DEAR JOYCE: My technically inclined son came home from high school yesterday and said that he's seriously interested in unmanned aerial vehicles as a career. His announcement caught non-techie me off guard. Opinion? -- L.T.
Career forecasters are indeed high on the future of aerial surveillance of large areas by low-cost commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with cameras and other sensors. Here's a snapshot of the commercial drone industry, which some believe is the next big wave of technology that will employ 70,000 people in three years.
UAV USES. Disaster search and rescue, missing hikers and children, wildfire mapping, pipeline security, livestock monitoring, border and road patrol, avalanche inspection, mineral deposit discovery, public building security, ocean anti-piracy protection and much more.
DRONE EDUCATION. At least four universities now or soon will offer a major in unmanned aerial systems. The University of North Dakota led the way with course offerings beginning back in 2009. More recently, Kansas State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University began offering a UAV major. Indiana State University will launch a UAV major this year. And dozens of colleges with aviation programs now offer courses in unmanned aerial systems.
PRIVACY CONCERNS. The expected boom of commercial drones, or the "prying eyes in the sky" industry, has ignited controversy with privacy advocates. They worry about an epidemic of privacy abuses to come. Expect a variety of legal and political challenges, especially when Federal Aviation Administration announces new UAV rules for the sky in 2015.
YOUR HOMEWORK. Follow up with research for a fuller understanding of what your son is talking about. Several good resources:
1) Browse for a short video, "Drones: A booming business?" from the New York Times.
2) Browse for the related Times article, "Domestic Drones Stir Imaginations, and Concerns" by Matthew L. Wald.
3) Visit the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (auvsi.org) and look around for UAV news of growing personnel demand in this science-fiction field that is fast becoming a reality.
DEAR JOYCE: When I write my thank-you email after a job interview, do I begin with "Hi, [first name]," or "Hi, Mr./Ms. [last name]"? -- B.G.
"You'll send an email that opens with a salutation: 'Hi John/Jane,' if you are close enough in years and experience to use first names. If you are younger and have been encouraged to use first names, that's okay too, but reverting to the formalities of Mr./Ms. in written communication (until after the second meeting), will usually be received as respectful and flattering. If use of first names hasn't been encouraged, don't presume: It won't win you points, while showing professional courtesies always does."
I cribbed this answer from the iconic author Martin Yate who wrote it in his new edition of "Knock 'em Dead 2013, The Ultimate Job Search Guide," (Adams Media). Job seekers obviously benefit from Yate's guide -- this is the 27th edition.
DEAR JOYCE: I've heard that the use of keywords in resumes are being phased out and replaced by a newer technology called "semantic search." What is semantic search? -- T.J.
Keywords are typically nouns that reflect the skills a particular employer is looking for and may include technical and industry-related jargon. Semantic search engines add a layer of sophistication to understanding keywords in a resume by applying artificial intelligence to translate their intent and meaning.
For example, semantic search can distinguish the differences between the following phrases made up of the same keywords, but with very different meanings: How to burn a dress. How to dress a burn.
Upshot: Keep seeding your resume with keywords that communicate your skills and other qualifications.
The big recruiting industry trade show, the ERE Recruiting Conference and Expo in San Diego, is coming up in several weeks. It's likely to again showcase many innovative recruiting products that impact job seekers. Stay tuned.
DEAR JOYCE: I want to add a few words to what you said last week about the spread of mobile job search. Warn your readers not to expect technological novelty to make up for an inferior message. If your resume fails to address a job's requirements and lack accomplishments that underscore your value, a mobile search won't do anything more for you than would a traditional online search. -- J.M.L.
Good point. Thanks.
(Email career questions for possible use in this column to Joyce Lain Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org; use "Reader Question" for subject line. Or mail her at Box 368, Cardiff, CA 92007.)Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun