I'd like to begin by introducing myself. I'm Michael, and I'm in my last year of a BA degree program in archaeology in the Netherlands. Since my first year, I've been fascinated by the possibilities of GIS and its applications in archaeology. During this final year, I'm specialising in computer applications within archaeology which is heavily based on using GIS - MapInfo, Surfer and ArcGIS in particular. It also includes basic training in tools such as the (robotic and non-robotic) Total Station and (D)GPS.
Because I do not see myself working in archaeology, I'd plan on doing a master's in Geo Information Science in order to specialise in whatever GIS has to offer. Before making decisions like these however, I'd first like to talk to GIS specialists such as yourself before committing myself to something that important. While many faculty members have experience using GIS (particularly MapInfo), none of them have a degree in it. Instead they come from fields such as physical geography, archaeology and earth sciences. Many questions I have therefore remain unanswered. There appear to be very few GIS specialists I can talk to in the Netherlands, or at least my direct area.
Without having anything to add, I'll begin with the questions. Even if only one of these is answered, I'd be extremely happy.
What sort of skills does a GIS analyst require? Many job listings require experience with various packages and perhaps being able to script in Python, but are there any inherent skills that I should really grasp in order to become somewhat proficient at my job? For example, I'm not at all good with mathematics. Currently I'm teaching myself the basics of trigonometry, geometry and algebra because even those skills were mostly gone from memory. I have some experience with statistics. Am I hopeless without a solid foundation in mathematics?
Is there a large (international) demand for GIS-specialists? I'm especially interested in ecology, mining, landscape, urban planning or (merchant) navy applications, but as an entry-level position everything would be great. I often hear there is a large demand for GIS-personnel, but we all know the demand can be over exaggerated.
Will the fact that I'll have a bachelor's degree in archaeology (with a master's degree in GIS) be a limiting factor? While many skills learned in archaeology can be extrapolated to other areas of work, I can imagine many companies would rather play it safe and go for someone with a sociology or geography degree or, better yet, a technical background.
Is it possible to freelance during or after my studies? Will it be possible to gain experience and make some money on the side helping with projects for a small amount of money by doing the menial tasks? And, later on, simply freelance from project to project? I'm somewhat adventurous, so travel is not an issue. Is this something inherently possible with a GIS specialisation?
Is there anybody here who has experience with one of the various GIS MSc programmes in the Netherlands?
I have many more questions, but for now I won't bother you with the rest. Thanks in advance!
Edited by Michael P., 27 September 2011 - 06:29 AM.