When I was assigned the topic of “a hot emerging employment opportunity in your field”, in my field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), I thought, “well, it’s all hot!” Why is that? It is because GIS is both a science and a set of tools. It is comprised of a database that is linked to a map, and that “geo-database” enables people to make smart decisions about the “whys of where”.
Because so many careers in the environmental issues are focused on the “where”–whether it is water quality in a specific watershed, invasive species in a region, land use in a country, or climatic patterns around the world, decision makers and researchers need a set of tools that allow them to model spatial patterns at multiple scales.
They won’t be doing that with paper maps these days, but rather, with a GIS. Furthermore, because environmental issues are complex, powerful tools are needed that can handle multiple layers and inputs. GIS allows people to do just that. Finally, because many environmental issues require scenarios to be modeled and tested, GIS is valued because it was created to be a tool that can foster decision-making.
As the years pass, and environmental issues become more of concern, and more complex, GIS becomes more and more valued. And as it becomes more valued, it becomes more in demand by employers filling vacancies. In 2004, the US Department of Labor identified 3 “hot fields” for the 21st Century: Biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, and geotechnologies. GIS is firmly anchored in the geotechnologies.
Dip a toe into the GIS waters! One way to do it is to go to ArcGIS Online and create, save, and share some maps today! Or come for one of our half day free GIS sessions!