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Urgent help required in choosing Masters Course

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#1
steve31000

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Dear All,

About 6 weeks ago, I posted a lengthy topic regarding my decision over which Masters course to study in GIS/Remote Sensing. With your help, I managed to decided on a course to choose and I picked a university ranked in the top 10 in the world because I felt it offered a lot in the course I chose - GI Science.

Having received my offer sometime ago, I attended an open day at the university last week. We were shown presentations on the various MSc.'s on offer in the department. I was quite impressed with their MSc. in Remote Sensing and informed that if we want, we can change from GI Science to MSc. Remote Sensing.

I was really taken with Remote Sensing as this interested me before as part of studying GIS. Whilst the GI Science course I have been accepted for has some Remote Sensiong (two modules which are options - image analysis and intro to remote sensing), I felt I wish it had a bit more. I spoke with the course director from the MSc. RS at the open day and explained that I was very interested in the Remote Sensing aspect of GIS but was hoping to do a bit of both in the GI Science course.

He explained that the Remote Sensing might not be the best option to do as part of the GI Science course as it might be better to stick with more GIS focused options or to change to the MSc. in remote sensing if thats what I am really interested in. After having a think about this I figured that as I am more interested in Remote Sensing aspects of GIS and frankly fascinated by it, I should choose this rather than doing GI Science with a little Remote Sensing.

Then, I looked on the internet for jobs that require remote sensing and I got shocked at how there seemed to be very few.
Most seem to want GIS and Remote Sensing abilities. The Remote Sensing course has a shared module with the GIS course called 'IT and GIS' which is practical based mostly. My questions are do you think that I could still get accepted into GIS jobs with an MSc. in Remote Sensing if there is only one main module in GIS and IT? And secondly, are there many jobs in Remote Sensing or areas that require image analysis experts/knowledge of radar/lidar imaging etc.? I feel that Remote Sensing really interests me but I am deeply worried I won't find emplyment. Please could you advice me on this and whether having a small amount of GIS is enough (I have a Natural Science degree, moderating in Geography and have done some GIS modules before). I am pulling my hair out trying to decide whether to change course or not.

Thanks in advance!

#2
James Hines

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Check the job market in the UK, what job are you most likely to land? Remote Sensing, or GIS? Check the income level & check job advancement. What do you like most? In other words what is your heart telling you? What is your strength? Talk to your professors.

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."


#3
steve31000

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Check the job market in the UK, what job are you most likely to land? Remote Sensing, or GIS? Check the income level & check job advancement. What do you like most? In other words what is your heart telling you? What is your strength? Talk to your professors.



I have checked the job market on the internet and I can't seem to find much remote sensing. Searching for remote sensing jobs on the internet is very hard as the title 'remote sensing' from my understanding isn't really a job title so I checked things like 'image analyst' and 'geospaial analyst'. There are jobs in these but they require gis and remote sensing experience. So my question really is will being a remote sensing 'expert' with some GIS be enough to land a job that requires knowledge of the two? Can you pick up the GIS if you are lacking in a certain area of it?

I spoke with the course director of the Msc. in Remote Sensing and he told me that he thinks there are better jobs to be had in Remote Sensing as there are less people who are specialists compared with GIS. This line had converted me and after this meeting my heart was telling me Remote Sensing. However, now that I can't see really any jobs (or I'm searching for the wrong job titles) in the UK, Europe, Canada or USA (I'm willing to relocate, though in relation to the USA many jobs require security clearance and therefore you need to be a citizen which rules me out), I am starting to wonder if there is a point in doing something no matter how much I may be interested (and my heart tells me I am) if there are no jobs that I'll be able to apply for. Afterall, I am changing career from teaching so I desperately want to be successful in using this MSc. as a stepping stone to a new career.

Going back to my original question, maybe someone can advise me on whether the GIS contained with a Remote Sensing course (such as using and understanding GIS software) is enough with RS to get a GIS job in case I can't find a Remote Sensing one when I finish. I'm torn between the two. My heart says one thing but my head says well whats the point if their isn't a job at the end of it. That is what I'm hoping to find out.

