Selecting the online GIS certificate that’s right for you

Looking to add GIS skills to your arsenal? Perhaps you find yourself lacking job offers despite obtaining a college degree that you worked hard to get. Or you wish for a change of career with one of the fastest growing industries in the tech sector. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) collects, analyzes, and visualizes the data we use to manage almost everything on the planet: cities, habitats, and disasters. An online GIS certificate could be a time and cost effective way to give you a tech bump into a meaningful career in GIS.

GIS Degree or GIS certificate?

A GIS degree is part of an overall interactive educational experience in great places with interesting people. We hope everyone has a chance for a degree. Alternatively GIS certificates can serve as a supplement and sometimes a replacement for traditional college education that may be outdated. You should shop for an online GIS certificate program when you want more specific content. This can come in the form of focused applications of GIS or maybe instructors that are oriented towards industry instead of academics. The astute student shopper should really look at the backgrounds of the instructors to get the best experience. COVID-19 has caused the rise of popular remote learning services such as Udemy and Coursera, which makes bootcamp education widely accepted by employers in lieu of standard college courses. In the similar computer science field, 84% of HR managers think bootcamp graduates would be just as likely if not more likely than college degree holders to be high performers. We at Bootcamp GIS fill a unique niche by providing modern, geospatial oriented skills taught by real practitioners.

Flexible for the GIS learner

Unlike traditional college courses, bootcamp programs can be completed on your own time from the comfort of your own home. Instead of requiring a full time commitment, many GIS programs can be taken asynchronously at your own pace during late nights or weekends. This flexibility allows online GIS degrees to be taken alongside a full time job or as a supplement to college. Bootcamps typically run from 6-9 months in length, making efficient use of the learner’s time. The course catalog at Bootcamp GIS offers project based courses. Instead of sitting through lectures, we feel that your time could be much more wisely spent on applied projects of your choice. We aim to alleviate the stress of lacking success in the job hunt despite obtaining a coveted college degree.

Try to learn in-demand GIS skills

Online GIS certificates enhance your resume by providing solid proof of skills that competing GIS graduates lack. But you should be a wary ‘student shopper’ and look at the skills being taught. Many of the GIS certificate programs still teach general courses such as Intro to GIS or Intro to Remote Sensing.  But if you look at job announcements, they typically list more specific skills like:

  • Python data cleaning
  • Map service creation in the cloud
  • Data science models
  • Building geographic data portals
  • Embedding maps in mobile apps
  • Creating field to cloud data workflows
  • Running a UAV image collection project

To bridge the technical skills gap, bootcamp education reduces the difference between the college graduate and the full fledged GIS employee. Andres Abeyta, a GIS educator with over 25 years of experience, compares bootcamp supplementation to medical residencies. “It’s very similar to the idea that a doctor isn’t an MD until they have gained applied skills with their residency.” By demonstrating your deep understanding of ArcGIS, database administration, cloud map services, and geographic dashboards, you set yourself apart from other potential hires.

Taught by practitioner educators, GIS certifications are sure to enhance your job hunt success. Instructors have genuine interest in passing along their experience in their ongoing field of work. With a time investment in the private GIS sector, bootcamp instructors are able to provide connections and career advice as they have navigated through the job search process or hiring process for the GIS industry. With 250 years of collective GIS industry experience, the instructors at Bootcamp GIS would love to extend their hand in providing you with top notch GIS technical skills.

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