Justin Holman is CEO of Aftermarket Analytics, where he leads efforts to develop cutting edge sales forecasting and inventory optimization technology for the Automotive Aftermarket. Prior to joining Aftermarket Analytics, Justin managed corporate consulting for the Strategy & Analytics division at MapInfo Corporation, leading major projects for retail clients including The Home Depot, Darden Restaurants, Bridgestone-Firestone, Sainsbury’s and New York & Company. Before that, Justin served as Vice President of Software Development at LogicTools, now part of IBM's supply chain application software group. Justin holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College, a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon and an Executive Management certificate from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.


  • Lwanga Charles 12 years ago

    Thanks Justin
    this is very rewarding.I enjoyed rewarding it and I hope to take up some of the issues you have mentioned as far as becoming a Geospatial analyst is concerned .

    • Justin 12 years ago

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Spatial Career Guide – Cartography and Visualization Specialist | Geographical Perspectives 12 years ago

    […] is my third post in the Spatial Career series.  I’ve covered GIS Software Developer and Geospatial Analyst and in this post I will provide guidance to the aspiring cartographer and/or visualization […]

  • Eva 12 years ago

    “GIS is not the same as cartography.” SO important for my students to hear this from another source. I’m constantly harping on people to take cartography classes while they have the opportunity. I see so many bad maps in my professional (non-teaching) work, and I just can’t bear for students to walk out the door, so to speak, without getting this critical part of their education.

  • frank 12 years ago

    Hi Justin. I love this. Thanks for the insight. Its really helpful. I also have a dream of becoming a GIS analyst as well.
    Thanks and stay blessed

  • julie kanzler 12 years ago

    Hi Justin, I have been doing GIS for 15+ years, and would like to say that this post is very good advice. However, I feel you’re missing one thing. It’s so important for GIS professionals to get a grounding in programming concepts as part of their educations, regardless of the field and the position. GIS is very hours-intensive (i.e., costly) without some degree of automation, so I consider scripting and model building part of the core capabilities of the GIS professional (not just the GIS developer). I am all for mentoring and teaching inexperienced professionals how to use models, scripts, and programming to automate and build tools, but it’s really difficult when they don’t understand the concepts of variables, loops, and conditional statements. I think a basic scripting class would be sufficient, and a formal logic class wouldn’t hurt.

    • Justin 12 years ago

      Julie – thank you for pointing this out! I refer to some suggestions in my similar post on pursuing a GIS Software Developer position but I failed to mention programming. For the aspiring geospatial analyst I agree that the ability to automate tasks is extremely valuable. I would recommend taking a course at a community college or buying a book and doing some self-study. If you prefer to take computer science at a University you will need to wade through more theory than you need but, depending on the instructor, this can be a good way to go as well. Thanks again for this comment!

  • Spatial Career Guide – Geographic Information Scientist | Geographical Perspectives 12 years ago

    […] posts I’ve written about how to prepare for a career as a GIS Software Developer, as a Geospatial Analyst, and as a Cartography/Visualization Specialist.   In this post I will describe how to prepare for […]

  • Buy Direct 12 years ago

    Hello there, You’ve done an incredible job. I will certainly digg it and for my part suggest to my friends. I’m confident they’ll be benefited from this website.

    • Justin 12 years ago

      Thanks for the feedback!

      • Kelly Noble 4 years ago

        My daughter is a Geospatial Analyst. She had to have a Masters degree. I am newly retired as a teacher-librarian and have 20 more years to work for retirement…Medicare. Short story is I need another career. I have a masters in Library Science and Informational Studies—and EDS in Lib Media. I love DATA—-is there anything you would recommend that I could put in to do that does not require me going back to school and getting further in debt?

        • Justin 4 years ago

          Hi Kelly,
          Do you hate being a librarian? You’ll have a much easier time finding another position in your current field than you will seeking another career. And there’s plenty of data available to analyze within Library Science, right? Could you migrate to a position where you’d get to play with data but still be a professional librarian? It would be very time consuming to go all the way back to square one en route to GIS or another Data Science path. Not impossible if you’re committed, but you may lose ~5 of those 20 years getting back to where you were pre-retirement. By the way, there is such a thing as a “Map Librarian” – maybe that would be the best of both worlds for you? I would guess a GIS Certificate (even if it’s “in progress”) to go along with your Masters would be sufficient. Hope this helps.
          Best wishes,

  • randydutton 12 years ago

    My twin sons are at Lackland AFB studying Geospatial Analysis. They can’t tell me specifics but how relevant is their coursework to non-DoD fields?

    • Justin 12 years ago

      Hi Randy, I don’t really know anything about what type of training they are receiving but I would think their coursework and military experience would be quite relevant. Regardless of what technologies they are being exposed to they are definitely learning to think spatially, to problem solve with maps and to consider a geographical perspective. To break into a non-military geospatial career may require additional training and perhaps a ramp up on different technologies but I suspect they’ll be relatively well situated. Hope that helps! Let me know if I can answer anything more specific. Best, Justin

  • Tesfaye Ayele Yimam 11 years ago

    Hello, Justin!
    Thank you for your valuable professional comment. Could you, please, share us exemplary Geo-spatial analysis made, particularly on Urban and Environmental sectors?

