Spatial Career Guide
March 28, 2012
In a recent post I argued that Spatial is Indeed Special but that GIS software skills will soon be obsolete. Recent graduates trying to establish “GIS careers” (perhaps we should start calling them Geospatial Careers?) have begun complaining because the opportunities they were promised haven’t materialized. I recently tried to provide some guidance for those attempting to launch a GIS career. But, if you are a current undergraduate studying GIS within a geography department what should you do to prepare for one of these spatial careers? Should you continue taking ArcGIS classes or should you spend more time on other skills?
As I was thinking about this blog post I thought perhaps I should call on the AAG and Geography Departments to create a more unified and consistent curriculum across the discipline. This would serve to improve the standing of geography in the private sector (because employers would have a better idea what to expect from geography grads) and grads would have better opportunities. But then I realized that the divisions within geography are too wide and the wheels of academia too slow moving for any sort of useful compromise and near-term change. I also realized that no one in academics is likely to listen to what I have to say, perhaps for good reason. Instead, I’m better off focusing on communicating directly with current undergrads who can take control of their own education and career. This may require creating your own curriculum and going outside your home department so you’ll have to be a bit entrepreneurial but you’ll need that in your career either way.
So, in a series of blog posts to follow I will make suggestions to undergrads who are interested in one of the spatial career paths that I mentioned in the Spatial is Indeed Special post and a few others.
Here are the 4 different paths that I mentioned and I’m adding two more: spatial statistician and geospatial database administrator.
- GIS software developer
- geospatial analyst
- cartography/visualization specialist
- geographic information scientist
- geospatial database administrator
- spatial statistician
I will cover each of these 6 career paths and how to prepare while you’re still in college in a series of posts to follow over the next week or so. I understand some of these career trajectories better than others so I welcome input on any or all of these. Also, please let me know if another career path should be added to this list (or if you feel like 2 or more should be consolidated).
Stay tuned for more!