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 upskill in the GIS tech sector. The good thing is that we can attain this education quickly by getting a GIS certificate online. The return on investment can be immediate as you make yourself eligible and qualified for any of the 22,600 jobs seen in the GIS Jobs Report, 2022.
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 where GIS isn’t an analytical component. Therefore, we hope to inspire you that anyone can learn GIS skills in any industry and provide better understanding to your organization’s issues. So here is a taste of a few interesting GIS use cases that you might not have thought about. Furthermore, you might want to learn about the 5 reasons fueling GIS job growth.
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. 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 site survey information used in the building permitting process.
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.
Every crime is tagged with location. It could be an address, a zip code, or a street. It’s not too far fetched in crime dramas for an investigator to see nearby features that are significant in working the case (the warehouse, the liquor store, or the bike path). 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.
There are companies that have a segment of their consulting business to advise clients on WHERE to make investments or site the next store. Market analysis is one of the most important steps in a real estate business. Spatial analysis allows real estate agents and sellers to answer geographic questions about the subject property. Is there appropriate zoning? Is there a good fit for the demographic and the product? Is the flow of traffic and customers adequate? 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 get a job 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 GIS 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. The program 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.
Conclusion: Work these tools into your daily projects
The best way to master a skill is to apply what you have learned. There are now very economical ways to learn GIS. Trial and error is a daily routine in the tech world. So our advice is to practice and focus on the GIS skills industry is asking for.