What technical ability do you need to get a GIS job?

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (5)

MsBoronia in Eastwood, Australia

57 months ago

I am currently studying Environmental Science at University and have done some subjects on ArcGIS. I was thinking of possibly looking for work in GIS after I graduate, but I have heard that GIS jobs can be quite technical and can sometimes involve programming. I used to be a web designer so I do have a small amount of technical ability, but not to the extent of programming. So is this true, do you need to be very technical to succeed in a career in GIS?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

i hate my field in Alexandria, Virginia

47 months ago

Yes, unfortunately. After the terrorist crap that went down in NYC in 2001, everyone suddenly needed GIS professionals to make maps. So all the cartography I learned and all the remote sensing I learned was useless. What happened was that programmers were hired on as GIS people, making add-ons within all the software programs people were using depending on what the client that paid wanted. They essentially would just get the original software program, like ArcMap, and change it a bit and sell it to the client depending on what they needed that GIS program to do. Even in imagery analysis, using remote sensing this happens. Eventually you'll find yourself behind a computer messing with code for days on end in your own cubicle and not talking to anyone. Unless you work for the federal government, it's all programming. The private companies only want to make money off of what you can do for them---which is make add-ons for the original programs. They call it 'shring-wrapping' and sell to the client the final product.

And if you think they are hiring you for your charming personality, you're wrong. Every GIS person I've worked with knows more about programming than cartography and they could care less about making maps correctly. They just want to out-perform you and look like the best of the group. It's very competitive and unless you feel you're the best of the best, good luck. Someone's always behind you trying to stab you in the back so they can get recognized by the boss first.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No Reply - Report abuse

i hate my field in Alexandria, Virginia

47 months ago

Sorry---I meant to type 'shrink-wrapping'

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

i hate my field in Alexandria, Virginia

47 months ago

Oh, and no GIS jobs really incorporate environmental anything. You'll most likely be working with extremely conservative ex military people who hate anything 'environmental' unless it involves killing something. You'll eventually learn to not talk about anything that is your opinion.

I have a BS in environmental science and a MA in Geography.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

MsBoronia in Sydney, Australia

47 months ago

Thanks for your detailed reply.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

» Sign in or create an account to comment on this topic.