Top gis technician skills needed to get the job.

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What are the top 3 traits or skills every gis technician must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your gis technician expertise?

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Nathan in Bismarck, North Dakota

71 months ago

john Mckee in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: No there are not any. Most places need nothing more than a GED and the ability to operate a mouse. They also pay about as much as wal mart employees.Then lay you off. GIS is not a valid job or trade.Its a bunch of nonsense so you waste money going to school for it. Believe me a have a bs geography from penn state. Please don't waste your time

Man you Suck and have a bad attitude, I'm in first semester already have 45K offers. that's just in my state, ND You can work for NASA with your degree you just need to change your attitude

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C in Vancouver, British Columbia

55 months ago

Depends on a bunch of different factors (in order):
1 - How well you communicate. The heard of the GIS world is communication, making a map that communicates as needed, communicating with your co-workers on what's possible, how they want to communicate what the cartographic prduct is saying, etc.
2 - How diverse you are. Do you know a bit about GPS, or web development, or geomatics, or research?
3 - How willing you are to push the boundaries, learn about what you're co-workers are doing, and find and solve problems.
4 - Technical ability.

"GIS Technicians/Analysts" can be anything from; glorified data-entry proffesionals, to artistic cartographers, to high end modellers with experience in other fields. They use a variety of technology, with a variety of skill levels. Find your niche, if you're not happy, figure out how to get to a niche where you are, which may involve night classes, working weekends, or other challenges. Same as any other job. Don't expect to get out of school and have the red-carpet rolled out for you.

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New2GIS in Colorado Springs, Colorado

44 months ago

Hello,
I just came across this discussion and found it very interesting (and helpful too). I have a question to add to the discussion: How does a GIS Certification (18-month program) compare to a degree (2 + years)?

My certificate includes classes like: remote sensing, ArcView 3D, applications, ArcGIS and an internship.

Thanks for any advice!

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GIS?Why in Chicago, Illinois

41 months ago

I am sure this makes a large difference. I am in an 18 month program now and after reading this it make me want to stop taking classes. I had a job lined up but it would have only been temporary. If you have no other degree and just GIS certification 18 month, I don't think you will get any solid job. You need to major in something like environmental science, get a masters and then you might be valued for your GIS knowledge at some point. This is at least my understanding after working for an environmental consultation company for 4 years. I haven't seen anyone that they hired really stick around too long.

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Eric Abiecunas in Charleston Afb, South Carolina

41 months ago

IF you want to succeed in GIS YOU have to be willing to relocate!

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Randy in Bellevue, Nebraska

38 months ago

I would add that you can't just look at job sites and want ads. I called various engineering firms, hell I called everybody. I ended up landing a job where the position was only advertised in the local paper (city of about 50k) and had been available for 4 months. I've since then organized a GIS Department and their moving me to management. Don't give up, network, go to conferences, join the local GIS organization/association. I would also build up skills that compliment your GIS such as environmental knowledge, governmental compliance such as NEPA, survey/GPS skills, etc. SELL YOURSELF!!!

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RJM in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

38 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every gis technician must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your gis technician expertise?

I can’t honestly say that anyone who says the GIS field doesn’t have high paying (and currently available) jobs is not looking. If you can edit features, create maps and have any knowledge of GPS data collection you can start immediately in a multitude of places around PA, WV and NY. Its called the Marcellus Shale Bed… look it up.

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pd515 in Noyon, France

35 months ago

Hi; I am very interested to start a career in GIS. I hold a Bachelor degree in Forestry and a Master in Environmental science. I did some managerial job in natural resource management; but now I am willing to focus on GIS. Would it be wise for me to start over ? What specific skills should I develop to get a entry level job ?
Please give me some courage .....

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Brian in Chicago, Illinois

35 months ago

pd515 in Noyon, France said: Hi; I am very interested to start a career in GIS. I hold a Bachelor degree in Forestry and a Master in Environmental science. I did some managerial job in natural resource management; but now I am willing to focus on GIS. Would it be wise for me to start over ? What specific skills should I develop to get a entry level job ?
Please give me some courage .....

