Do you enjoy working with maps and other geographic data? One tech job area likely to offer an increasing number of jobs to qualified applicants over the next five years is Geographic Information systems.
Geographic information systems (GIS) used by the utilities industry alone will essentially double from 2011 to 2017, growing from $1.8 billion in 2011 to $3.7 billion in 2017, according to Pike Research.
Adoption of smart grids is driving the use of GIS technologies by electric utilities.
Land-based and street-level data, ownership/real estate, vegetation, network topology, GPS location data, census data, and many other forms of geospatial information are critical to the successful performance of the smart grid.
Governments rely on GIS
Federal, state and local governments are also major GIS users.
“Geography is a common denominator in everything the federal government supports,” says Christopher Thomas, director, government markets – federal, state, local at GIS software seller Esri. “Government agencies rely on GIS analysis to facilitate initiatives, improve transparency and deliver strong business models.”
Overall, The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the job outlook (2010-2020) for geographers is growing by 35 percent (much faster than average).
For Cartographers and photogrammetrists, the outlook is 22 percent growth (faster than average). For surveying and mapping technicians, the outlook is 16 percent and all of these occupations are expected to grow by 14 percent.
“2012 is the year of GIS,” says Dr. Stephen McElroy, GIS program chair at American Sentinel University, “The desire to know where everything is located fuels the current trend in location-based services.”
He adds, “As GIS is more accessible and consumable on the Web through a variety of mobile devices, the average person is becoming increasingly impacted by the power of GIS. Soon it will become a pervasive technology that is consumed by a wider audience than ever before.”
According to Dr. McElroy, some K-12 schools are undertaking initiatives to incorporate geospatial competencies across the curriculum by adding geospatial exercises and experiences into the standard curriculum.
K-12 schools in North Carolina, for instance, signed a statewide license for unlimited classroom use of Esri’s ArcGIS software.
Utilities will need people who understand GIS
McElroy notes that, “Public and private utility providers will need a comprehensive GIS that they can utilize to make key decisions about system-critical issues such as customer database management, streamlined meter reading and blending of renewable (solar, wind, hydro and geothermal) and non-renewable energy resources from coal and nuclear facilities.”
“These industries are looking for people who understand GIS technology,” he says.
American Sentinel University offers accredited online BS degrees.
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