Help! Advice needed for a GIS newbie...

Help! Advice needed for a GIS newbie...

Post by Scott Be » Sun, 13 Jun 1999 04:00:00



        Hello!

        I am interested in getting into GIS as a career pursuit, and
am very interested in learning everything I can about GIS and how to
use ArcView.  

        If anyone can give me advice regarding how to get into this
field and ultimately get hired for work in it, I would be greatly
appreciative.  I have an advanced degree in biology (population
genetics), but have soured on pursuing the academic / teaching route
as a career goal, and I am currently employed as a scientist aide at a
local regional preserve, where I am just learning GIS with ESRI
ArcView 3.0...  I really like what I see in GIS so far, and am amazed
at what the potentials are for how it will permit spatial organization
and presentation of data in ALL fields in the future.    I  absolutely
intend to pursue GIS education and (ultimately) GIS certification...
Am I pursuing the correct course?  I have several questions, and if
anyone can help me by giving me some answers to them, I would be
greatly appreciative.  Namely...

1.   Is pursuing GIS certification necessary to obtain at least an
entry-level position for GIS work?

2.   How "big" a field is GIS?  In other words, does this seem to be a
field which will experience a large demand now or in the near future?

3.   Is GIS "Certification" as offered by a number of colleges really
all it is cracked up to be?  Or can one make just as good inroads into
the field by self-education and experience?

4.  I am considering obtaining GIS certification offered through a
local university's extension program--in particular, UC Riverside's
certification program.  Is this a good program, or are there other
programs just as good (or better) offered at other colleges and
universities?

5.   Do most colleges or universities offer GIS certification?  Is it
a widespread phenomenon?  Or is it more a money-making "scam" on the
part of college extension programs (where it seems that they are
offering "certification" for anything and everything nowadays)?

6.   What is anyone's advice regarding how to best and most
immediately prepare myself for this field, and what path I should
prepare for educating myself?

7.   How and where does one find employment opportunites in the field?

8.   Finally, do I require a geography background or experience to
pursue this path, or can I just "pick up" the map / geography
understanding necessary on my own?  Will not having a BS in Geography
hurt opportunities for me?

        Any responses to any of these questions, or any advice anyone
can give me regarding my concerns here would be greatly appreciated.
Please respond via either a followup to this post here, or by emailing

        Thanks again!

Scott Begg

 
 
 

Help! Advice needed for a GIS newbie...

Post by Larry Thelle » Tue, 15 Jun 1999 04:00:00


Heres my 2 pennies worth -


>         Hello!

>         I am interested in getting into GIS as a career pursuit, and
> am very interested in learning everything I can about GIS and how to
> use ArcView.

>         If anyone can give me advice regarding how to get into this
> field and ultimately get hired for work in it, I would be greatly
> appreciative.  I have an advanced degree in biology (population
> genetics), but have soured on pursuing the academic / teaching route
> as a career goal, and I am currently employed as a scientist aide at a
> local regional preserve, where I am just learning GIS with ESRI
> ArcView 3.0...  I really like what I see in GIS so far, and am amazed
> at what the potentials are for how it will permit spatial organization
> and presentation of data in ALL fields in the future.    I  absolutely
> intend to pursue GIS education and (ultimately) GIS certification...
> Am I pursuing the correct course?  I have several questions, and if
> anyone can help me by giving me some answers to them, I would be
> greatly appreciative.  Namely...

> 1.   Is pursuing GIS certification necessary to obtain at least an
> entry-level position for GIS work?

Not in most places. Academic coursework is all that is available in many
states.

Quote:

> 2.   How "big" a field is GIS?  In other words, does this seem to be a
> field which will experience a large demand now or in the near future?

The demand is here already. For example I teach a basic GIS for seniors
and undergrads, and enrollment has doubled in the last two years, with
students coming from every school on campus (eg archeology to zoology)

Quote:

> 3.   Is GIS "Certification" as offered by a number of colleges really
> all it is cracked up to be?  Or can one make just as good inroads into
> the field by self-education and experience?

