the difference between a hobbyist and a professional

21.06.2015
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No matter whether your field is aviation, engineering, Information Technology or the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry, both hobbyists and professionals are found in every one of them.

What distinguishes the two is their mindset. Hobbyists are primarily recreational, looking to commercialise their interest. Professionals are the individuals or organisations that set the standard and push boundaries in the pursuit of excellence.

After slowly bubbling away for the last decade, the UAV industry is on the verge of exponential change. In the next few years commercial industries will start to realise and take hold of the potential this technology has to offer.

What’s interesting is the number of companies who are reluctant to fully implement this technology – though it’s not surprising given its common association with backyard hobbyists.

Until now, these hobbyists have been at the forefront of UAV marketing, thanks largely to recreational films, over 20,000 YouTube clips of crashing UAVs, continuous bad publicity on the news and generally being used in a dangerous manner. As a result, the lucrative applications of UAV technology as a professional tool aren’t being considered.

There are 251 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operators Certificate (UOC) holders working in Australia, with another 150 to be certified over the next 12 months. You can bet that out of these graduates there will be quite a few hobbyists and maybe a few professionals too.

The divide between hobbyists and professionals will become increasingly clear, as expert operators in the industry start to emerge from its infant state. The difference between these emerging companies will be what they do with the technology, the quality of the teams they create and the mindset they bring to the industry.

You will see hobbyists undercutting vital procedures and protocols to make a quick buck, and some professional companies won’t make it through the initial competitive market.

You will also see professionals working hard with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) industry regulator to increase entry barriers through stricter regulations. This is a vital, necessary step forward to protect the UAV industry, and its clients.

As this emerging market grows, there are many exciting times ahead for this industry and the industries we service. Just as when the Wright Brothers launched man-made flight in 1903, we are on the dawn of a new era in aviation.

There will be hobbyists who use the technology for fun and there will be a booming commercial industry for businesses who adopt a professional mindset.

If you’re considering implementing UAV technology within your business, which type of company would you prefer to work with?