Starting a GIS career

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07-21-2020 07:11 AM
BenWilkerson
New Contributor

Looking for advice on which GIS field/career to pursue...I'm currently employed as a contractor at a Utility company where I manage, create, and analyze datasets regarding gas infrastructure. I recently completed a certificate program through Coursera (Specialization in GIS) and am looking for upward movement as far as career and salary go. I really enjoy GIS and have learned many different GIS concepts including map-making, the use of ModelBuilder and geoprocessing tools, neither of which are used in my current job. The GIS job environment is incredibly broad and so I was looking for advice on my next steps: What types of certificate should I pursue next? What type of jobs/skills are most needed in GIS? What are the current and future trends of GIS careers?

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MichaelO_Shea
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Anything on the IT side (database administration, network security, etc.) is useful, but also applicable outside of GIS, and will keep your career options open, but are definitely valuable in the GIS universe. Anything regarding development is also very useful and broadly applicable; coding languages, use of APIs, python scripting, and web based hosting of customized or configurable applications. Making data accessible on various platforms is very useful, as well as configuring applications for field or mobile use is also very useful and will become more practical.

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TerryMagnusson1
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Build your enterprise GIS knowledge (without working in one, you'll need to rely upon educational resources, esri.com, open source offerings). Safe Software's FME is a widely used GIS tool, and you can request a free version to dive into it (want to apply RGB values from digital orthophotos to a clipped portion of a LiDAR dataset? Well FME can do this in multiple formats). Find opportunities to build your GIS resume by looking for ways to drive reporting and decision support systems that increase efficiencies (turn that spreadsheet into a dynamic dashboard). And, oh yes, although there are many interfaces that do magical things...they are all driven by well structured, and accurate data. Learn to understand data modelling and how important it is.