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GIS professionals/students


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Marc H · · Longmont, CO · Joined May 2007 · Points: 250

I just started taking classes for the first time in 19+ years.  I'm studying GIS and I'm completely new to the field.

Do we have any professionals or students here?

Wes Martin · · Denver, CO · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 15

I'm actually a geologist, but worked as a GIS tech for about 6 months. What you wanna know?

Tapawingo Markey · · Reno? · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 75

I’m a planner but have become the de facto GIS person in my office. I’ve seen a handful of GIS/remote sensing related posts in the forums of folks trying to use certain features to map potential climbing areas.

Julian H · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 5

My climbing partner has been a GIS/environment consultant for a long time for the biggest company out there. Her job is getting worse every year and getting paid less. You might want to try something else. I worked a couple of months  for another company and it wasn’t any better. 

Chris Bersbach · · Arroyo Grande, CA · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 233
Julian H wrote: My climbing partner has been a GIS/environment consultant for a long time for the biggest company out there. Her job is getting worse every year and getting paid less. You might want to try something else. I worked a couple of months  for another company and it wasn’t any better. 

In my experience this has less to do with the industry and more to do with who you end up working for. I would caution against drawing too strong a conclusion from the experience of folks who've worked primarily for the multinationals. There are excellent smaller firms out there (especially in California) where people enjoy their work and earn a fair wage.

There are also opportunities to leverage a strong GIS resume in the public sector, although I can't speak to that work environment from personal experience.
Tapawingo Markey · · Reno? · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 75
Julian H wrote: My climbing partner has been a GIS/environment consultant for a long time for the biggest company out there. Her job is getting worse every year and getting paid less. You might want to try something else. I worked a couple of months  for another company and it wasn’t any better. 

I think the main change in the field is that GIS is becoming less a profession in itself and more a tool used by many different professions. So if one is going to school specifically for GIS they should at the least also take courses in database administration, IT/networking, statistics, or computer science. Otherwise, many biologists, planners, scientists, environmental consultants, public works employees, etc. at least know and understand basic-intermediate GIS skills and can use them without the support of a GIS specialist.

Benjamin Pontecorvo · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 145

I currently work as a GIS Specialist in Seattle. Got any specific questions?

Marc H · · Longmont, CO · Joined May 2007 · Points: 250
Benjamin Pontecorvo wrote: I currently work as a GIS Specialist in Seattle. Got any specific questions?

I will in the coming weeks.  One of my assignments will be to talk with someone in the industry.  I might send you a PM if that's alright with you.


In the meantime, I like what's going on in the thread--folks just discussing job potential, compensation, other fields to study, etc.

And if there's someone in the industry on the front range that wants to climb sometime, that would be fantastic too!  I prefer long trad routes in the 5.10 and under range, but I don't say no to much if involves humans moving over stone.

Thanks everyone!
Tom Powell · · Ogden, Utah · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

I am a GIS professional. I have worked in public works, planning, natural resources and defense. All my jobs have been in government at some level either local or federal. Lots of good advice especially to add some other skill set to gis especially database admin and computer science. If you ever want to discuss career paths send me a message.

Brooke Daly · · San Diego, CA · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 0

I am about to get a certificate from a community college for completing about 2 years of GIS classwork and an internship. I dont think I could get a job as a GIS analyst by any means. I am interested in researching bats and hope to use GIS in my thesis and other conservation work in the future. I'm using it to round out my skill set pretty much.

jaysquared · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 145

I've been a GIS professional for about 7 years now. As others have said, if you want a good paying job learn to code. Any job that has "GIS" in the title is guaranteed to pay a fraction as much as a job that requires similar experience, skills, and duties. In Denver Glassdoor puts the average annual salary for a GIS Analyst at $54k, and a Software Engineer at $90k. Even a passing familiarity with getting GIS tasks done with Python or SQL will greatly increase the number of jobs available to you and your potential earnings.

If you'd like to chat send me a PM!

Josh Adams · · Columbia, MO · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 0
Chris Bersbach wrote:

In my experience this has less to do with the industry and more to do with who you end up working for. I would caution against drawing too strong a conclusion from the experience of folks who've worked primarily for the multinationals. There are excellent smaller firms out there (especially in California) where people enjoy their work and earn a fair wage.

There are also opportunities to leverage a strong GIS resume in the public sector, although I can't speak to that work environment from personal experience.

I think you can do anything your heart desires. I changed fields to GIS and I think it's just a matter of passion, not the money you make. I think people should Stop thinking about paychecks... Think of what you can create!!

jaysquared · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 145
I think people should Stop thinking about paychecks... Think of what you can create!!
Thinking about your creations and who benefits financially from them are not mutually exclusive
Gilman Coryell · · Mount Vernon, ME · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 65

GIS professional of 13 or so years here. The applications are limitless. Working in corporate environment is shit but there are plenty of opportunities beyond that. Also working in a cube is about the most unhealthy thing you can do to yourself besides maybe the H.

Ryan Surface · · Kansas City · Joined May 2014 · Points: 398

Is anyone hiring ? PM me

10+ year Arc user, creative analyst, very good with Model builder/some Python. Lots of experience creating high quality custom analysis in the fields of Renewable Energy Development, Telecom, & Wastewater

Marc H · · Longmont, CO · Joined May 2007 · Points: 250

Thanks for all the great info everyone!  I will send out some PMs when the system is back up.

Tim, I can't send you a PM because apparently that feature is down, but I'm definitely down to climb some moderates.  I like Eldo this time of year and Lumpy when it gets hot.  Tim and everyone else, feel free to call or text if you wanna climb something.  This weekend is looking nice if the forecast holds.

3oh3.
8twoseven;
16oh5

Tapawingo Markey · · Reno? · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 75

Hope you don't mind me asking a semi-related question. But does anyone here have any experience with any online master's in GIS/GISci/Web Mapping programs? I've been thinking about continuing education but don't have any contacts of those with first-hand experience in any of these programs.

Julian H · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 5
Josh Adams wrote:

I think you can do anything your heart desires. I changed fields to GIS and I think it's just a matter of passion, not the money you make. I think people should Stop thinking about paychecks... Think of what you can create!!

Are you talking about climbing or a job? You should come work for me. You will make me lots of $$$$

Gilman Coryell · · Mount Vernon, ME · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 65
Tapawingo Markey wrote: Hope you don't mind me asking a semi-related question. But does anyone here have any experience with any online master's in GIS/GISci/Web Mapping programs? I've been thinking about continuing education but don't have any contacts of those with first-hand experience in any of these programs.

I did Penn State's online program but that was over a decade ago. Plenty of options these days. Look at programs from reputable schools and often they will be happy to hook you up with current students or program grads for any questions.

Tapawingo Markey · · Reno? · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 75
Gilman Coryell wrote:

I did Penn State's online program but that was over a decade ago. Plenty of options these days. Look at programs from reputable schools and often they will be happy to hook you up with current students or program grads for any questions.

Thanks Gilman, I’ll contact them and see what comes of it. Penn State is on the list as it seems they’re really one of the main reputable universities that’s put an emphasis on developing distance programs. Wisconsin is also on the list, and it a little more affordable. It seems both emphasize using open sources and coding more than simply using ArcGIS which is what I’m looking for.

Bobby Mustard · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 3,270

Similarly enough to this thread:
Any thoughts on how an MBA couples with a GIS undergrad degree? Surely someone would want to pay someone with those credentials money to do something...

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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