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What alternative careers are there for graduating architecture students with GIS experience?

I have recently invested a lot of energy into learning ArcGIS pro and am interested in a career path that would utilize this skill. I think it would be really interesting to work with communities on digitizing historic data through GIS. What options are there available for me outside of architecture? #givingiscaring #career-path #gis

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Peter’s Answer

Hi Grace,

You'd be surprised by how marketable GIS experience is on its way to being, if you're willing to add some data analysis and research skills into the mix.

I can't speak to purely mapping oriented projects and have very little experience in the public sector, but in the private sector there's a rapidly emerging market for visualizing geospatial data across a variety use cases, and applying geospatial analysis to answering business questions.

I'd be on the lookout for businesses that are likely to both have a lot of geospatial data, and have a reason to use it; I'm in telecommunications, and over the last few years we've become a great deal more aggressive about using this kind of data to understand how we can place our distribution as conveniently to our customers as possible, and where we have opportunities based on the confluence of network coverage, marketing data, demographics, and customer movement.

If you're purely interested in cartography & mapping, there may be opportunities in marketing organizations and business intelligence teams; if you're also comfortable with some statistics and coding (e.g., in python), you could look at analytics organizations as well.

Wow, thank you for such a thorough answer, Peter. You've given me a lot to think about! Grace R.

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Prasanth’s Answer

I lead a GIS Analytics team with many having college degrees specializing in GIS or GIS-related fields. You could take a GIS data scientist job for a company who is looking to leverage GIS datasets (i.e. weather data, geospatial data, insurance GIS data) and apply to solve real-world problems around the impact of location data on property and casualty insurance for underwriting and rating use cases. GIS data analysis skills are very helpful for jobs that require a strong understanding of mapping technology to integrate structured data (like policy/claims data) and integrate it with mapping technologies like Mapbox or QGIS that helps visualizes geospatial data on an application.

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Kevin’s Answer

As others have said, GIS is an incredibly marketable skill. Anytime I speak with a student interested in design or natural sciences, I encourage them to explore GIS. It has opened doors for me in almost every job I've had. Using GIS, I have worked as a transportation planner for a city government, a land use planner for energy projects at a consulting firm, and a trail planner at a nonprofit. Several internships in undergrad and graduate school certainly helped as well. Good luck!

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Chet’s Answer

Peter has given you a great overview! I have a couple of thoughts to add.
1. City planning or similar community layout and management could benefit from these degrees.
2. Similarly, other very large scale construction projects, outside of strict architecture realm (Disney World, Olympic venues, etc.)
3. Typically GIS information is applied outdoors, but there is an emergence of indoor geo-locating capability. Managing flow of people in interior spaces (retail, transportation hubs, etc.) will likely be an emerging niche, possibly combined with AI interpretation of video data.

I am sure you can think of other similar areas where these fields similarly overlap.