I love keeping in touch with former ADGIS students and hearing about what they are doing with GIS; I ask them about their greatest successes and learnings thus far, any challenges or hurdles they’ve had to overcome and what they feel are the overall best parts of their new GIS career.

With the beginning of a new school year almost here, it’s a great time to share how previous students put their education to work.  Here are a few details I’ve received after reaching out to some recent alumni:

Andy Jones spent the summer working at FortisBC in Trail, BC building a Geo-locator tool for offline use in the field; the tool is expected to allow users to find customer addresses and also to reverse geocode to find their location. Andy’s job is technical and specific. Andy says:

“The project has been very interesting and a great introduction to a career in GIS, it has also been challenging and a great learning experience. I spent a large portion of my time writing Python scripts to wrangle large data sets often containing over 1 million records, this was not trivial and a step up from the basic Python learned in the GIS program.

Everything that I have designed needs to be easily repeatable and maintainable after I have gone, this means packaging scripts as tools and writing detailed but concise documentation”

Another recent alumni, Lorraine Brown, is at SaskPower and part of the GradWorks development program.  She is involved in a variety of GIS related duties from technical to customer relations:

“Well there’s so much to cover but here’s the GISt…databases all the time, data mining and geoprcessing with model builder (like a thousand times and still not the output you want), client relations (and dealing with the imagined outputs with the non-existent data), networking and cold calling to make contacts and much more! “

Lauren Maluta has been working with the City of Fernie in their GIS/Engineering department out of Fernie, BC.  She mentions the work she does has “advantageous learning opportunities“; she multi-tasks projects and hunts for operational efficiency:

“Daily projects are self-directed and I’ve been given freedom to research innovative ways to make the departments operations more efficient. I work on 5-10 projects at any given time, and am managing their progress independently. There is always a mentor available to ask questions and seek guidance from.”

Ambitious Peter LeCouffe, right out of the ADGIS program, and with a well established partner in the local market, decided to start up a UAV remote sensing companyHarrier Aerial Surveys, located in Nelson, BC.  Peter wanted to stay in the Kootenays so he created a job for himself.  Peter says the GIS program prepared him with fundamental skills for this adventure.  He also says:

“When starting up a business you must be more than an expert at just model builder. The niche you create and the evolving industry will always keep you on your toes and keep the adventure of a job in GIS alive!”

I’ve still got more to share about what other GIS students from last year are up to. Coming soon.  Till then, enjoy the last days of summer!