UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
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Environmental Conservation Major with GIS/ Biology Minor
Current Position: GIS Consultant at ERM
How did you get there?: After graduating from UWRF I was hired as a field biologist for a small environmental consulting company in St. Paul. After working for the company for the summer I realized that I had more GIS experience than anyone else in the company. I discussed how the company was using GIS and how we could better employ the technology. After discussions with my employer I became the GIS guy. I spent 5 years at that company (4 years as the GIS manager....with only a minor). I received my Masters in GIS while working and then took a position at my current employer, ERM, which is a large company with lots of GIS resources and staff.
Advice for graduating Geography/GIS students: Start to learn a little bit of Python and SQL...a little can go a long way. I had no experience with computer science or programming while working on my undergrad. After taking an online course in Python I realized how much more GIS had to offer in automating tasks and batch processing using a little bit of Python. In addition, build a portfolio, even if it is small. It will show future employers your drive and motivation for creating maps as well as your ability to use the software to convey a message.
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