In 1999, when Travis Snyder was 9 years old, it’s likely that few people imagined that 20 years later there would be a strong demand for civilian drone pilots.

Yet today, as writer Susan Johnson reports in the Daily Mail WV section on page 1D, some drone pilots are earning $100 per hour to pilot small Unmanned Aerial System devices (sUAS) for business and industry across the country.

As a school kid, Travis Snyder was bored, not knowing what he wanted to be. Today he is a drone expert, helping Metatron Unmanned Solutions company of Charleston design, build and fly drones for companies that are willing to pay top dollar for the services.

To begin, Metatron developed a drone that could inspect a cell phone tower in about 40 minutes. Traditional inspections had taken two days in the best circumstances. The drone can store and analyze the data, giving the cell companies a data base of previous inspections to compare for damage or deterioration.

Funny, it doesn’t seem that long ago that cell phone towers popped up around the country, creating new jobs for human inspectors.

Who knows what career opportunities await today’s grade schoolers that we can’t imagine today?

Like the human cell tower inspectors, some folks will be displaced from their current jobs as work evolves. Their best job security is in acquiring new skills.

That’s where West Virginia’s community and technical colleges come in. And that’s why Senate Bill 1, the “Last Dollar In” bill, the Legislature passed which could provide free tuition, will help high school graduates of any age.

“History tells us that technology creates more opportunities and jobs,” wrote Laurent Haug for World Economic Forum.

“The state of the world might look confusing and worrying, but it is not. Virtual or tangible, automated or humanized, work is changing in many ways, but the fundamentals remain: acquiring skills and doing things that people need.”

And we will add, not just doing things that people will need, but learning what people want and are willing to pay for, and figuring out how to create and serve that market.

The sky is the limit for the drone industry, as well as for anyone willing to learn and apply new skills for jobs that don’t yet exist.

Article courtesy of West Virginia Gazette. Read the article here