The billion dollar industry you know little about: GIS

Everyone wants to know where stuff is

Today we all take for granted the use of real time location based services (LBS) which are projected to grow at a CAGR of 26.3%.  For instance I can see where the nearest gas station is, where my food delivery is, and where to be rerouted around a traffic accident. The layman calls it Google maps.  This is because of the default background map data that is displayed behind the event of interest on their phone.  But what laid the ground for these services is all the work done in the lesser known industry called Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  It’s a continually growing industry that is projected to double to $18B over a 6 year period.

The billion dollar GIS industry connects everything

So why should you pay attention to this billion dollar industry?  It’s because the technology is a very powerful representation for any data that you collect.  The seminal idea behind GIS is the connection of a database to a map.  The database could be storing data on health, weather, wildfires, endangered species, traffic, crimes, property ownership, smart city design, etc.  So it’s very likely that you will collect and store data in any field you are studying.  And instead of just viewing it as tabular summaries, you could be representing it via a map distribution.  For example, the map will tell you where things are doing really well, acceptable, or in desperate need of action.  The most famous recent example is the Johns Hopkins map of COVID-19 spread which 100s of millions of people have viewed.

Add GIS skills to your portfolio

Since 90% of data can be connected to a location, it’s likely that you might want to add this skill to your portfolio.  Are you getting a degree in Management of Information Systems?  You better enroll in some GIS courses.  Or you’re getting a degree in biology?  You might consider a GIS certificate to make you more competitive than a similar biology major without GIS skills.  GIS exists in government/private agencies at every level which are the places you might get hired.  Therefore you should see this as a skill that makes you more marketable.

Where do I learn GIS

So now the question is how do you learn GIS?  Some people major in it through their geography department.  And some go back to school to get a Master’s degree like I did.  But that was 20 years ago.  There are shortcuts to complement your existing education.  For example, you can learn GIS software skills from some of the software vendors like Esri which is the number one worldwide corporation.  They host the largest GIS conference in the world right here in San Diego every year.  I highly recommend it as this is an awesome place to learn and network.

Get a GIS certificate taught by industry experts

You have another great avenue to take courses from Bootcamp GIS where you can learn applied skills from subject matter industry experts online.  The program was designed with student flexibility in mind.  The assignments are real, you can take courses on your schedule, and you can get networked with industry professionals.  Our young people still need degrees, but don’t forget about a microcredential in tech.  A project based GIS Certificate is now your key to demonstrating a technical skill that industry looks for.  Bootcamp GIS is connected with SDSU World Campus to offer an Enterprise GIS Certificate.  See more here:  https://ces.sdsu.edu/science-computers-technology/professional-certificate-enterprise-gi

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