GIS Jobs: Present Trade Expectations –

Expertise that had been as soon as extremely wanted and thought of elite could now be extra commonplace and in the end required for entry-level GIS jobs. A person seeking to break into the GIS trade should contemplate what sorts of abilities and expertise are presently probably the most marketable to nail the interview and land that dream job.

This query has been explored in the previous few years (Cannon and Hickey, 2011; Hong 2016; Sinton, 2016), however as know-how advances, so do technology-based industries and profession expectations. This examine represents a quantitative snapshot of present GIS job necessities and most well-liked abilities; it might probably assist each college students with eyes set on a GIS profession and people already within the workforce to plan their persevering with training and bolster their resumes. It may also function a useful device for college school to tailor curricula to the present state of the GIS trade. In spite of everything, information and planning are the keys to success.

The attributes of 1,000 GIS jobs had been recorded between September 2018 and January 2019 from a wide range of job posting web sites. Main job titles had been recognized and data relating to most well-liked software program expertise, desired diploma subject, desired diploma stage, desired years of expertise, and related wage was compiled. Of 5 job sorts recognized — intern, technician, analyst, programmer/developer, and supervisor/coordinator — probably the most commonly-posted jobs had been analyst (44%) and technician (30%).

General, probably the most fascinating technical abilities listed for all GIS job sorts embody proficiency with Esri software program (as Esri dominates the worldwide provide of GIS software program, net GIS, and geodatabase administration purposes), database abilities (information administration is prime to GIS performance), and programming abilities. Undergraduate levels in GIS/Cartography or Geography and 1-Four years of expertise had been normally adequate to fulfill the fundamental qualifications for all job sorts. Salaries ranged from roughly $20,000 to $140,000, yearly. A abstract of outcomes differentiated by job title are proven in Desk 1.

Desk 1: Outcomes displaying probably the most the widespread attributes of 1,000 jobs surveyed.

The technician, analyst, and supervisor positions had been similar to one another when it comes to desired years of expertise, diploma stage, diploma subject, and software program expertise, though technicians had assist roles and managers advisory roles. Programmer/developer jobs had been totally different sufficient to be thought of individually.

An analyst sometimes performs a bunch of duties associated to information administration with cartographic and geospatial information evaluation abilities for creating information units, performing information conversions, and creating/publishing maps. Nearly all of analyst job postings require proficiency with Esri software program, normal programming abilities, and database administration abilities. See Determine 1 for an in-depth take a look at particular software program ability necessities. 


Determine 1. Software program abilities required for analyst positions (Be aware: The “Basic GIS” tag refers to job postings the place the particular GIS software program program was not specified — generally, this may be some type of an Esri product. This additionally referred to situations the place solely broad GIS performance and operations had been talked about.)

A programmer/developer designs, develops, and offers upkeep  for purposes utilizing scripting and programming languages. These positions are sometimes accountable for the supply of high-quality GIS options, together with desktop, web-based, and cellular software program software improvement. A stable understanding of purposes structure and finest practices for code improvement and deployment is normally required. Accordingly, programming abilities, database abilities, and proficiency with Esri software program are probably the most commonly-requested job abilities for this place. Extra years of expertise are usually required for programmer-developer positions than different job sorts, and an emphasis on pc science replaces specialization in geography or cartography. See Figures 2-Four for a extra detailed take a look at programmer/developer necessities. 


Determine 2: Desired diploma subject for programmer/builders.


Determine three: Programmer/developer required software program abilities.

You could be pondering, “Nice, however how does a snapshot actually assist me plan forward if the trade is all the time altering?” You’d have a legitimate level. With this in thoughts, the place is the GIS trade heading? Evaluating present outcomes to earlier research carried out in years previous, developments start to emerge.

This examine represents an replace to a 2011 survey carried out at Central Washington College (Cannon and Hickey, 2011).  The 2019 survey was modeled after the 2011 survey with slight modifications to pattern dimension, job web sites thought of, and the way most well-liked software program was grouped. Cannon’s 2011 model surveyed 283 jobs and located that analyst and programmer jobs had been probably the most generally posted, and that proficiency with Esri software program, database administration, and programming had been probably the most extremely desired abilities. These outcomes observe related conclusions discovered by Hong (2016) in a 1,000-job survey between 2007 and 2014. Hong likewise discovered that analysts and programmers/builders had been probably the most commonly-posted job, and that database improvement, net and cellular software improvement, and programming had been the most typical abilities and experiences requested.

Contemplating the 2011 examine, relative frequencies of analyst and supervisor jobs have remained secure between 2011 and 2019, however proportionally extra technician jobs and fewer programmer jobs have develop into obtainable. For those who’re searching for an entry-level GIS job, that’s excellent news. Nevertheless, lots of the requested abilities and experiences for technician jobs are related in kind and performance to analyst necessities, which suggests that you could be must have extra in your resume than you may assume.

Concerning analyst positions, desired diploma fields stay related between research with levels in GIS, cartography, and pc science remaining probably the most prevalent, carefully adopted by geography. Training ranges additionally stay pretty secure, with Bachelor’s diploma coaching dominant; nevertheless, the 2019 survey recognized an elevated prevalence of certification-only coaching or no superior diploma vital positions. Expertise with Esri merchandise, programming, and databases stay probably the most commonly-desired abilities.

Programmer place necessities have shifted barely between 2011 and 2019. Desired diploma fields have remained related between research, however frequencies have shifted; GIS, cartography, and pc science are dominant, however engineering has develop into extra outstanding and geography has been deemphasized. Training necessities have shifted in direction of extra training on the next scale; bachelor’s levels have been deemphasized, whereas grasp’s and Ph.D.’s are extra fascinating. Desired years of expertise have elevated, following the identical development. Desired software program expertise stays targeted on proficiency with Esri and normal programming abilities, with slight variations in particular requested programming languages.

In conclusion, when you’re seeking to start an thrilling profession in GIS as a technician, analyst, or an eventual supervisor, focus your effort and time into changing into proficient with Esri software program (when you’re not already), study programming abilities (even when it’s simply fundamental performance), and work with database administration to develop into extra aggressive for the roles you need. In case your aim is extra programming and development-oriented, In case your aim is extra programming and development-oriented, begin studying to code in Python, Java, JavaScript, or C++. Establishing a basis in all of those fields will assist people uncover their ardour and a profitable profession trajectory.

Jobs had been compiled from twelve easily-accessible job posting web sites, together with:,,,, GIS Jobs Clearinghouse,,,,,,, and


Cannon, J. and R. Hickey (2011). GIS Job Market, Unpublished report, Division of Geography, Central Washington College.

Hong, J.E. (2016). Figuring out Talent Necessities for GIS Positions: A Content material Evaluation of Job Commercials.  Journal of Geography, 115(Four), 147-158, DOI: 10.1080/00221341.2015.1085588

Sinton, D. (2016, July). GIS Jobs of Right now: Which GIS job abilities are in highest demand? Instructions Journal. Retrieved from, accessed April 2019.

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