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Spring 2011 Edition

Many Reasons to Consider GIS as a Career

This article as a PDF.

Whether you are a student considering your first career or someone already in the workplace who is considering a new career, choosing GIS can be rewarding in many ways.

The growth potential in this sector has remained high. As the use of GIS and other geospatial technologies expands, it offers opportunities for people with different work experiences and educational backgrounds. According to the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA), because geospatial technology use is so widespread, "the geospatial market is growing at an annual rate of almost 35 percent."

Although these are compelling reasons to consider a career in GIS, Joseph Kerski, Esri education manager, poses some questions and offers some answers that can help you appreciate some other reasons why a career in GIS might be the right choice.

Do you want a career or just a job?

Do you want to be paid for doing something you love to do or just collect a paycheck? A career where GIS is a fundamental part of your day allows you to be immersed in a field where you can continually grow and move forward in an environment of lifelong learning.

Do you want to do something cool?

GIS is an exciting, rapidly changing, and cool technology that merges nicely with many other technologies you may be interested in, such as video, web development, and phone apps.

Do you want to do something important?

GIS is a green technology that is making a difference on our planet and to its people every day for key decisions about wildlife habitat, human health, renewable energy, climate change, water quality and availability, wilderness areas, and much more.

Do you love maps?

For thousands of years, maps have been fascinating and powerful sources of information. GIS combines the best of visualization and technology. Today's maps are not just reference sources, they are dynamic, and you can change them to suit whatever need you have or problem you are trying to solve.

Do you like to get outside?

GIS depends on data collected in the field. Your "field" could be atop a glacier, in a river, on a city street. There is no end to what needs to be mapped and analyzed.

Do you want to empower people?

The convergence of the web, GIS, and handheld devices make citizen science a reality.You can contribute to real scientific studies or build tools to enable citizens to make these contributions.

Are you curious about your world?

GIS allows you to investigate what-if scenarios, model, ask questions, and investigate possible outcomes.

Do you care about the well-being of your local community?

A career in GIS enables you to do something about issues in your own community: health, zoning, services, greenways, crime, trash, traffic, and more.

Do you want to make sense of data?

If you think that a mountain of data exists now, just wait until next year. GIS helps you make sense of all that data and to develop critical-thinking skills to help you understand what data to use and what not to use.

Do you want to blaze new trails?

Many, if not most, of the GIS-related jobs in the future have not even been invented yet, so market yourself! Propose a new position in an organization that you are interested in. Make your case that you are the one to staff that position!

For more information, visit the Esri Career Pathways page.

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