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How to Find a GIS Job


Title: Geographic Information Systems Author: Steven Last modified by: UB Created Date: 7/21/2010 9:11:55 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How to Find a GIS Job

  • How to Find a GIS Job

University at Buffalo GEO481/506 11 November,
2010 Steven W. Russell Jr.
My Background
  • 3rd year PhD student at UB
  • Dissertation on urban impervious surface research
    using LiDAR
  • Masters in Geography, UB May 08
  • Sr. IT Engineer with Erie County DEP since
  • I am the GIS Manager, GIS Tech, GIS Analyst and
    IT guy.
  • Built Divisions GIS from scratch
  • Web GIS (ArcGIS Server, Geocortex), ArcSDE (SQL
    Server), Mobile GIS, GPS/RTK, LiDAR, IT projects
  • Web design, SharePoint Design, Programming
  • Civil/Environmental Engineer (B.S. UB 98)
  • UB M.Eng Environmental Engineering 99
  • Water/Groundwater Modeling
  • Extensive CAD experience in Microstation and
  • Water Treatment Plant Design
  • Land Development Engineering Background

  • GIS Job Outlook
  • What type of GIS jobs are there?
  • Where to look?
  • Dos and Don'ts
  • Ive got my Bachelors/Masters, now what?
  • Networking
  • Cover letter
  • Resumes
  • Unpaid Internships
  • Class Internships
  • Advice
  • Final Comments/Conclusion

How to Find a GIS Job
  • GIS Job outlook
  • WNY
  • New York State
  • East Coast
  • West Coast

How to Find a GIS Job
  • What type of GIS jobs are out there?
  • GIS Techs
  • GIS Analysts
  • GIS Managers
  • GIS Programmers
  • Database Administrators
  • Academic (Teachers Researchers)
  • GIS as a Tool in Engineering, Business, etc.

GIS Analyst
  • What is a GIS Analyst?
  • You will find most employer's dont know what a
    GIS Analyst is. They will ask for someone with 5
    years experience, a Masters degree and will pay
    you 12 an hour.
  • In addition, they will call it something else
    such as Marketing Analyst, Disaster Response
    Analyst, Tax Policy Research Analyst.
  • Need to look for keywords when applying for a
  • A GIS Analyst is someone with many different
    skill sets. They can be part cartographer,
    programmer, database administrator (DBA) etc.
    Ultimately you will use GIS as a tool to do some
    form of analysis of data.
  • You will need to have some form of programming

GIS Analyst
  • How much money do they make?
  • Wide range depending on location, duties and
    skill set
  • 22k 45k to start (32k is average)
  • Max out at 60k.
  • Consulting you will typically work 45-80 hours a
    week and be on salary. If you are with a
    successful firm, you will work weekends.
  • Government you will make less money, but you will
    only work 40 hours a week

GIS Tech
  • What is a GIS Tech?
  • A GIS Tech is basically a full-time Intern at the
    start. You will be collecting the data a GIS
    Analyst will use.
  • GPS data collection and most all Field Work is
    typically performed by a GIS Tech.
  • However, most firms will also expect you to
    perform Analyst duties at the cost of a GIS Tech.
  • How much money do they make?
  • Wide range depending on location, duties and
    skill set
  • 20k 30k to start
  • Max out at 40k.

GIS Programmer
  • What is a GIS Programmer?
  • A GIS Programmer is the most in demand GIS
    position out there. He/She typically is a
    Computer Science major with an interest in
    cartography, geography and web-based
  • A dual major CSE/Geography can be assured of
    his/her pick of a good job upon graduation.
  • How much money do they make?
  • Wide range depending on location, duties and
    skill set
  • 65k to start. Should hit 6 figures quickly
    depending on how many hours they are willing to
    put in.
  • Rarely find programmers in Government because the
    pay is so low.

GIS Manager
  • What is a GIS Manager?
  • A GIS Manager is in charge of the day to day GIS
    operations for a firm. They are part Project
    Manager, Tech, Analyst, Programmer, DBA, network
    administrator, etc.
  • Typically after 5 years of being a Tech,
    Analyst, Programmer, etc. you move into a
    management position.
  • Once you move into Management you typically quit
    performing technical duties, and move towards
    managing people and projects.

