Along with a solid foundation in GIS related coursework, an internship is a must-have in developing strong GIS skills.
Finding a GIS Internship
Developing your real world experience using GIS is a necessity for finding a geospatial job after you’ve completed your coursework. Most entry-level GIS (jobs that usually have the title technician and specialist) positions require some previous work experience. The best way to develop your GIS work experience, build on the spatial concepts from your classes, and network, is through an internship. As an apprentice position, interns acquire hands-on knowledge of geospatial technologies under the mentorship of more experienced GIS users. Finding a GIS internship isn’t always easy and requires some strategizing and legwork by the job seeker.
The first place to start to look for an internship is through your local college resources. The geography department and urban planning department guidance counselors often receive job flyers promoting local employment which can include internships. Also check with your local college job center for leads on GIS related internships.
|• Building a Career in GIS
• GIS Job Sites
• GIS Job Descriptions
• Preparing for a GIS Job Interview
|• Internships in GIS
• Impressions of a GIS Intern
Online Job Listing Sites
The various GIS related job listing sites will occasionally post GIS internships; the internship category for GIS Lounge is here. You should also browse through the GIS listings on Internships.com for possible leads. Keep in mind that many internships may only be listed on the employer’s web sites so keep a bookmarked list of the job listings for local agencies and companies that have a GIS and regularly visit them. For example, Esri’s summer internships are available on their web site here.
Also use the social media resources of Twitted and LinkedIn. Typing in the hashtags #gis #jobs will yield a list of Tweets promoting geospatial jobs. There are job boards attached to every group in LinkedIn and there is a particular group devoted to GIS/GPS Jobs. You can also search across LinkedIn for posted jobs.
Word-of-mouth is a great way to find internships. Attend local GIS User group meetings, conferences, and workshops where you can meet GIS professionals and potentially find out about available opportunities. Contact GIS professionals in your local area and ask them if they know of any leads. Use social media (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) to help you to find geospatial internships.
Create Your Own Internship
If you’ve exhausted all of your options out there without success, consider creating your own internship. When I was looking for an internship, I ended up volunteering my time with the local National Park Service office. Check with the local government agencies that have a GIS and offer to volunteer in exchange for work experience.
GIS Internship Resources
Find information about interning both on a general level and within the field of GIS.
Flagship project created by Shoreh Elhami to team GIS professionals with volunteer opportunities worldwide.
Impressions of an Intern
Essay written by Anthony Calderon, a former GIS student at the California State University, Northridge. Anthony discusses what he considers important about internships in GIS.
Summer Internship Program at ESRI
An internship at ESRI is an excellent way to be exposed to the geographic information systems field and to prospective employers.
More GIS Career Resources:
- GIS Job Listing Sites – online sites that specifically post GIS jobs.
- Building a Career in GIS – overview on developing a geospatial career.
- GIS Career Resources – listing of additional resources.