    • Justin 11 years ago

      Thanks for your comment. Could you be a bit more specific as to what you’re looking for? There are hundreds or thousands of possible studies. Thanks, J.

  • Jeanette Harlow 11 years ago

    Very helpful! So hard to pin down my initial interest in Geology with my new education in Geospatial Analysis as to what to do and where to seek employment. Thank you for sharing.

    • Justin 11 years ago

      Hi Jeanette – glad to hear you found the post helpful! Best wishes, Justin

  • Michael 10 years ago


    First, thanks so much for writing these blog posts–very helpful to students considering this field.

    My question:

    I already have an arts degree (not related to GIS), and am interested in changing directions and becoming a Geospatial Analyst. I have two options: (1) do a second degree in Human Geography (this would actually only take me 3 semesters, which can be done in 1 year thanks to my university’s trimester system) and then a 1 year diploma in GIS; or (2) do a Bachelor of Science degree in GIS. This second option would take about two years, and the program I am considering is quite weighted towards computer science (half of the courses are in computer science and math).

    Am I interested in programming? Not so much, but I hear that it is an asset for GIS. I’m much more interested in the mapping and analysis side of things.

    Given my circumstances, which of these two-year paths sounds wiser to you?


    • Justin 10 years ago

      Hi Michael, thanks for your kind words. Is your “arts degree” a Bachelor’s degree or an Associate’s degree? If you already have a Bachelor’s degree, I would encourage you to pursue a graduate degree. Either option you present here will require 2 years; a Master’s degree would require about the same time commitment but I think you’d walk away with better training and superior credentials. That said, perhaps there are good reasons to only consider these two options. I don’t think I can really help you choose without knowing more about both programs. If the GIS diploma is just a curriculum geared toward learning ArcGIS and other ESRI software I wouldn’t recommend that path. But maybe it’s more than that. If the BS in GIS degree offers lots of math and computer science that might be great but if the math/cs curriculum is too theoretical it may not be sufficiently beneficial. In any case, could you provide some additional context and information about the 2 programs so I might be as helpful as possible? Thanks, Justin

  • Sarah 10 years ago


    Thanks for writing this series of posts! I’ve found them very helpful as someone just being introduced to the geospatial world.

    What is your opinion on undergraduate double majors for potential geospatial analysts? For instance, if someone was interested in government service (like the NGA), would a history/geography double major be more favorable? Or for business analysis, a business/geography major be ideal? I feel there is a lot of talk on how a gis button pushing degree itself is not useful, so at an undergraduate level, is doing a double major worth it if you already feel you know what you want your particular niche to be?


    • Justin 10 years ago

      Hi Sarah, good question. It’s an individual decision so there’s no formula. Generally speaking I favor combining a “technical” major with geography. For any sort of geospatial analyst position (govt or business) I would recommend geography + computer science or geography + statistics. If you want to target NGA try to find a relevant internship and take as many remote sensing classes as possible. For business related careers you need to try to develop business savvy. Maybe take a marketing class or just study on your own. Read the Wall Street Journal and The Economist. Most importantly, get a job working in the private sector. Any job is better than no job but try to find something where you deal directly with customers in some capacity. Hope this helps. Best, Justin

  • Joseph 10 years ago

    Hello Justin,

    I had spoke to you before in one of your other articles and I wanted to tell you that I took your advice and I’m now studying Geography at the University of Alabama.

    As far as becoming a Geospatial Analyst, do you believe I will have any issues with a Bachelors of Arts in Geography? I’m focusing in GIS and I had intended on getting a Bachelors of Science, but due to where I stand with math and how many math courses I would need to take, I have switched to BA for the time being. Geospatial Analyst, particularly with the DOD, is my intended goal.

    Thank you,


    • Justin 10 years ago

      Hi Joseph – I don’t think it matters too much although you don’t want to graduate without some basic math skills. You should be exploring every inch of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency website to keep tabs on employment opportunities: https://www.nga.mil/Careers/Pages/CareersOccupations.aspx
      Congrats on your decision to attend a great University. Best of luck! -Justin

  • Gloria 9 years ago

    Hello Justin,

    Great advice up there. I have been searching so long for this particular information. With my focus directed to Geospatial Intelligence I now have an idea what to do. I am concluding my BSc in geomatic engineering and GIS and currently starting some online studies in computer science which i find vital for programming skills. This line of career isn’t common in Africa yet so much needed especially in my country, that is what drives my passion, with the much loopholes we have in our system that needs be addressed. What angle would you propose i approach this subject, mastering in Geospatial Intelligence or internship opportunities in the same? Otherwise your articles have been most helpful. Much thanks.


    • Justin 9 years ago

      Hi Gloria – there are online programs in Geospatial Intelligence that you might consider. USC (Southern California) and Penn State have Geospatial Intelligence offerings that may be of interest. Work experience of any kind, internship or otherwise, is always the best education but may not be readily available to you. If you can find your way to Washington DC you will find the most opportunities to gain experience, although I don’t know how accessible they would be without US citizenship. Also in DC Metro there is a Master’s program offered at George Mason that looks very good. Here’s a link to explore: http://cgeoint.gmu.edu/
      Hope this is helpful. Best wishes, Justin

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