportune. Integrating a mobile upload app, 3D rendering, and AI-assisted image stitching could place you at the forefront of drone operation technology.

With your background in software engineering and cellular tower inspections, you’d be well-positioned to capitalize on the growing demand for sophisticated drone services.

As the industry evolves with commercial adoption, regulatory changes, and technological innovation, staying informed and adaptable will be key.

Your unique blend of skills could provide a competitive edge in this dynamic and expanding industry.

It’s an exciting time to explore the possibilities that drone technology presents.


Based on my experience, many large companies are opting to invest in their own drones and have employees certified. This keeps operations internal, reducing the demand for freelance drone contractors. Consequently, there’s now an excess of certified pilots, making it challenging for us. I fly professionally, and one of the perks of my job was being promised certification to handle company tasks and the freedom to take on side gigs for extra income. However, I haven’t pursued personal projects much because the market is flooded. Many people ignore FAA guidelines or Part 107 requirements, preferring the convenience of unlicensed operators who don’t ask questions. It seems this situation mirrors challenges faced in other professions as well.


According to my observations, a lot of big businesses are buying their own drones and preparing staff members for certification. This leads to an oversupply of drone pilots and lower demand for drone contracts. Being able to perform company activities with certification and still have weekends free for personal gigs was one of the perks of working as a professional pilot. But because the market is so crowded, I have not looked for personal prospects; most people choose unregistered services and disregard Part 107 regulations or FAA recommendations. Apparently it is a problem shared by all professions.

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So far there are too many independent contractors.

Employment grew frequently enough that big businesses made personnel investments.