GIS Certificate: Motivations

Part
01
of two
Part
01

GIS Certificate: Motivations

The 5 major reasons that push high school students in the U.S. and Canada to add a certificate to their undergraduate program include an application qualification, skills, job prospects, employer confidence, and application in numerous industries.

Major reasons that push high school students in the U.S. and Canada to add a certificate to their undergraduate program:

1. Application Qualification:

2. Skills:

  • With GIS certificate, students acquire various skills such as “mapping and geospatial analysis, creating, mapping, and analyzing geographic information, and computational and information analysis skills”.
  • GIS certificate enables candidates to understand the geographic principles behind the analyses they conduct.

3. Job Prospects:

  • GIS certificates prepare students for a variety of careers in the growing job market.
  • Some jobs that are available after GIS certificate program include: “database administrator, data technician, geospatial analyst, cartographer, GIS educator, software designer, and project manager”.

4. Employer Confidence:

5. Application in Numerous Industries:

  • GIS and related geospatial techniques are growing and are being increasingly applied to numerous sectors in society.
  • The top 6 industries for GIS include supply chain management, insurance, forestry and timber, urban planning, banking, and health and human services.

Research Strategies:

We started the search by directly searching for the major reasons that push high school students in the U.S. and Canada to add a certificate to their undergraduate program. The idea here was to find the benefits offered by GIS certification to students from Gen Z demographics who would currently be undergoing an undergraduate program in the U.S. and Canada.
We came across numerous universities that offer GIS certificate including, but not limited to, the University of Missouri, Ohio University, the University of Illinois and the University of Southern California. Through the advantages/benefits mentioned for each of the above mentioned GIS certificates, we were able to devise the motivators for high school students in the U.S. and Canada to add a certificate or a minor to their undergraduate program. The assumption here was that these advantage/benefits motivate students to opt for a GIS certificate.
Further, we came across a study published on T and F Online that includes results of an online survey that finds the motivators for students choosing the GIS certification program.
In addition, we also searched through various forums and blogs related to GIS, including but not limited to Go Geomatics and GIS Geography which provided additional advantages and benefits of a GIS certificate. Again, the assumption here was that these advantage/benefits motivate students to opt for GIS certificate.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

GIS Certificate: Deterrents

Some significant reasons that prevent high school students in the United States and Canada from adding a certificate to their undergraduate program include a lack of recognition from employers and the program’s inconsistency in standards and training.

Major reasons that prevent high school students in the US and Canada from adding a certificate to their undergraduate program

1. Issues with the GIS certification

  • Some GIS-certified professionals have indicated dissatisfaction toward its dearth of standards and visibility that have facilitated much less competent individuals to receive certification.
  • Moreover, GIS-certified professionals have claimed that GIS certification leads to less respect in comparison to alternative programs for subjects like planning and engineering.

2. GIS certificate not recognized by employers

3. Variety of GIS technologies

4. GIS field is too broad

5. GIS certificate is not equivalent to professional experience

6. GIS certificate not included in the official transcript

  • In some cases of GIS certification, such as the one offered by the University of Illinois, the GIS certificate does not appear on the student’s official transcript.

Research Strategy:

We began our research by directly searching for the principal reasons that prevent high school students in the United States and Canada from adding a certificate to their undergraduate program. The idea was to identify the deterrents/disadvantages/restraints of a GIS certification to Gen Z students, who would be currently undertaking undergraduate programs in the two nations.

We came across numerous universities that offer a GIS certificate such as the University of Illinois, which mentioned that its GIS certificate would not appear on their official transcript. Since this is a restraint for students, we were able to determine that it discourages high school students in the United States and Canada from adding a certificate or a minor to their undergraduate program. We assumed that this disadvantage acts as a restraint for students from opting for a GIS certificate.

Additionally, we found a study on Research Gate (Source 1) that included results from an online survey to locate negative feedback, complaints, and other grievances of GIS professionals towards the GIS certificate. We assumed that such negative feedback, complaints, and grievances deter students from choosing a GIS certificate.

Also, we searched through various forums and blogs related to GIS, including GIS Geography, Go Geomatics, and GISCI that provided additional disadvantages/restraints of GIS certificates. Again, we assumed that these barriers deter students from opting for a GIS certificate.

Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and related geospatial techniques are fast-growing and increasingly applied to almost all sectors of our society. Examples include environmental mapping, urban planning, and public resource management. "
  • "This Missouri State-approved, transcripted undergraduate certificate program offers GIS-related multidisciplinary courses through several academic programs of the College of Arts & Sciences, such as Geosciences, Urban Planning and Design, Sociology, Economics, and Criminal Justice and Criminology."
  • "The curriculum is designed to prepare students for a variety of careers in the rapidly growing job market."
Quotes
  • "Acquiring such skills requires formal training in many topics related to the interdisciplinary field of Geographic Information Science (GIScience). The Certificate in GIScience is designed for students to complement their major with knowledge of mapping and geospatial technologies."
  • "Theoretical foundations of mapping and geospatial analysis Use of geospatial technologies for creating, mapping, and analyzing geographic information General computational and information analysis skills."
  • "Depending on skill level, career tracks include, but are not limited to the following: data technician, database administrator, cartographer, geospatial analyst, software designer, GIS educator, and project manager."
Quotes
  • "Geographic Information Science, or GIS, has become a vital part of fields as diverse as health care, real estate, ecology, and earth sciences."
  • "A certificate in GIS offers you the opportunity not only to gain specific skills transferable to many different kinds of employment, but to understand the geographic principles behind the analyses you're conducting. "
Quotes
  • "SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT"
  • "INSURANCE"
  • "FORESTRY AND TIMBER"
  • "URBAN PLANNING"
  • "BANKING"
  • "HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES"
Quotes
  • "After more than 25 years, the GIS community remains divided over the need to formally recognize GIS professionals who maintain standards of professional competency and conduct."
  • "This study explores GIS certification through a survey of 1731 geospatial professionals who became geographic information systems professionals (GISPs) between 2003 and 2014."
  • "While a large number of respondents conveyed pride in completing the certification process"
Quotes
  • "Application Qualification Employers who have hundreds of applicants from which to create a shortlist may end up using a GIS certification as a way to rank one applicant higher than another. Having a certification may allow you to stand out against the competition."
  • "Employer Confidence As GIS is a relatively young field, many employers are cautious about whom to trust as a reliable GIS professional. Reputation and a robust portfolio can help ease these concerns, but are not as available to younger job-seekers. This is where being a certified GIS professional can give you a great deal of support."
Quotes
  • "For example, it can help you differentiate yourself when applying for a crowded GIS position. "
  • "Not to mention, the extra credentials may push you one spot ahead of other candidates."
  • "GIS certifications helps you become an expert in your field and gives you confidence. "
  • "Lastly, you get the necessary experience and knowledge to climb the GIS career ladder in your job."
From Part 02
Quotes
  • "Quantitative and qualitative findings suggest that perceptions about certification fall along a wide spectrum with GISPs employed in private industry seeing fewer benefits compared with those employed in government or not-for-profit organizations."
  • "While a large number of respondents conveyed pride in completing the certification process, others expressed frustration over the program’s lack of visibility, standards that have enabled less qualified peers to become certified, and the slow progress at which GIS certification has achieved respect compared with programs administered in other fields such as engineering and planning."
Quotes
  • "Nowadays, it’s rare to see any type of GIS certification as a requirement in a job description. "
  • "In the case of GIS, many employers are less familiar with the GISP and Esri Technical certificates."
  • "If the company uses another GIS software, that means your time, money and effort for Esri certification was wasted."
Quotes
  • "GIS field is too broad GIS involves elements from so many preceding disciplines that it is difficult to accurately evaluate the competency of a GIS professional. "
  • "Our field consists of professionals who have selected from a broad range of education and training options; some of these options may not even include a formal GIS program (a prerequisite for GIS certification)."
  • "Ever-changing Technology This problem goes hand-in-hand with the professional diversity in our discipline. The technology we use for GIS projects (merely in general) is constantly changing and expanding."
  • "As GIS is a discipline that will be changing with these technologies, it will be hard to have a consistent standard against which to certify professionals."
  • "I have never seen a job that required a GIS certification. So they are not sought after as an indicator of competency or merit. If they were, everyone would get one."
Quotes
  • "While formal educational experiences may not contribute as much as experience to a GIS professional’s qualifications, they certainly do have the potential to be valuable means of acquiring the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that individuals need to be successful in any profession."
Quotes
  • "Students completing the required courses will be presented with an official certificate document. "
  • "While this certificate will not appear on your transcript, you will be able to use this credential on a resume or application for advanced study. "