I am not quite sure why you would start over or have a change in passion to want a job where you are in front a computer all day. You have a Masters in Environmental science and want a computer job is what I am hearing. If you want a basic $15/hr job in GIS, you can take a few classes and start. But unless you learn several languages of code and basically focus part of your studies on computer science, you will never make as much as you would with the degree you have now. Just get out there and do whatever you love, even if it is sitting in front of a computer. However be prepared to compete with some real tech nerds.

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Randy in Omaha, Nebraska

35 months ago

pd515 in Noyon, France said: Hi; I am very interested to start a career in GIS. I hold a Bachelor degree in Forestry and a Master in Environmental science. I did some managerial job in natural resource management; but now I am willing to focus on GIS. Would it be wise for me to start over ? What specific skills should I develop to get a entry level job ?
Please give me some courage .....

Why do you want to go for an entry level job? Are there no jobs in yoru field? Your Forestry and Environmental Science skills are perfect companions for GIS. Think about aquiring GIS skills to compliment what you have. A friend from college landed a biologist job BECAUSE she had GIS skills and this put her over the competition. Something to think about.

I would disagree with Brian slightly. I have a geography degree and no programming skills but hold a great position. That said, knowing a couple of languages wouldn't hurt ( I hate programming but I'm learning). But like I said above, I have something that compliments my GIS, experience in the intelligence field. If you want a position that is "pure" GIS, then yes you will eventually need programming. If you want to add GIS to your environmental science skills then not so much.

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Randy in Omaha, Nebraska

35 months ago

GIS?Why in Chicago, Illinois said: I am sure this makes a large difference. I am in an 18 month program now and after reading this it make me want to stop taking classes. I had a job lined up but it would have only been temporary. If you have no other degree and just GIS certification 18 month, I don't think you will get any solid job. You need to major in something like environmental science, get a masters and then you might be valued for your GIS knowledge at some point. This is at least my understanding after working for an environmental consultation company for 4 years. I haven't seen anyone that they hired really stick around too long.

Some jobs I've seen posted want a degree AND a GIS certification. A certification basically gives you skills that weren't included in your degree. If you have a computer science or geography degree that included GIS courses, just put that on your resume or cover letter.

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pd515 in Noyon, France

35 months ago

Randy in Omaha, Nebraska said: Why do you want to go for an entry level job? Are there no jobs in yoru field? Your Forestry and Environmental Science skills are perfect companions for GIS. Think about aquiring GIS skills to compliment what you have. A friend from college landed a biologist job BECAUSE she had GIS skills and this put her over the competition. Something to think about.

I would disagree with Brian slightly. I have a geography degree and no programming skills but hold a great position. That said, knowing a couple of languages wouldn't hurt ( I hate programming but I'm learning). But like I said above, I have something that compliments my GIS, experience in the intelligence field. If you want a position that is "pure" GIS, then yes you will eventually need programming. If you want to add GIS to your environmental science skills then not so much.

I would take your comment as 'words of courage ' ! ' If you want to add GIS to your environmental science skills then not so much.' -- can you provide me with any specific advice regarding integration of gis skills to my science degree. training in arcgis ?

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Randy in Omaha, Nebraska

35 months ago

I'm not sure how the European college system works or if they have similar courses/programs, but here you can get a graduate level certification in most subjects. You take 5-8 graduate courses in GIS which would include things like basic GIS, advanced GIS, remote sensing, cartography, etc and get a certification in the end. You wouldn't need to start over and it wouldn't cost as much. This would also give you something to show future employers rather than just saying "I taught myself". I'm a big fan of networking, so if you have a local GIS association or group join them. Go to any GIS users meetings or conferences as you can meet potential employers. You don't need to start over, just expand your knowledge and skills. Hope this helped.

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gispenguin in Louisville, Kentucky

30 months ago

I am currently completing a computer science degree, after switching from an environmental science degree. I am completing this part-time, while I have been working as a Systems Admin, Database Admin and/or developer for the last 11 years. My questions is if I completed Penn State's online Masters GIS degree, would I be able to transition from my IT career to a GIS one? Also any suggestions to help facilitate this move would be welcomed.