GIS Manager
  • How much money do they make?
  • Wide range depending on location, duties and
    skill set
  • 50k to start
  • Government tops off around 65k, Consulting 80k
  • Consulting you will typically work 50-80 hours a
    week and be on salary. If you are with a
    successful firm, you will work weekends.
  • Government you will make less money, but you will
    only work 40 hours a week

GIS as a Tool in
  • GIS is used a lot in Engineering, Business, Tax,
    Planning, etc.
  • GIS is slowly moving away from a career and into
    a tool such as CAD, Spreadsheets and Word
    Processing software.
  • Need GIS experience on your resume.
  • How to get it? Internships, Classwork
  • People with GIS experience are going to get
    preference over those without for GIS jobs.

GIS Instructor/Professor/Teacher
  • How much money do they make?
  • Not much at first.
  • 2,000 to teach a summer class
  • 3,700 to teach a class during the school year.
  • TA stipend is around 20,000/year. IGERT is
    around 30,000/year
  • 40k-50k to start on a path towards tenure
  • Need to decide if you want to work at a teaching
    or research university

How to Find a GIS Job
  • Where to look?
  • Locally
  • Newspaper?
  • Email lists/RSS feeds
  • Nationally
  • Conferences
  • Twitter gjc has a twitter feed
  • http//
  • Facebook/LinkedIn
  • Networking, Networking, Networking
  • There are UB alumni all over the US

GIS Jobs Websites
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http// (temp jobs)

How to Find a GIS Job
  • Dos and Don'ts
  • Dont misspell anyones name in email or cover
  • Dont apply for another job and send that
    application to the job your applying for
  • Dont cut and paste into your resume or cover
    letter in a different font than the one youre
  • Dont harass anyone

How to Find a GIS Job Dos and Donts
  • From xxxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxx mailtoxxxxxxxx_at_buffal
  • Sent Tuesday, June 02, 2009 1153 AM
  • To xxxxxx, xxxxx
  • Subject GIS Internship
  • xxxxx xxxxxx, GISP,
  • Is this some sort of joke you cheap bastard, July
    24, 2009 minimum wage increases to 7.25 an hour.
    Mighty Taco pays 10 - 12 an hour starting and
    you get free tacos. Why do local municipalities
    seem to think they can get top quality work for
    bottom dollar prices? Youre a Senior GIS Analyst
    do you really expect someone to do this mind
    numbing work 7.63 an hour?
  • http// Department of
    Labor Website
  • http// Mighty Taco
    Jobs Website
  • Sincerely,
  • xxxxxxx x. xxxxxxx, xxx x xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx

How to Find a GIS Job
  • Dos and Don'ts
  • Dont show up unannounced
  • Dont call if they dont offer a phone number
  • Dont ask for help in finding housing
  • Dont assume your going to be doing GIS tasks if
    youre hired
  • If you do shitty tasks well and without
  • someone will give you better stuff to do
  • - Garry DellAbate -They Call Me Baba Booey

How to Find a GIS Job
  • Dos and Don'ts
  • Do send a thank you email or note after your
    interview. Its not required, but its a nice
  • Do email after a week. However, if you havent
    heard within a week odds are you didnt get the
  • Its acceptable to ask if there are any unpaid
  • UB business cards are great to hand out.
  • You need to learn how to market yourself.

How to Find a GIS Job
  • Networking
  • Networking is the 1 way to find any job. Its
    not what you know, its who you know.
  • Attend local GIS user group meetings.
  • Attend as many conferences as you can afford, and
    when youre there talk to everyone and bring

How to Find a GIS Job
  • Ive got my Bachelorsnow what?
  • UB Grad School?
  • GPA gt 3.0
  • GREs gt 1000
  • 3 letters of recommendation, advisor support
  • MA Project vs. MA Portfolio vs. MS ..vs. PhD
  • Grad School elsewhere?
  • Do I take time off, and then go back?
  • Find a job in WNY?
  • Find a job in US?

How to Find a GIS Job
  • Cover letter
  • Every resume should have an attached cover
  • The purpose of the cover letter is to tell a
    little bit about yourself, and to highlight your
    skills on the resume.
  • Create a custom cover letter for every job you
    are applying for and SAVE THEM.
  • No specific right way to create a cover letter.
  • http//

How to Find a GIS Job
  • Resumes
  • What is the difference between a CV and a resume?
  • Your resume should be current and contain zero
  • Resume should be 1 page. Once you start applying
    to academic jobs or management, then its
    acceptable to have more.
  • No one specific right way to create a resume.
  • Put resume and cover letter on good paper
  • Have a .txt version of resume for online app.

How to Find a GIS Job
  • Paid Internships
  • They do exist, but they are rare in WNY.
  • Can find them in Government Consulting
  • Pay Minimum wage to 15/hour
  • More for programming interns
  • You need to apply to get a job

How to Find a GIS Job
  • Unpaid Internships
  • The easiest way to get experience.
  • Do small projects for local firms, and the
    experience can be added to your resume.
  • The only way youre going to hear about them is
    to attend job fairs with GIS representation, and
    local GIS user group meetings.
  • Erie County offers unpaid internships.

