Feeling stuck in your GIS Career?

Let us face it, we have all experienced or are experiencing a point in our careers where things seem to slow down, the excitement you once had is fading away, and you are just getting by. This dreadful phase mostly happens after a few years of working, maybe mid-career stage, but when it does, it seems to last forever. This is not a phenomenon in a GIS career, but in all careers out there.

You started your GIS career as a practitioner with so much excitement. Fresh out of university, the sky was the limit. After 5 years now, you are looking back and wondering if you made a big mistake. You could have been a banker instead. You are looking for an exit.

So, what is happening and how can it be solved? Let us first try to figure out how you reached here.

3 reasons why Feel stuck in your GIS Career?

According to recruiting website Indeed, here are the 3 reasons you might be experiencing stagnation.

  • No salary increases or promotions: If you haven’t seen a salary increase in years, it can be a sign that you have stayed at an organization too long.
  • Organizational losses: If your current organization is suffering losses, it can create stagnation in your career and indicate that you may want to make a move and look for opportunities elsewhere.
  • No opportunities for growth: Career stagnation can occur if you have already advanced as high as you can within your organization or if there are simply no foreseeable opportunities for career growth.

Eight steps to bring much-needed excitement back to your career

What can you do if you are experiencing stagnation? Here are eight steps you can take to bring much-needed excitement back to your career.

1. Put things into perspective: This is only a phase, it will not last forever, and it really does not determine who you are in your GIS career. Sometimes there is nothing much you can do at this point because there are organisational or environmental issues at play that are beyond your control.

You are not the first person to experience this, and definitely not the last. Everybody in their career has most likely experienced or will experience this at some point. You need to separate yourself from the situation so you can think clearly.

2. Learn new skills: One reason why you may be experiencing a career delay is that you are not changing with the times. Disruption is happening, especially in technology. The skills you learnt in university are probably irrelevant or need to be upgraded. GIS is slowly embracing data science, AI, and ML.

Work in GIS career
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This is why you need to change with the times. You need to learn new skills, especially if you are working in the geospatial sector. Learning does not mean going back to class. You can find valuable online courses for as little as nine dollars.

3. Read, read, read: Stay up-to-date with GIS trends around the world. Subscribe to geospatial blogs, magazines, YouTube channels, and podcasts. Immerse yourself in the start-up world, especially the ones utilising data science, AI, and ML.

4. Network: You need to expand beyond your work circle and network with other established GIS professionals. Networking will introduce you to new opportunities beyond your job and skills. It will also broaden your mind to new ideas.

Start by joining a professional body in your country and committing yourself to attend all their meetings, or join a LinkedIn GIS group.

5. Start blogging: Setting up a personal blog is another way to bring excitement back into your GIS career. This is a good way to write down your thoughts and display your work. Who knows, maybe a potential employer or business partner might stumble upon it and give you an opportunity.

6. Change your work environment: If you feel like there is no room for growth opportunities in your organization, then maybe it is time to look for a new job. This is after you have assessed all options, i.e., there is no room for promotion or salary increase.

Job hunting is hard and can take a lot from you, so you have to be careful before handing in your resignation letter. Ensure it is the work environment and not you.

7. Keep pressing on: You still have time to make something out of your career, especially if you are less than 10 years into it. This requires patience from your side. Rome was not built in a day, and maybe you are expecting too much too soon, which is unrealistic.

8. Be Positive: Keep your head up, and avoid negative self-talk and pity parties. As mentioned earlier, this is only a phase. Nobody gets into this field having figured everything out. This also applies to you. All will be well.

If you can relate to this post, then I wish you all the best.

We are all in this together, and by taking the time to read this post, you are on the right track. It is a frustrating place to be in, but you can move past it. Trust me.

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