Esri Technical Certification and Prep Courses

August 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Career, Education

The Esri Technical Certification is beginning to really take off.  Several areas have finished development and are now available.  If you are not familiar with the certification, it is similar to the Microsoft Certifications.

You can find a great overview of the certification and its benefits by watching this training seminar.  You can also check out each area below:


ArcGIS Desktop



ArcGIS Desktop Developer


Web Application Developer


Mobile Developer


Enterprise Administration
Enterprise Geodatabase Management


Enterprise System Design


If you are a bit leery about taking the exam, Esri provides a refresher course to prepare for the exam.  These courses do not teach specifically to the exam, but they cover keys areas.  The courses are instructor-led for in-person or on-line.

Esri Certification Exam Prep Courses

Also find a great inside scoop from the writer of the prep course in Training Spotlight: ArcGIS Desktop Professional Certification.

Being Career Smart in the Layoff World

April 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Career

I recently came across this blog post on How to find a GIS job in tough economic times.  This post has really got me thinking about how difficult  job hunting is in our current economic situation.  Even if we currently have a job, we are keeping our eyes peeled for opportunities just in case a layoff happens.  So what tips can we apply to our career that will help us hurdle over these tough times?

Social Networking

This has got to be one of the most important career moves that can be made.  Networking will allow you to interact with others who are like minded and even if they seem to not have any value now, you will find you might be coming back to them later.  The main topic doesn’t need to be job related, but find a connection through your industry or even just some special interest you may have.  Having a constant connection will other will be very beneficial if you find a need for a career change.  Here are a few good social networking site, you may find others that are more specific to your industry.

  • Twitter – A micro-blog that allows to you share what you are doing while being updated with what your friends are doing.  A lot of companies have their own Twitter account and are looking for future employees.
  • Facebook – A social network that allows you to have friends, be part of smaller networks, add pictures, send messages, etc.  It has a main component similar to Twitter which you can tell other what you are doing.
  • LinkedIn – A social network that is more career focused.  The profile area is more like a resume with experience, education, associations, awards, etc.  This network is a little more strict with how you can connect with others.  You must verify how you are connected (ex.: coworker, friend, group member, etc.).  LinkedIn also allows you to look at those who are connected to your connections and you can request that your friends introduce you to their friends.


Forums are a great place to interact with others.  If you have questions, there are a number of users who are ready and willing to provide an answer.  Maybe you have the experience to contribute, then this is a great way to build a positive reputation with your peers.  Here a few good ones for those interested in GIS:

Career Profiles

Most large companies have a career area where you can create an account.  If you have some ideas of where you might want to work then I would suggest that you create a career account with that company.  Creating such an account will allow you to keep up with available jobs and maybe have to opportunity to be paired with one that fit your liking.  If you currently have a job then you are under no obligation to have an interview.  This just create a was for their Human Resources department to see you has a possible candidate for open positions.  Keeping the irons in the fire will make things easier when times get tough.  ESRI has a great career website where you can set up a Career Account and also check out the ESRI career blog.

Stay Up on Technology

Technology is ever changing.  A great way to stay up on technology is through various blogs and podcasts.  There are also some good magazines also published that will keep you up to date.  Here are a few of my favorite sources:

Go Back to College

Going back to college is a great way to help advance your career.  There are a lot of colleges that provide education along the geospatial technology area.  I have compiled an excellent list of these colleges.  Adding a certificate or even a full degree to your resume will sure help boost you marketability.  Continuing your education is a positive factor that will show an employer that you are serious about your career.


Adding a certification can also be a help to your career.  Although there is debate about the quality of the ones available, I personally don’t think it will hurt you.  Some of the main ones along the geospatial technology area are GISP, ASPRS, and STARS.   Most people already meet the qualifications for certification and there is only a few minor steps to obtaining a certification.

Although focusing on just one of these areas will sure enhance your career, a combination of all of them will begin opening doors beyond your expectation.  I have seen these work for myself and also with others, so I know it can work for you.  Do something positive for your career today, it is never to late to start!

ASPRS Certification Program

March 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Career

The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing has a certification program in place that could provide ample support to boost your career forward.  As of current, there are just a few certifications available for the GIS industry.  The ASPRS, one of the longest standing programs, was started in 1975 with the Certified Photogrammetrist category and added two additional categories in 1991.  In 1998, the program began requiring an examination to be taken in order receive one of the certifications.  The ASPRS Board of Directors approved a Provisional Certification Program in 2006 to allow students certification eligibility since most do not meet the experience requirements of the program.

Here are the certification categories that ASPRS offers:

1. Certified Photogrammetrist
2. Certified Mapping Scientist, GIS/LIS
3. Certified Mapping Scientist, Remote Sensing
4. Certified Photogrammetric Technologist
5. Certified GIS/LIS Technologist
6. Certified Remote Sensing Technologist

Note that there are provisional certifications in all the above categories for graduating seniors in geospatial sciences.  This is an advantage that educators should publicize to their student.  Having even a provisional certification can give newly graduating students a boost to their career.

Application Process:

  • Complete application
  • Provide four references
  • Have successful peer review
  • Pass an exam in the chosen category

Here is a summary of the process for the professional certification [the first three categories] [it’s similar for the Technologists as highlighted below]

The rules for certification are: six years total experience are required of which three are professional in nature. Application forms are filed with four references and are sent to a peer review group for evaluation.Those who pass peer review are eligible to take the four-hour multiple choice examination which is given, as needed, in a location in the US relatively close to where examinee lives. When required, overseas exams are arranged on a case-by-case basis. The Examination consists of questions a professional should be able to answer in areas such as earth sciences, surveying, physics, imaging systems, photogrammetry and GIS. There is no primer as with the Professional Engineer or Land Surveyor examination. Those not passing are allowed to retake the exam within six months of notification at no additional cost.

