Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist Salary
Job Description for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist
Geographic information systems (GIS) is a term used to describe the collection and collation of various types of data in order to visually represent that data, most often in the form of charts or maps. These systems are used by a vast array of organizations for an even larger number of applications. GIS specialists are in charge of the construction of display material from GIS data, as well as the maintenance, development, and implementation of the hardware, software, and databases needed to accomplish specific tasks.Read More...
The specific requirements of the job depend on the nature of the organization and the tasks required of the GIS specialist. Depending on the size of the organization and the scope of the needed projects, GIS specialists may either work alone or as a part of a GIS team. These individuals should possess good interpersonal skills, a cooperative nature, the ability to work on deadlines, a solid set of general computer skills, and abstract thinking ability. Attention to detail is very important in this position. The GIS specialist typically works in an indoor office environment during regular business hours.
To become a GIS specialist, most employers require either an associate's or bachelor's degree in geomatics, environmental science, geography, or a related field; a master's degree may be preferred. In addition, there are certification programs available from the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) and the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). Between four and seven years of experience with computer mapping is also a common prerequisite.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist Tasks
- Design, develop, and implement systems and databases for storing and accessing geospatial data.
- Standardize and define metadata for geographic data, and track need for data format conversion.
- Research and test new data sources, software, and organizational tools.
- Create and implement standards for quality of geographic data.
Common Career Paths for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist
Geographic Information Systems Specialists who go on to become Geographic Information Systems Project Managers may see their salaries climb quite a bit. Median pay for Geographic Information Systems Project Managers is $68K annually. As Geographic Information Systems Specialists progress in their field, many go on to become Geographic Information Systems Analysts. In fact, this transition is more common than anything else, and median pay for the role is $48K. Another common career choice for Geographic Information Systems Specialists is to move into a Senior Geographic Information Systems Specialist role — this promotion usually pays $61K.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist Job Listings
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Popular Skills for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist
Survey results suggest that Geographic Information Systems Specialists use a fairly large toolkit of professional skills. Most notably, skills in Python, ArcGIS, Data Analysis, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that pay less than market rate include Cartography and Global Positioning Systems. It is often found that people who know Data Analysis are also skilled in Data Management.
Pay by Experience Level for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Geographic Information Systems Specialists — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $46K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $53K on average — a distinctly larger sum. Geographic Information Systems Specialists with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $59K. Ultimately, more time spent in the workforce does seem to translate to bigger paychecks; seasoned veterans with more than 20 years of experience report a median income of $67K.
Pay Difference by Location
For those looking to make money, Geographic Information Systems Specialists in Phoenix enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 36 percent above the national average. Geographic Information Systems Specialists will also find cushy salaries in Washington (+27 percent), New York (+12 percent), Madison (+3 percent), and Boston (+3 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Portland, 19 percent below the national average. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Richmond (17 percent lower) and Dover (16 percent lower).