Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Six Things You Should be Doing to Enhance Your GIS Career

Yesterday I read an excellent article from GIS Lounge on six ways to further your career in GIS. Although the article names GIS specifically I’m going to assume a lot of this will apply to other areas of GeoSpatial and indeed most industries with a technical focus. Anyway what I quickly noticed is that the AGI can help its members fulfil each of their six recommendations!

1. Continue a Habit of Lifelong Education

This point is pretty self explanatory and fits perfectly with the AGI CPD (Continuing Professional Development) scheme. The CPD scheme is a benefit where members are encouraged to and get recognised for things like attending training courses, conferences and producing exceptional work. This is an excellent way to stand out from your peers and show interest and expertise in your chosen field.

2. Consider Certification

This is the logical extension of the first recommendation and serves a similar purpose. Certification is concrete proof that you are continuing your education and working to become an expert in your field. A great certification to have for a GIS professional is CGeog (GIS) which is offered by RGS through the AGI. In fact the AGI CPD scheme can be used to count towards your final CGeog status.

3. Interact with your peers

Hopefully this goes without saying and you don’t just sit at your desk glaring suspiciously at co workers. However it is important to interact with your peers at different companies and indeed slightly different industries. This is particularly true if you are your company’s only ‘GIS person’ and are somewhat isolated from other professionals in your area. The AGI provides a huge range of opportunities to interact with your peers from attending events and conferences to more low key evening seminars and networking events. All of these are a chance to keep up with the latest developments in the industry and share your thoughts (or be reassured that everyone else is encountering the same problem).

4. Share

That leads me nicely on to the next point, if you’ve done something interesting and innovative or you have a new take on an idea or a piece of technology show it off! It’s all well and good doing great work but doing great work and then presenting it to an audience of peers (and possibly potential customers/employers) is even better. The solution here is simple, don’t just attend an event, submit a talk or a paper to this year’s event series (submissions opening soon). You might even win the best paper awards which probably doubles up as certification as well.

5. Play in the Sandbox

Sadly this isn’t sandcastle building (something at which I am quite skilled) but an encouragement to learn technologies, platforms and techniques other than those involved in the day job. The Special Interest Groups and the afternoon and evening seminars and workshops they run are particularly relevant to this (the Tech SIG are running just such an event on the 3rd Feb).

6. Pay it Forward

A slightly more opaque heading but essentially volunteer your skills. Volunteering obviously has all the altruistic benefits and can also help to boost your CV. Volunteering with the AGI has the additional advantage that you will be developing skills beyond technical GIS expertise. AGI council and SIG members are involved in running events, helping with project management and producing papers among other things. All of which can serve to broaden your experience and give you a chance to do things that you wouldn’t necessarily experience in your day job.

Of course you can always volunteer with our supported charity Map Action as well!

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