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Breaking into the GIS scene

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#1
jmn107

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Hi All,
Been lurking a while, figured I'd join and contribute (or ask questions to start). I decided this past fall that my 4 years in Finance weren't going to make me happy and am currently perusing a GIS Grad Certificate at NC State online. I received my undergrad degree in Finance, currently work for a large bank in Birmingham, Al in market analysis. I completely understand the hill I have to climb jumping into the GIS field with zero experience other than two undergrad courses and what I've learned at NC State so far. My question is, for those who may hire, what's the best way to market myself once I've completed the program? Will having a portfolio of side projects and work be beneficial? I plan on targeting business oriented GIS jobs and not necessarily traditional geo/environmental job so I can atleast apply some of what I've learned in banking, but honestly I'll take what I can get and am prepared to do so in order to gain much needed experience. Thanks for any help you can provide.

#2
David Medeiros

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Hi All,
Been lurking a while, figured I'd join and contribute (or ask questions to start). I decided this past fall that my 4 years in Finance weren't going to make me happy and am currently perusing a GIS Grad Certificate at NC State online. I received my undergrad degree in Finance, currently work for a large bank in Birmingham, Al in market analysis. I completely understand the hill I have to climb jumping into the GIS field with zero experience other than two undergrad courses and what I've learned at NC State so far. My question is, for those who may hire, what's the best way to market myself once I've completed the program? Will having a portfolio of side projects and work be beneficial? I plan on targeting business oriented GIS jobs and not necessarily traditional geo/environmental job so I can atleast apply some of what I've learned in banking, but honestly I'll take what I can get and am prepared to do so in order to gain much needed experience. Thanks for any help you can provide.


Focusing on business based GIS will give you a head start with your background in finance. Definitely look into mastering Business Analyst as you work towards your degree and focus your school related projects and research on business or commercial GIS topics. Having a portfolio of any kind will help tremendously, but tailor it when possible to wards the kind of work you intend to do. Employers in GIS want to see demonstrable knowledge of the science and the software and to know that you can complete actual GIS projects and analysis not just add layers to a map. Good luck.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#3
SaultDon

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Focusing on business based GIS will give you a head start with your background in finance.


I would definitely ditto this. Build off of what you already know.

GIS is a niche industry. Several niches are available.

I have some friends who work strictly in GIS doing things like marine, mining, oil and gas, forestry, business (like wallys world chosing where to place their stores or how to offer relevant products regionally/demographically), environment, rural or urban landuse planning, etc... They are really good at what they do and have trained for those specific roles.

Network with other users like you are now on your GIS journey. Those resources are invaluable and help you avoid "re-creating the wheel" while offering unique perspectives and approaches to solving the problems you may face.

Good luck and who knows where GIS takes you!

Showing you have experience in finance would be an asset because maybe you have some understanding of statistics or common formulas used in the industry.

For the portfolio, explaining its relevancy is important, but as pointed as possible (avoid drawn out explanations). If the portfolio appears to be for something different, explain the skills used to produce that piece of work and how they relate to the position you are applying for.

#4
jmn107

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Focusing on business based GIS will give you a head start with your background in finance.


I would definitely ditto this. Build off of what you already know.

GIS is a niche industry. Several niches are available.

I have some friends who work strictly in GIS doing things like marine, mining, oil and gas, forestry, business (like wallys world chosing where to place their stores or how to offer relevant products regionally/demographically), environment, rural or urban landuse planning, etc... They are really good at what they do and have trained for those specific roles.

Network with other users like you are now on your GIS journey. Those resources are invaluable and help you avoid "re-creating the wheel" while offering unique perspectives and approaches to solving the problems you may face.

Good luck and who knows where GIS takes you!

Showing you have experience in finance would be an asset because maybe you have some understanding of statistics or common formulas used in the industry.

For the portfolio, explaining its relevancy is important, but as pointed as possible (avoid drawn out explanations). If the portfolio appears to be for something different, explain the skills used to produce that piece of work and how they relate to the position you are applying for.


Theses are great help. I appreciate it. I'm so eager to start in the GIS world, it's hard to focus on the now! All in good time I guess. Thanks again for the advice and I hope to post here in the future with updates.

#5
mfarmer

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I'm in Birmingham, too. Message me if you want to get together for coffee or lunch.

#6
jmn107

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I'm in Birmingham, too. Message me if you want to get together for coffee or lunch.


Thanks mfarmer, for some reason my message feature is inactive. Shoot me an email at jmneal107@gmail.com. Thanks

#7
Hans van der Maarel

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I'm in Birmingham, too. Message me if you want to get together for coffee or lunch.


Thanks mfarmer, for some reason my message feature is inactive. Shoot me an email at jmneal107@gmail.com. Thanks


Your message feature should work now.
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Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics




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