Experience. GIS is often considered a tool rather than a subject, as in
"we need a forester who can handle GIS tools" rather than "Gee we need a
guy with a GIS degree to fill out our IT staff"  Get credentialed in your
occupation, and use modern tools like GIS, seems to me to be a good path.

Quote:

> 4.  I am considering obtaining GIS certification offered through a
> local university's extension program--in particular, UC Riverside's
> certification program.  Is this a good program, or are there other
> programs just as good (or better) offered at other colleges and
> universities?

From 2000 miles away Riverside's program looks very good.

Quote:

> 5.   Do most colleges or universities offer GIS certification?  Is it
> a widespread phenomenon?  Or is it more a money-making "scam" on the
> part of college extension programs (where it seems that they are
> offering "certification" for anything and everything nowadays)?

Most do not I think.  Few I know of in the midwest. Extension programs
reflect the desires of people like you (and me) to retrain for something
better, Not a SCAM, a response to demand - companies do not need degreed
GIS staff, they need GIS capable staff, and for a wide range of
applications 2 years can be pretty good. So they ask the extension campus
folks to address the need, and students percieve it as a worthwhile
investment so they come.
We on-campus here (30,000 student state school) annually see hundreds of
graduates with 6 or 9 or 12 hours of GIS coursework in a couple of
schools, and far fewer (couple dozen) "GIS majors" in engineering or
agriculture- natural resources.

Quote:

> 6.   What is anyone's advice regarding how to best and most
> immediately prepare myself for this field, and what path I should
> prepare for educating myself?

best long-term path - go back to college and take a few graduate level
courses using GIS, and do good. Maybe get a non-thesis masters - it will
last you far better than a "certificate". Get to know the professors and
instructors - around here we frequently get requests from employers for
names of "mature" students who can pick up a project and run with it.
Older, wiser graduates trained in the newest technology are in demand.

Quote:

> 7.   How and where does one find employment opportunites in the field?

Like always, know the right people, and search the web. In the midwest
many county governments are converting to GIS systems, meaning jobs for
consultants and local staff.

Quote:

> 8.   Finally, do I require a geography background or experience to
> pursue this path,

not if you take some courses.

Quote:> or can I just "pick up" the map / geography
> understanding necessary on my own?

We do not see that working well here.

Quote:> Will not having a BS in Geography
> hurt opportunities for me?

Shouldn't with the other degrees and some experience/training. But you
won't be teaching geography.

>         Any responses to any of these questions, or any advice anyone
> can give me regarding my concerns here would be greatly appreciated.
> Please respond via either a followup to this post here, or by emailing

>         Thanks again!

> Scott Begg

--
Larry Theller
765-494-5954
Center for Advanced Applications in GIS
http://pasture.ecn.purdue.edu/~caagis

 
 
 

1. Newbie Needs Help/Advice...what to buy,where to get it, etc.

Okay, I've new to home automation game and I want to setup a system
that utilizes voice-to-text,text-to-voice,tcp/ip access, motion
sensors, and appliance and light controlls.  My question is what types
of budget solutions are out there.  I looked through the sites of some
of the software providers, but they are expensive(ie. H.A.L. is approx
$385.00).  I am looking to develop my own interface with VB, but don't
know if there are some good solutions that work with in conjunction
with user developed executables or web interfaces.  Please, any advice
for the newbie will be well digested.  I have learned that it is best
to enlist the help of those that have travelled the road before you.  I
would rather avoid unecessary cost, if at all possible.  Thanks in
advance.

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

2. question about dns and ip allocation

3. Newbie needs basic advice, please help

4. Distributed Objects -> Future

5. Need advice: Creating a PARCEL GIS map

6. BEWARE OF HACKS?

7. About to begin GIS masters program, need advice

8. Vms Calculator

9. GIS newbie: I need zipcode map of NYC

10. Newbie needs software advice

11. Newbie advice needed -

12. Newbie - Advice needed

13. Newbie needs IR control / repeater/ Ocelot interface advice