The applications for GIS software are virtually infinite—the job market, booming. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s High Growth Industry Profile – Geospatial Technology Report, the geospatial market is “growing at an annual rate of almost 35 percent, with the commercial subsection of the market expanding at the rate of 100 percent each year.” The Labor Department also features Geospatial Information Scientists, Technologists, and other related GIS jobs in its O*Net Resource Center as careers with a “Bright Future” in the U.S. economy.

There’s just one catch: you need to be much more than a “GIS technician”; you’ve got to be able to walk the GIS talk when you go for interviews. You need to master underlying Geographic Information Science concepts and operations in order to effectively apply the tools to address specific challenges. Earning a GIS certificate might just be the tie-breaker you need to successfully compete in this exciting field, especially when your credentials are from UConn, a Top 25 Public University.

Here’s how the online or blended GIS Graduate Certificate from UConn will help advance your GIS expertise to tilt success in your favor:

Universal proficiency in GIS software: Expect to learn a lot more than simply how to use a specific software tool. In fact, once you complete the certificate, you’ll be able to use virtually any GIS tool. The reason?

Each week, course modules are focused on targeted topics that enable you to build on your skills as you move through the program, ensuring that you’ll have a solid working vocabulary and knowledge of GIS concepts at its completion. For example, in the first two required core courses, GEOG 5500 – Fundamentals of GIS and GEOG 5510 – Application Issues of GIS, you’ll learn the underlying theories and principles of GIScience and geospatial analysis. You’ll be introduced to the basic operations embedded in GIS software and how the software can be applied to address questions that rely on spatial data analysis.

Add ArcGIS Desktop to your resume: Of course, the most effective way to learn GIS concepts is to apply them to real-world situations. Toward this end, UConn has an enterprise-wide license for Esri ArcGIS software—the most widely used GIS software in the world. ArcGIS provides a powerful and versatile foundation of tools to perform all major GIS functions, including creating, managing, analyzing, and visualizing geographic data.

As a UConn student, you’ll have full access to ArcGIS throughout the program at no cost to you. The software is available as a virtual site through SkyBox and UConn AnyWare, both of which allow you to work with the software on your own desktop. Either way, upon completion of the two required core courses, you can add proficiency in ArcGIS Desktop to your resume—and absolute must-have for most employers seeking GIS professionals.

The convenience of a fully online platform – if that’s what you choose. You can take all four courses—including the two required core courses and two electives—online. While there are weekly deadlines, coursework is available 24/7, giving you the ability to fit assignments around your full-time job and personal life. And with access to coursework from any location, you don’t need to worry about falling behind or missing classes due to business trips, vacations, or other commitments. Plus, you’ll be able to interact with other students and instructors via email, phone, Skype, and online discussions. Students from a wide range of disciplines and geographic locations bring diverse perspectives and experiences to “class,” creating a dynamic learning community.

Work near Storrs? Go to UConn? Go blended! You also have the option to choose a blended program that combines both online courses and traditional in-class instruction. Should you choose the blended program, two to four additional on-campus electives are available each semester; just let us know if you need assistance in selecting the appropriate courses to meet your needs.

Focus on location analysis: Our students choose the UConn GIS Online Graduate Certificate Program for another key reason: its focus on location analysis and its diverse applications in marketing, business, and government decision-making; transportation analysis and planning; and modeling of the urban environment. For example, the elective, GEOG 5130 – GIS in Transportation, teaches the concepts and geospatial technologies used in urban transportation design and management. Another, GEOG 5520 – GIS Modeling of the Urban Environment, focuses on using GIS techniques to analyze population growth, economic development, population diversity trends, and urban environmental issues.