Geographic information systems (GIS) is a relatively small, but rapidly growing, part of the UK's IT sector. The products can be used in a wide variety of industries, so in addition to software and IT services companies, employers who need GIS skills include public sector organisations and oil, defence, construction, environmental and transport businesses.
There are many different job roles in the sector, all of which are highly skilled. Software companies need developers, pre and post-sales consultants, support staff and trainers, while end users require data capture specialists, data analysts, imagery and 3D visualisation experts.
Most entry-level positions go to recent graduates. Staff who wish to follow a career as a developer or in technical support need to have taken computer science, software engineering or maths courses, while those seeking employment with companies that use GIS may have studied geography, surveying or town planning. Graduates can expect a starting salary of between £18,000 and £25,000 for a trainee position.
Earnings rise sharply for staff with three years' experience and good developers typically earn £40,000 to £60,000 in permanent jobs, while data analysts are paid in the range of £32,000 to £70,000. Employers often need skilled staff for short-term GIS-related projects and can hire contractors via IT recruitment agencies.