Cheers

#4
James Hines

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You have a strong advantage with a bachelor of education under your belt. While it's not completely a change of career consider teaching Remote Sensing at a college. And yes there are locations in North America that would take you in an instant. I believe my college COGS might have an interest having an instructor with your background.

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."


#5
Dustin Edge

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The number of job ads for GIS versus Remote Sensing will give you a clear indication of job prospects. Remember....Remote Sensing Specialists take years of experience to become one. Having a degree in it does not automatically make you one.

Most of the RS stuff I have come across in my 9 years in the industry will be always be very basic stuff...rectifying imagery, mosaicking and I'm sure the two modules in the GI Science course will cover that.
But doing one or modules in GIS will not give you the basic knowledge to apply for most GIS roles out that....even entry level ones.

I did a MSc in Spatial Information Sciences (GIS & RS) and I've never really got a chance to do some of the really fun & great RS analysis until about 3 months ago...but I've done so many different GIS things in the 9 years....3D flythrus, flood modelling, topographic mapping, database design....

Not to mention...your Natural Science degree with an added GIS degree will open doors....

Hope this helps...
Kind Regards,

Dustin


Dustin Edge
Snr GIS Analyst
AECOM Australia

#6
steve31000

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You have a strong advantage with a bachelor of education under your belt. While it's not completely a change of career consider teaching Remote Sensing at a college. And yes there are locations in North America that would take you in an instant. I believe my college COGS might have an interest having an instructor with your background.


This idea sounds very interesting. I certainly would love to teach adults remote sensing or GIS following my MSc. as an option as I do love teaching and have a lot of experience as a high school geography teacher. I had a look at your college COGS, and it looks great. Do you know if such employers are willing to hire overseas workers (I'm an Irish national) with specialist qualifications in a subject such as in GIS/ Remote Sensing? Basically, the Canadian Immigration process is very complex and if you don't fall into a very limited category of skilled workers they need (which GIS/Remote Sensing doesn't seem to), then you need to apply to a Canadian employer and get them to fill in a form saying that they can't find anybody else with the same to offer than the foreign national being employed. With this method, you can get a work permit pretty quick. I would love to work in Canada. I have had many great experiences there in the past and see it as a major employer in the GIS/Remote Sensing industry. I'd really appreciate if you had anymore info on how in the coming year I might apply for a position in a institue such as yours.


The number of job ads for GIS versus Remote Sensing will give you a clear indication of job prospects. Remember....Remote Sensing Specialists take years of experience to become one. Having a degree in it does not automatically make you one.

Most of the RS stuff I have come across in my 9 years in the industry will be always be very basic stuff...rectifying imagery, mosaicking and I'm sure the two modules in the GI Science course will cover that.
But doing one or modules in GIS will not give you the basic knowledge to apply for most GIS roles out that....even entry level ones.

I did a MSc in Spatial Information Sciences (GIS & RS) and I've never really got a chance to do some of the really fun & great RS analysis until about 3 months ago...but I've done so many different GIS things in the 9 years....3D flythrus, flood modelling, topographic mapping, database design....

Not to mention...your Natural Science degree with an added GIS degree will open doors....

Hope this helps...


Thanks for your help. It is easy to see that there are a lot of GIS jobs around on the internet compared to Remote Sensing positions, which as I previously said, I find hard to locate as there are many job titles that RS encompasses. I find it interesting that you mentioned how an MSc. in remote sensing does not automatically make you a specialist. I understand the notion that it's really practical experience that counts when getting a job and therefore I find RS a little worrying as to wheter graduates are given a chance by companies without that experience/Phd. In relation to this can I ask you if you think that coming out of Uni with an MSc. in RS, would I find it difficult to find a position within a company/institution? Please be blunt as if RS, whilst more appealling on the surface, will make life so much more difficult in getting a job than GIS, then I may need to stick with GIS.

Whilst I love RS and have always been fascinated by RS technologies especially in relation to the natural sciences, I fear that I may be shooting myself in the foot if I come out of university after 1 year of hard work with a nice qualification but no job prosepects.

Thanks in advance




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