Jobs that use GIS. You’ll be surprised at the variety.

GIS career paths

To start a career, you likely think about the standard path of going to a college and studying a related major. For instance, if you want to work in the GIS industry, you might choose to get a degree in GIS. But the majority of us have a job or education in some other field and then want to focus on getting GIS skills.  The good thing is that we can to start a GIS career path by getting a GIS certificate online. In either case, we are typically not yet qualified for most jobs in GIS due to the skills gap between what we’ve learned and what industry hires.  But there are ways we can make ourselves more marketable and fit into a variety of GIS industry roles.

Standard roles

Let’s start with the standard roles that organizations hire to run their GIS systems.  These jobs are filled with people who really focus on the GIS career track in their education and developing their experience. They are the cogs that make the whole GIS industry run.

  • GIS technician is responsible for data editing, processing data, and creating maps.
  • GIS analyst is responsible for developing workflows, analyzing data, maintaining quality standards, and serving layers online.
  • GIS developer is responsible for the design of web applications, embedding maps in mobile, and creating dashboards.
  • GIS database administrator is responsible for creating databases, system integration, cloud architecture, and data security.
  • GIS manager is responsible to supervise the team of GIS / IT specialists, present GIS products to stakeholders, and create long term strategic plans.

GIS jobs can be found in any industry

Aside from the core GIS roles listed above, it’s widely known that GIS is a tool to be used by anyone.  There aren’t any vertical industries void of GIS.  Therefore, we hope to inspire you that anyone can learn GIS skills in any industry and provide better technical skills and data understanding to your organizations.  So here is a taste of a few interesting GIS use cases that you might not have thought about. If you want more information about the GIS industry, Check out this article that explains why the industry is growing so fast.


Archaeology examines the development of historical events through geography, time, and culture, so the results of archaeological research are full of spatial information. And GIS is good at handling huge amounts of data, especially geographical data. Every State has a State Historic Preservation Office where archaeologists use GIS to contribute locations and attributes of protected cultural resources.  For example, an online mapping system in the State of New Mexico, NMCRIS, holds 200,000 records and receives new digital records through a web upload application. It also provides eligible users with geospatial information.


Walgreens, a company that operates pharmacy stores, uses ArcGIS technology to adapt to market needs. The company uses spatial analysis to understand market demand to adjust store locations and products. For example, if there is an unusual increase in the number of flu prescriptions in a particular location, then workers can order more flu shots in advance.  And most recently, they used GIS to plan for locations and staffing for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Crime statistics

Every crime is bound to be associated with a certain place. It could be an address, a zip code, or a street. GIS can not only help when a crime needs to be solved, but it can also prevent crime by predicting trends to increase the safety of a community. When the investigator working the case already has a general idea of the location of the crime. After months of mapping, it can help investigators view and understand potential criminal movements and patterns with precision.  When you analyze crime locations, it makes it very obvious if you are putting police resources at the right times and locations as a deterrent.

Real estate

What GIS and real estate have in common is that they both have a lot to do with location. Market analysis is one of the most important steps in a real estate business. In other words, GIS software can help to achieve more accurate market analysis. Spatial analysis allows real estate agents and sellers to more easily demonstrate the features and location advantages of the subject property.  Furthermore, we now see tons of extra information when we do a home property search to find what amenities are in the nearby surroundings.

How to learn GIS to employ in your field?

Learn from vendors like ESRI

There are multiple vendors that allow us to learn GIS related skills. For instance, ESRI is the largest software vendor with a large suite of applications within its Geographic Information System platform. You can learn ArcGIS from many of their online courses or by enrolling in the ESRI certification program.

Focus on project based courses

Bootcamp GIS provides professional GIS certification for current students, new graduates and existing professionals. It is designed to help you find top GIS jobs in the industry. The courses are project based, which means you learn and gain experience from doing real projects rather than a focus on a specific piece of software.

Work these tools into your daily projects

The best way to master a skill is to apply what you have learned. Trial and error is a daily routine in the tech world. So my advice is: practice, practice, and practice.


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