Navigating Employment Prospects for New Graduates in the Geospatial Sciences
The ubiquity of geospatial science instruction has meant that basic geospatial knowledge is widespread. However, this is now no longer enough, relative to a decade or more ago, for students to attain related employment upon graduation. Even the best students are currently struggling to find appropriate work, and many are either deferring entering the job market by extending their education through to graduate degrees or attending technical finishing programs at colleges in order to gain deeper experience with advanced technical software use. Independent of the specific student strategy adopted, soft skills, networking, and school-based work experiences are complementary and equally important aspects of the process of transitioning from postsecondary education into a career. This chapter places into context the student decision of whether or not to extend study, as well as the institutional quandary of how best to position students for the transition to work. As such, the authors focus on hard and soft skills that are necessary to thrive within the current geospatial technology field. The discussion borrows from geospatial technology competency models as well as workplace surveys. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how the elements of the post-education employment puzzle can be pieced together.
KeywordsGeospatial sciences Geography careers Soft and hard skills Career path Professional geographer
The authors are grateful to colleagues who shared their personal job search stories and advice. We also acknowledge the assistance of Ms. Katie Morehead of URISA, who provided access to the salary surveys, and Ms. Lisa Lin of Career Planning Service at McGill University for suggesting Canadian Government resources.
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