Creating a Career in GIS

At the intersection of geography and technology is the geographic information system (GIS). Geospatial solutions are being used across all industries, and innovations in this field are happening at light speed, which is feeding the demand for qualified professionals who are looking to travel a GIS career path. 

Start With Education

Whether you’re looking to obtain a degree or build on the training you already have, the first step towards a career in GIS is taking advantage of continuing your education. Most employers look for candidates that have a Bachelor’s Degree in areas like engineering or computer science, but degrees in other areas can be supplemented with certifications. Look for programs that include classes like cartography, GIS principles, programming, and database infrastructure building. 

The next step is learning about GIS software applications. Do a quick search of the job listings that interest you the most; look for the software skill requirements that are part of the role’s description. This will help guide you towards the courses you need to be proficient in, and many of these will be available online through distance learning programs that you can complete at your own pace, from anywhere.

Choose An Industry

Government entities, urban planning associations, and natural resource management groups are among the most common industries that use GIS, but the list is much longer. Consider how your skills and education can be applied in these areas.

Supply Chain Management: Now more than ever, organizations are looking for ways to streamline the process of getting products to consumers faster and more efficiently than ever. GIS can help create a supply chain that allows for transparency, tracking, item location, replenishment, and accountability.

Banking: Financial institutions looking to better serve customers will tap into GIS data to research potential branch locations, shift service offerings and banking hours, and understand financial trends that are happening in the community around them. This in turn allows banks to make data-driven decisions that help boost profitability.

Public Health Services: Recent events have highlighted how important GIS data is to best serve communities that may be more vulnerable to public health risks. Geospatial tech can help alert officials to outbreaks, trace their origin, and offer support for expanding education for populations that are at higher risk of disease.

Insurance: Risk is the name of the game in the insurance industry, and GIS software can offer brokers and coverage providers with a quantitative basis to establish that level of risk. Geographic mapping can indicate flood risk, demographic maps can dictate the incidents of traffic accidents, and historical data can build a foundation for the likelihood of natural disasters such as hurricanes.

Create a CV/Resume

With an education under your belt and an industry in your sights, it’s time to write a resume that helps get you noticed by potential employers. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach here won’t work; it’s crucial to tailor your CV to highlight the skills you have for particular job postings. Think of it this way: If a GIS job skill is listed in the posting and it’s one you have experience with, you should emphasize this in your resume. 

If you’re unsure at how to create a CV for the industry you’re interested in, it’s a good idea to reach out to a team of GIS experts who are experienced in placing candidates like you in their dream job roles. Getting your resume noticed will give you a much better chance of getting your foot in the door and landing an interview.

Preparing for an Interview

Getting to this point means your hard work has paid off! Prepare for the next step by walking into your interview confidently and armed with the answers to some commonly asked questions. Of course, the interview process will cover the main points (education, experience, training) but it could also take a turn into more specific & in-depth questions about GIS: What are GIS commands? How would you improve commonly used GIS tools? 

Study for your interview the way you would study for an exam. Go back to the basis of GIS so you’re ready for any curveballs that may come your way. You can even think about how you would describe GIS to an elementary school-aged child — this can help display your fundamental understanding. 

This is also another step of the process that GIS experts can help with as you look for a job. Don’t overlook the help offered by a team like ours; from choosing the right degree to writing your resume, and even preparing for an interview, we’re ready to help your GIS career excel.