Finding GIS Internship or entry level position

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10-10-2019 02:00 AM
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New Contributor

Hi there,

I graduated this past August 2019 with Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from George Mason Universsity. Recently I have been having hard time finding either entry level or internship position in GIS field. I have couple of years experience in all working at different places like grocery department, Budget truck rentals, and as independent contractor for Uber. Currently I am not working anywhere and spend time applying for either internship or entry level position in any company. I did some research with what I can do with Geography degree and I can go for either GIS Analysts or cartographic analyst position or even go for transportation planner. However, I am looking for internship or entry level position within Northern Virginia region or DC Metro Area. The issue is that I never worked in GIS field or any job experience related to my major which means I have no experience in that field. I applied for many GIS Intern position in different companies such as Dewberry and Booz Allen Hamilton hoping to start building my career but they did not accept me for even as intern. I am wondering is it because of age factor that I am over 28 years old and applying for internship? Maybe thats why they are never hiring me as intern? I also tried for entry level position but majority of companies require to have at least 3+ years experience which in my case I don't have it. Furthermore, I noticed that majority of GIS Analyst jobs requires to have knowledge in Python or any other programming languages which I personally find it very hard to understand it. However, I looked up cartographic position and they don't require any programming skills which is good for me because I don't really get programming very well. This leads me to another issue which is that in Northern Virginia or DC Metro Area there are very rare companies that has cartographic position and yet most of them don't have any intern position available. So with the whole background I have explained, in what ways I could able to find internship or entry level with no experience in GIS field or even cartographic within Northern Virginia or DC Metro Area, are there companies which I am missing out that do hire entry level with no experience required and start as trainee level? Any advise is appreciated. Thank you

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New Contributor III

Hi Fawaz,

I'm a little late answering your question, I hope in this time you have found something, but perhaps I still have some useful advice to offer.

You have chosen a very competitive arena, in particular your locale. I want to say, don't give up. BAH is VERY competitive. I do remember when I lived in the area that there were a lot of job fairs, which will be perfect for you; you have many potential employers in one room and you can quickly see which are looking to hire at your level of experience and move on from those that are not. Bring twice as many copies of your resume as you think you might need and even your (unofficial) transcript to reference courses you have taken that might have given you experience in a particular area.

I want to address the Python/scripting language part of your statement. I was where you are not long ago. I hate Python and coding as a whole, I even remember setting my schedule in university to avoid having to take Python and let me tell you in hindsight, it was a mistake. You can get away without knowing for a bit but as you move up in the ranks or, if like my employer, there is only one GIS, you will have no choice but to automate the work, which requires coding. I am now having to learn little bits as I go without the benefit of an instructor, while simultaneously completing all my regular work. I suggest that you look at YouTube videos, search forums like this, and even purchase courses (either through your alma mater or from an online "academy" like https://www.udacity.com/course/introduction-to-python--ud1110. Find a mentor who is familiar and study, study, study! It will never be a waste of time (and remember this is from someone who hates coding too.)

Additionally, look for professional organizations where you can find a mentor, and perhaps work. Some great options are ASPRS, URISA, GISCorps, or there is even a GEO DC Meetup group! Most of these organizations will have discounted rates for students or recent grads/young professionals. 

I hope this information was beneficial and good luck to you!

Ashtan

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