What Do People Think You Do?
When I describe my profession to others, their response is usually something like “Oh! like Google maps!”. Google maps is the most common mapping platform that the general population is familiar with. However, there are more ways to use geographic data than Google maps. Another misconception is that my days only consist of using mapping software, and that I am working heads down on the computer without interaction with coworkers and clients.
What Do You Really Do?
The company I work for is a GIS consultant company. We work with utility companies and help them use their data to benefit their business. Most of the companies that we work with are gas and electric providers. All utility lines and the equipment that they use are mapped in software.
The utility companies need their data (assets) mapped so that they can better serve customers in a power outage, regulate compliance and send crews out for repairs. As an analyst, am also involved in requirements, configuration, testing and training of the applications that field crew members use to collect and record data for the utility company.
A Day In The Life
When I first get to the office, I check my email to see if there are updates on my project from the project manager or team members, if anyone has questions or if there are additional tasks I need to do.
Next I start working on my project which is a software implementation project. I log into the test environment and configure the inspection fields used in the program. I have a meeting with my team members and we go through what we are working on, if there are any issues, how we to resolve the issues and what we need to work on next to meet our deadline.
I need to have all the fields configured and prepare for a workshop tomorrow with the client. To prepare for the workshop, I review the work we have agreed to do for them, look at spreadsheets of data and document a suggested business workflow. I create a Visio diagram that describes how their field teams will work together now that they have new software to reduce data errors.
My team member, who is in another office out of state from me, calls me to discuss an issue he is having. I talk with him and problem-solve until we have the same understanding. I then return to the diagram and finish it. I typically work 8 hours a day but since we are meeting with the client tomorrow, I am working 9.5 hours to get everything completed before tomorrow.
What’s The Average Income?
What Education If Any Is Needed?
You will need a bachelors or masters degree in Geography or Computer Science. Most Universities offer specialized GIS courses, or certificates and some offer it as a Minor. It is not required to have the specialized courses if you are an entry level GIS technician. It is helpful to have the specialized courses if you would like to advance in the GIS career field.
Something Important To Know
GIS involves problem solving, working with data, and working with people. There are a lot of different avenues to take once you get into a GIS career. It is a growing field that is only getting bigger as technology evolves and becomes better.