Jack of all trades. Renaissance Man (or woman). Chief cook and bottle washer.
Think of the unmanned industry as a young adult. That point in life where you’re still having fun trying out new things. However, as we mature, responsibilities grow. Before you know it, yours truly is not the only person to look after. You have to work, take the kids to school, keep the house clean, pay the bills, and get food on the table.
For a while, you get by wearing different hats, being a jack of all trades- cooking AND doing the dishes. But once your family has reached a certain size, you may need help from outside.
That is often where recruiting comes in. 😊
Growing up is hard to do
Many of our unmanned businesses today are small companies, started and run by brilliant engineers. Alas, being an excellent engineer doesn’t necessarily give you the tools you need to grow your business.
As you start looking beyond the R&D stage, the demand for a strategic and/or growth-focused leader increases. And yes, you guessed it: the time for high-flying acronyms like COO and other C-level types is drawing closer.
However, very few of these strategic positions involve sitting in the ivory tower and creating “strategy.” Nor are they currently paid what a senior strategy executive or someone overseeing a multi-layered BD team might make in a more established industry.
Being a strategist in unmanned today involves hitting the streets and getting your hands dirty. But that does not have to be a bad thing, does it? I mean, the ivory tower can get lonely pretty quickly.
It’s not lonely at the top (or the bottom)
Apart from strategic positions, jobs that will be in demand as the industry matures include business development, sales, and similar functions.
Mid-level management type roles, such as program manager, on the other hand, will not be so hot for a while still. At the stage the unmanned industry is in, the companies that succeed will likely do so without too many organizational layers.
That said, here are a few concrete examples of non-technical jobs you can expect to provide a path into the unmanned and robotics industry over the coming years:
- Service positions: these may be folks in a consultant capacity who can help navigate the FAA and other federal agencies and requirements. Keeping a growing company in compliance with often complicated and changing regulations is vital in our industry.
- Marketing positions: this might be the right challenge for someone who is highly technical and at the same time has a knack for marketing in an industry with a disruptive twist. Unmanned is not marketing 101. Trying to reach the customer when you´re not really sure who that might be has a unique flavor to it!
- Jack-of-all-trades-positions: these are the people who have a real passion for unmanned and can ACTIVELY participate in everything from fundraising, to engineering, to business development, sales, etc.
So, how to get started in these areas? Market yourself by highlighting the hands-on skills you bring to the table in addition to your, say, marketing acumen. Such as having a grasp of the detailed engineering involved, being able to pilot a drone, or work on proposal development.
This is an industry where you still can get in from the ground up. It´s an exciting time for that, too! 2017 saw significant growth in unmanned, and I´m sure that 2018 will do the same. And I promise: you will not get bored.
If you can cook and don´t mind washing bottles for a while as well, unmanned might just be the thing for you. And, of course, if you need outside help finding that new bottle washer, my number is below!
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