How to Find a GIS Job
  • Class Credit/Geog Internships
  • GEO496/742
  • They do exist, and its an easy 3 credit hour A.
  • GIS experience for your resume
  • However, you have to find a job that will employ
    you for 10 weeks, and have an advisor that will
    sign off on it.
  • Hard to find both.

GIS Jobs
  • How to Get a GIS Job?
  • Have a Resume and Cover Letter prepared
  • Take the time to review your resume, cover letter
    for each job you are applying to (spelling!)
  • Make sure you review where you are applying to
  • Career Planning and Placement, Friends, Faculty
  • Apply to all local jobs, and attend every
    interview for practice
  • Make sure you know what is on your resume
  • Internships are required to get a good first job
  • You will do Intern work at an internship!

GIS Jobs
  • How to Get a GIS Job?
  • Network, Network, Network
  • Attend GIS events
  • Volunteer
  • Did I mention Networking?
  • Networking is your best chance to get a job.
    Posting your resume to online websites is hit and
  • Networking will let you know where the jobs are.
  • Its all about Who you know
  • Your odds of finding a local GIS job are slim to
    none. Be prepared to move to DC, Boston or out
    West to find one

GIS Jobs
  • Hints from my ex-interns
  • Do the research about the position and
    organization before the interview. (A big first
    interview question for me is, "have you seen our
    website?" or "do you know are mission?" It
    important to not only show interest in the job
    but also the organization and maybe even the
    people that are interviewing you. Interest goes a
    long way in an interview.)
  • Keep a log or database of all the jobs you apply
    for and print out job descriptions. (Because I
    don't how many times I apply for a job and seven
    weeks later they want an interview, and by then I
    forgot which job I applied for. Especially jobs
    for big organizations like the Federal gov't
    where there are multiple vacancies you may apply
    for over time.)
  • - G. Schmidbauer UB 05

  • What can you do as UB Geography students?
  • Think of taking a bunch of Computer
    Science/Programming courses if you plan on
    working with GIS outside of UB.
  • Problem is, there arent any at UB/ECC. Ive
    taken CSE503 . Its an intro to Java class.
    Thats my only option.
  • Need to learn on your own, or find an
    internship where you can learn on the job
  • UB doesnt offer .NET or VB classes.
  • This is sorta good because .NET and VB are
    being phased out for Flex and Silverlight by
  • Programming is where the jobs are
  • Plan to move. Government jobs in DC are the
    best place right now.
  • Update your resume and make sure there are no
  • Have a supply of cover letters to apply for
    different jobs
  • Attend a resume critiquing seminar (before ESRI
    interviews in February). Or use UBs career
    planning placement office

  • What can you do as UB Geography students?
  • Stay updated on changing technology
  • Watch the New York State, NEARC UB Geography
    email list for information on internships, and
    user group meeting info
  • Network, Network, Network!
  • Attend as many conferences as you can afford.
  • Show initiative and create your own Geography
    Blog/Podcast, or if you have programming skills,
    look into creating a Google/Yahoo Mashup (great
    marketing tool on job interviews!). Nobody else
    is doing it. You should do something to stick
    out from the crowd.

How to Find a GIS Job
  • If you are interested in an unpaid internship
  • My department will have 1 or 2 available starting
    in December
  • 2-8 hours a week.
  • 4-10 weeks in duration
  • Will be project driven.
  • Can be used for a 3 credit hour class credit in
    the Spring if your advisor signs off on it.
  • Email me your resume cover letter by 11/19/10

How to Find a GIS Job
  • ESRI Interviews in January/February 2011
  • Apply!
  • Interview!
  • Its great practice for later.
  • Spring Career Fair, March 4, 2011 130-5pm
  • Bring a stack of resumes, and see whats out

How to Find a GIS Job
  • A couple weeks before the ESRI interviews I hold
    two (2) Resume/Cover Letter critique sessions in
    the department.
  • Only 5-6 people show up at these sessions.
  • Last year MUPs, Engineers and Computer Science
    students attended.
  • But every year one of those that do attend have
    been hired by ESRI.

How to Find a GIS Job
  • Conclusion
  • You need GIS Experience
  • Paid Internships
  • Unpaid Internships
  • Coursework
  • Programming Experience is preferred
  • Be prepared to move
  • Network!
  • Apply for jobsyou never know.

  • Thank you.
  • Questions???