If you’re lucky, you’ve probably received one this past Christmas, or getting one of these might have sneaked into your list of new year’s resolutions.
We are, of course, talking about those buzzing aerial gadgets affectionately known as drones.
In 2016, we have seen much buzz around drones, all with one common theme shared amongst them – they are getting smaller and more compact.
Interest in drones are definitely at an all-time high, with both hobbyists and professionals using them extensively for multiple applications – especially so for those doing photography and videography.
There’s Actually A Course For Drones Now By Republic Polytechnic
Today, Channel NewsAsia reported that Republic Polytechnic has introduced a course aimed specifically at drones.
The basic course has been ongoing since December, but the polytechnic will be officially launching a more extensive course structure at their Open House later this week, with three basic and five advanced courses in total for different skill levels.
Called the Drone Based Aerial Videography and Photography course at RP’s Academy for Continuing Education, it seeks to enable anyone to achieve an official certification in drone operation.
A very Singaporean thing to do indeed – having a certificate to prove you can actually do something.
While that may be good news for professionals who use drones in their line of work, this course may not be a sound plan for those of us who want to just pilot a drone “for fun”.
Drone enthusiasts all over Singapore may be gearing up to attend this course and find out more about it, but we’re here to offer a slightly different opinion – why you shouldn’t attend this course.
1. It Costs $1,380… For A 2 Day Course
The barrier for entry to this course will probably be the first stumbling block for hobbyists.
For the basic 2-day course, the cost for undergoing lessons just to get a piece of paper at the end will cost you a grand total of $1,380 (excluding GST, mind you).
There’s no word yet as to how much it will cost as you to proceed to the more advanced courses, but one thing is for sure, the price will definitely be around the same (or even more expensive).
At almost $1,400, that’s a lot of money for any hobbyist to invest into the activity, when the same amount of money can literally get you one of DJI’s latest drones; or if you are into DIY, you can build a highly complex and customisable one for a lot less.
2. It’s More Focused On Industry Professionals
While they do have basic courses open to anyone willing to fork a good sum of money, it is evident from their advanced courses that this new initiative will have a focus on industry professionals using drones in their line of work.
Aside from content production like drone photography and videography, other areas that will be covered can come in the form of recovery systems, land planning, and search and rescue applications.
This could be very useful for professionals dealing with land surveying, architectural and engineering projects, and scientific research, but the average hobbyist will mostly likely be contented enough with just taking aerial photos and videos.
3. You Don’t Get To Fly A Drone Immediately
In true tertiary institution fashion, you will get to see what you are attending the course for, but you will not be able to pilot it first-hand until much later on (in the case of this course, on the second day) if the course structure is anything to go by.
The first day will be full of introductions and terminologies which are enough to bring back negative memories of your student days, and the nearest you will come to flying an actual drone will be through a simulation program on a computer.
The good thing about these lessons, though, is that you will be taught about the regulations in Singapore and overseas for the times you want to fly a drone.
But really, it’s not like you can’t read up on Singapore’s drone laws online right?
4. Self-Learning For Hobbyists Is Easily Available Online
Drone enthusiasts who fly (and even race) their own drones have been doing well so far without the need for formal courses to teach them about their beloved hobby.
In that respect, a simple search online will give your dozens of results on forums and communities for drones worldwide and in Singapore.
Walk into a specialist DIY drone hobby retailer, and you will also be able to start up a conversation with the person behind the counter to talk about your needs in drone building and flying.
Away from the stores, YouTube is also a good source for video tutorials.
If you are just getting yourself consumer models from DJI and the like, there are plenty of videos showing you tips to fly drones, and to capture the best video and photo when using their built-in cameras.
Just Save The Money And Learn It Yourself
I think that at the end of the day, it boils down to personal interest and how much time you’re willing to invest into your passion.
No amount of classes will automatically make you an ace pilot overnight. Yes, it will lay the foundation for a better understanding of the basics, but you will still have to make time and actually fly your drone to fully understand it.
Join Facebook groups and forums, ask questions, and educate yourself before splurging on unnecessary courses and equipment.
But maybe if the course starts accepting SkillsFuture credits, it will be a more enticing prospect.
Featured Image Credit: Comedy Central