The application fee is $275 for ASPRS members and $400 for non-members.

Membership information is available at:

The Certification and Recertification Guidelines:

Application for Certified Photogrammetrist or Mapping Scientist:

Reference form:

Exam questions matrices by category:

In preparing for the certification exam, workshops are usually offered  to help the applicants.  These workshops usually take place during the ASPRS Annual conference.  Check the website for more details.  The workshops are described as follows:

The purpose of this workshop is to prepare individuals who are planning to sit for the ASPRS Certification exams. The workshop will begin by explaining the purpose and form of the exam. It will then identify key topical areas which an applicant should be aware of prior to taking the exam. The instructor will review the basic concepts and sample questions to show how these topics will be tested for on the exam. Finally, the workshop will identify resources which exam takers should be aware of and study from in their preparation for the examination.

Workshop Topics Include:

  • Purpose of the exam
  • Photogrammetry
  • Remote Sensing
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Other topical areas of importance in preparation for the exam

Here are some suggested texts for examination review:

As noted in the list of available categories, there is a certification program for Photogrammetric Technologists, Remote Sensing Technologists, and GIS/LIS Technologists.   These technologists areas only require three years of experience instead of six.  Check the Guidelines for additional details.

If you would like more information, please visit or request additional information from

Thanks to Jesse Winch, Program Manager with ASPRS, for this valuable information.

Informing Students about GISP Certification

January 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Career, Education

I wrote a paper for an English class during my first year in the Geospatial Technology Program at Central Piedmont Community College.  The paper was to be focused on a program enhancement proposal.  Although this only went only as far as my English professor, I believe that there are some really important things to point out.

There are several community colleges that focus on the applied uses of the Geographic Information System. Programs properly educates students in order to place then into GIS positions. Outside of GIS degrees and certificates that colleges provide, the GIS Certification Institute offers a professional certification in GIS. Standards and requirements are outlined by the GISCI to give adequate recognition to those who comply with the requirements.

Although many colleges provides quality degree and certificate programs, there is a need to inform student about the GIS professional certification. Many GIS students have never heard of a certified GIS professional. They are being taught the fundamentals of the industry but not how to develop a GIS career. Through developing a career, students will learn the importance of continuing education and networking beyond just acquiring a job.

Informing students about the certified GIS professional is essential when they begin college. With the aspects of career planning, the introduction of this certification will inspire student to think long-term. In addition, goals are instilled in the thought process of the students. Students will be able to see past graduation and build objectives that they will desire to fulfill. Furthermore, the ethics of the GIS industry will be presented to the student. Preparing students for a job is one thing, but preparing students who will do what is right within a job is another.

As the GIS industry grows, students must be informed about the areas important to a GIS career. Students must have set goals, networking abilities, and ethical training. Teaching students early about the GIS Professional Certification will help to produce quality GIS graduates.

Download the discussed research paper….Proposal to Inform Students About GIS Certification

Note: The above paper was never submitted to Central Piedmont Community College; however, I feel that it presents a good example of most GIS Colleges.

Want to know when you should start on your GISP? Read GISP Certification – Start Now!

GISP Certification – Start Now!

November 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Career

My employer was the first to tell me about GIS Professional Certification provided through the GIS Certification Institute.  Since I was new to the GIS industry, I knew nothing about GISP; but the information that he provided challenged me to learn more about what it could do for me and how I could earn it.  I went to the GISCI website to learn what the certification was, who recognized it, and how I could earn this title.

Through the things that I learned, I was eager to get started gathering the necessary documentation required.  Although I had only been in the GIS industry for a few months, I was already thinking about placing “GISP” after my name.

I found that I would need a minimum of 4 years of GIS work experience in addition to education and professional contribution requirements.  It seemed like a far way off, but I wanted to be prepared for when I had met all the requirements.  I went to the GISCI website and printed off the application.  I placed this application in a folder and began recording every aspect of my new GIS career.

As I took classes from the ESRI Training website and at the local college, I documented each class to help build my application portfolio.  I also knew what was required for documentation as I went to local and region conferences.  I found that if I participated in the conferences and events (map poster, topic presentation, committee or board), I could earn additional points towards my certification.  I also began keeping a yearly job description along with the tasks that I performed so that I knew how to accurately document my experience points.  In addition to the portfolio, I also created a simple excel spreadsheet to calculate all of my points so I would know my point status.  With these elements, I can easily see which areas are lacking the minimum requirements and also keep myself encouraged that I am closer now than when I first started.

Although I am still working on my GISP Certification, I would recommend the following:

  • Start Preparing Now (It is easier to start sooner than later.)
  • Keep a GIS Portfolio (That conference registration letter will disappear.)
  • Understand the Application (You will find points that you may not of thought were beneficial.)
  • Find a Mentor (There is a mentor program through the GISCI.)
  • Keep Your Focus and Do Not Give Up (You Will Eventually Reach Your Goal.)

Whether you are just taking your first GIS college course or if you have been in the industry for a while now is the time to begin preparing for your GIS Professional Certification.  This recognition will be very valuable in both the early and later years of your career.  Start Today!