The State of GIS Jobs in 2022

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Andres Abeyta, Director of Bootcamp GIS, reports about the state of GIS jobs as he looks at what skills and experiences job seekers need.

We live in the digital age where we do our online research, then we choose our path.  We do this in everything we do, like choosing a vacation, selecting a college, or pursuing a career.  

If you are thinking of entering the GIS field or progressing further with your career in GIS, then this report is sure to help.  There are currently 21,645 jobs available on Indeed.com that are asking for GIS skills. A summary of GIS salaries shows that the average is $72,995/yr but earnings rapidly increase with developer and administrator skills.  

There are 5 key reasons this industry will continue to grow and offer opportunity to anyone that wants to learn GIS as a technical upskill to their discipline studies (e.g., environmental, biology, planning).  If you need encouragement, there are lots of welcoming people in our industry.  Or book a time with us and we’d be happy to talk.

Screenshot from a video with a man looking at the screen and the text "How do I get these GIS jobs" written in blue against a yellow background.

Video: The best GIS Certificate to get you a job

GIS positions and roles

As we read through hundreds of these job announcements, it was evident that there were jobs in many industries that were requesting GIS skills such as: healthcare statistician, forester, real estate specialist.  This skill could be layered into the job requirements just like the need to know CRMs, databases, or graphic design.  

But let’s focus on the key geospatial roles that are typically found in GIS departments and are the center of data management, analysis, and visualization. We see job offerings all across the board. And the high numbers of GIS analysts/specialists are what we would predict as they do the majority of the data prep and analysis.

Their responsibilities are growing as a lot more customized web development is needed as geographic applications become the ultimate access point to the data for larger audiences. The main area of surprise is GIS in support of marketing and sales. These could very well be GIS analysts that are asked to work with their marketing teams to produce GIS products that can be very compelling graphics to win business.

RoleNumber of Jobs
GIS Sales/Marketing1,494
GIS Coordinator/Manager178
GIS Administrator/Architect53
GIS Programmer29
GIS Developer/Engineer105
GIS Analyst/Specialist772
GIS Technician291

GIS experience: requisite levels

Everyone is somewhere on the spectrum of professional experience. If you are new to GIS, consider that the entire tech sector is full of upward mobility. This is because your efforts to add current technology to your portfolio can trump someone who learned the technology 10 years ago and might be outdated.

Before choosing your learning route, look at the ROI seen in Masters in GIS or with getting a GIS Certificate. Some of the best GIS architects we know did not have geography degrees, but they had a desire to learn and jump into projects.

In the upper experience levels, we see requests to know web GIS, system integration, and agile management skills. Everyone is on the hook to learn more. Here is a breakdown of how many jobs fell within various experience levels.

Screenshot showing a faded laptop in the background with an hourglass with blue sand and a pie chart with blue sections. Text says "requisite experiences for GIS jobs".
Background image: © Brian Jackson / stock.adobe.com

GIS software most seen in job announcements

Universities typically don’t like to be known as trade schools.  Especially in tech where the tools change all the time. Even large government organizations count on its staff to figure out their own training needs.  In both cases it becomes the responsibility of the enduser to stay on top of what is current and pursue the know-how.  

Here are the most commonly requested software packages related to geospatial roles. Of note is the nearly equal AutoCAD and ArcGIS numbers. Both have different needs, dominant followings, and intersect in many projects. Whichever world you play in, it is a marketable advantage to say you have experience in converting data back and forth from CAD to GIS.

SoftwareNumber of Jobs
AutoCAD3,980
ArcGIS3,710
FME202
Google Earth Pro63
Google Maps API37
Mapbox87
MapInfo113
QGIS420
Sketchup304
Timble GPS238

Geospatial technologies most in demand

One of the reasons GIS has grown in scope and number of jobs is its integration and blend with other technologies.  The person that can architect the ‘map system’ rather than just the map is extremely valuable. This definitely means you need to double time your DIY learning in 2 or more areas like you can see in the need for cloud/GIS skills.  This blend of GIS with IT might require to look at a GISc Certification program.

However, the biggest surprise is the huge number of jobs asking for Data Science skills. This goes along with the large number of Python requests, since this scripting language is used to write routines and models to automate the extraction of data trends.

Those of you that have portfolios blending GIS/Cloud or GIS/Data Science will likely be rewarded with higher salaries.

Skils/ExperienceNumber of Jobs
Accenture24
AWS603
BIM291
Data Science4,857
Google Cloud91
HTML649
Image Processing/Remote Sensing892
Land Survey1,474
LiDAR324
Modeling2,956
Photogrammetry332
Python2,388
UAV/UAS/Drone388

GIS jobs near me: distribution by state

Who is hiring and where are the jobs?  GIS is used across the board in most municipal, engineering, environmental, planning organizations.  We see opportunities for both employment or consulting jobs with these organizations.  

Urban centers produce the most jobs with lots of building and environmental requirements.  Rich Serby, Geospatial Recruiter at Geosearch, talks about the increase in job opportunities with some form of the US Build Back Better funding due to be released at the end of 2022. But beyond this, you can find government field offices such as BLM, USFWS, USFS, or NOAA in small towns that all use GIS.

The states with the most jobs are predictable with high populations. But also in the top tier of states are Colorado, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Each has large land management responsibilities and military operations.

A hexagon map showing the number of GIS jobs by state. Darker blue means more jobs.  Light green/yellow means less jobs.

Table: Number of GIS jobs by state

StateNumber of GIS Jobs
Alabama215
Alaska143
Arizona468
Arkansas132
California2,378
Colorado703
Connecticut169
Delaware51
Florida1,414
Georgia583
Hawaii94
Idaho147
Illinois621
Indiana356
Iowa146
Iowa146
Kansas219
Kentucky153
Louisiana182
Maine114
Maryland648
Massachusetts617
Michigan434
Minnesota456
Mississippi65
Missouri480
Montana107
Nebraska141
Nevada136
New Hampshire98
New Jersey338
New Mexico187
New York798
North Carolina962
North Dakota99
Ohio590
Oklahoma163
Oregon355
Pennsylvania783
Rhode Island63
South Carolina 223
South Dakota65
Tennessee296
Texas1,847
Utah174
Vermont26
Virginia1,747
Washington688
Wisconsin361
West Virginia84
Wyoming100

Remote GIS jobs

So you want to be paid to work remotely.  Are you crazy?  Oh wait.  It’s a growing thing now all across tech.  Of course, the pandemic proved that IT consulting companies remained productive while staff was distributed.  It’s made hiring managers scratch their heads and say that this could be just as good for the company as the employee.  

We can now hire people without the risk of moving them from their family, their accustomed cost of living, and without paying for extra office infrastructure.  

There has been a 33% increase in remote GIS jobs and this number will continue to grow. With leaner tech business models, companies will be able to broaden their talent pool with lower turnover when they hire people who are comfortable with a work/life balance.

Conclusion: GIS skills are marketable

So there are your GIS job insights.  This info can arm you at making yourself more marketable by learning the right technical and analytical skills. If GIS is a new area to you, there are now many ways to learn GIS.  And if you want to look at efficient alternatives to getting a Masters degree, you can see this list of Top 10 GIS Certificate programs rated according to industry needs.  

Ultimately this is the purpose of this report: to make sure that students and professionals direct their career where the rubber meets the road with industry needs.

About the Author

Andres Abeyta is the Director of Bootcamp GIS.

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