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#1
sjspurgeon

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I am 35 years old and looking for a career change. I have been looking around this site and I am really enjoying it. I have been working in television for the past 10 years doing creative as well as technical work and I am over it. I have always enjoyed maps and minored in Geography in college. I am kicking around getting GIS certification but I am concerned that certification won't be enough to help me get a job. I would love any advice/insight about changing careers to cartography/GIS. Also, any input about Texas State's program would be appreciated. Thanks.

#2
François Goulet

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Hi!

GIS is a growing field: 20% annual growth and 45% of the world's market is in North America. A good technician or a GIS Specialist should not be unemployed long. All my friend from school have GIS jobs.

Here are some links to site with general information about the field of GIS:
Consider a Career in GIS
Geographical information systems (GIS) specialist
Career Handbook, Second Edition - 2255.5: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Technologists and Technicians
What is GIS?
GIS Analyst: Snapshot overview

Having some creative background will definitely be a plus in your resume. GIS is widely "spread" so anyone's background or previous job/studies is something you could re-use. You don't have to be a nurse to develop an "health GIS", but it helps. I change to GIS after a master degree in history and it definitely helps me with some historical maps I had to do (and I made the change essentially because I love maps... that's all). With a background in television, there's always telecom where you could be a valuable resource and more.

You could go where you're planning to do your certification and talk to someone there. It will be easier to have answer.

I don't think that anybody here will tell you not to do the jump ;) . It's a wonderful field with numerous possibilities and opportunities. If you want to plan your move carefully, ask yourself what you want to do with you degree after and try to follow that path with your courses choice or activities. My diploma in GIS was very general and it was a little difficult at the beginning because I could do a little of everything, but I wasn't specialize or trained in anything in particular.

I've been awake for only half an hour so it's all I can think of for now (and I hope it's coherent ;) )

Good luck and keep us posted!

p.s. And welcome to Cartotalk :)

#3
p-dub

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I'm currently finishing up a BS and a certificate in GIS from Texas State. I've completed all my geography coursework, and have some odds and ends to finish up for graduation. I think it is a great program. The facilities are top notch and the instructors are very knowledgeable and accessible.

My diploma in GIS was very general and it was a little difficult at the beginning because I could do a little of everything, but I wasn't specialize or trained in anything in particular.


This does seem to be the case at Texas State for the undergrad program. This may not be the case for graduate studies. In fact I am seriously considering continuing my education and Texas State would be on my list of schools. I am looking for direction in study before I commit to grad school.

It seems everyone I talk to echo's Francois, having a directed study within your discipline is highly recommended going into a graduate program. Are you considering an MS or just a certificate?

The Geography program at Texas State is full of non-traditional students. I am also a non-traditional student. I was a cobbler (yep, I fixed shoes) and a climbing bum for 12 years before I entered university. I don't think the cobbling helped my cartographic aspirations much, but as a climber, maps are vital, daily part of life.

Feel free to e-mail me: patrickwild@gmail.com

#4
Claude

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funny, there seem to be a lot of climbers in GIS. i guess climbers just have an appreciation for geography spending all that time looking for approaches and lines.
Platts, a div. of McGraw-Hill
www.maps.platts.com


#5
heath b

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Hi and Welcome!!!

I had a similar story to yours, as I was a chef for 10 years before burning out and deciding that I needed a new creative outlet. I recently finished my GIS certificate and have found a great job doing a mix of GIS analysis and cartography. I have an interest in transportation planning, but have found that it is relatively easy to move in different directions, provided that you have an interest in and knowledge of your subject matter. Good luck.

Oh yeah, another climber here too!

Heath

#6
Jim Harken

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I would encourage you to pursue this career change also - I worked in the financial world for a couple years after college, and enjoy making maps probably 1000% better. Good luck!
Jim Harken
GIS Technician
Johnson County, IA




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