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Randy in Omaha, Nebraska

30 months ago

In my opinion, for what its worth, I wouldn't bother with a full masters. Look into a graduate level GIS certificate instead as these are cheaper and quicker and you learn the same thing that the masters will teach you. With your background in IT I think that would be the way to go.

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Dave in Orlando, Florida

28 months ago

GISpenguin I agree with Randy, you're well positioned to make the switch. But it depends on what you really want to do. For my money I'm leaning towards a GIS grad cert in Tampa after I finish some beginner SQL certs and more programming, like .ASP. I personally think a lot of the online GIS grad programs being put out won't give you anywhere near what you'd get from interaction with profs at that level. Penn St is tops but online or not the costs would sink me.
I re-thought things about a year ago (B.A. Geog '95) and quickly found many GIS positions don't need the techs as much as programmers/db admins to handle the back end. You should do fine though.

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Q in Orange, California

27 months ago

Have to agree with most people here. Although the computer field in growing, the GIS field is definately not growing. The government agencies, ESRI and small companies are the only places to work. Google Maps service and free data such as OpenStreetMap have made customers not exactly value cartography. There are a few highly specialized jobs were you might get paid well (e.g. Modeling). I personally got out of the industry because in this economy getting a job there is rough.

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Joseph in Charleston, West Virginia

27 months ago

Q in Orange, California said: Have to agree with most people here. Although the computer field in growing, the GIS field is definately not growing. The government agencies, ESRI and small companies are the only places to work. Google Maps service and free data such as OpenStreetMap have made customers not exactly value cartography. There are a few highly specialized jobs were you might get paid well (e.g. Modeling). I personally got out of the industry because in this economy getting a job there is rough.

I completely disagree with anyone who doesn’t think GIS is evolving and on the cutting edge of resource management and facility installation / upkeep. So those who might encounter this thread won’t be misled I will share my story.
I graduated in 2008 with a degree in forestry from a major state university. The forest resource job market is directly tied to the housing market. The housing collapse destroyed job availability in my field almost immediately after my graduation. Because of this I took one of these measly “$15” an hour jobs with a major company pushing data around in their GIS… Luckily I had some experience with esri and GPS technology and they saw fit to bring me on. From there, I worked hard, learned everything I could from my colleagues and attended every free GIS training session possible (see esri’s website). Subsequently I have received raises to 45k, 56k and finally now 64k (plus many perks). I do agree that direct education is not required. During this time I have had two other companies try to lure me away from my current job… I know for a fact there are great jobs out there in GIS! Get your foot in the door and work hard!

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Randy in Bellevue, Nebraska

27 months ago

GIS is more than just maps/cartography I'm sure you know. It is true that a vast majority of jobs are in the municipal to federal level organizations (I work for a city), with engineering firms coming in next. Companies are looking for analysis skills and database experience. What I see is more of an expansion of needs which is partially driven by GIS capability and partially by the economic situation. They want more for less. The biggest factor is the job might not be where you are. I have no problem moving (military background), so I have a very pool of possible jobs.

Joseph hit the nail on the head however, work hard and show them what you can do. When I started they still manually updated maps and only had 1 ArcView license. Now I run the GIS Department that I built.

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Ashish Tagalpallewar in Pune, India

19 months ago

I am Information technology graduate and working in software company as software engineer but i hate to sit next to computer for 10 hours that's why i choose geoinformatics to pursue master's.
I always want to explore world and to get relocate to new places.
is this course is right for me?
What kind of jobs i will get for my profile i have bachelor's degree in information technology with1 year exp. with master's in geoinformatics ?
Please let me know that am I on right track?

Thanks

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Victorvinraj in Boston

12 months ago

Am looking for Smallworld GIS Electric Office Developer. IF your the one mail me at vinodhr@boston-technology.com
Location: Columbus, OH

This position is for a Smallworld developer in IT Distribution Delivery. The developer will be primarily working on a project to migrate an existing Electric Distribution GIS built upon GE Smallworld Classic to the latest version of GE Smallworld Electric Office. In addition, the developer will help the internal IT team with minor enhancements to the current GE Smallworld Classic Distribution GIS.

Vinod

Boston Technology Corporation

vinodhr@boston-technology.com
boston-technology.com

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