Last November Jimmy Bayne blogged about various educational paths people can take to enter the IT workplace. I want to talk about another facet of professional development—certification. Many professions strongly suggest or require that practitioners acquire certain levels of certification. Having those certifications, usually awarded by the professional’s peers, is one way to say “Hey, I didn’t stop learning… growing… (fill in the blank…) after I finished my formal education.” Specifically, I want to focus this blog post on the value of certification as a GISP—a geographic information systems (GIS) Professional.
What’s so special about GISP?
Soon, the number of GISPs at CGIS is likely to double. Since GISP status is recognition of a certain level of achievement in the GIS professions, as well as commitment to a high ethical standard, that’s special—for Maryland’s GIS resource base, and for Towson University, DECO, and our clients. Even though we already regard all of these particular CGIS staff to be GIS professionals, the right to put GISP after their names must be earned from the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) through a rigorous qualifying process.
Qualifying for GISP status
Through a portfolio that includes a 32-page points-based application plus submission of supporting documents, successful GISP applicants prove that they meet GISCI standards for ethical conduct and professional practice, educational achievement, professional experience, and the manner in which they contribute back to the profession. Certification is based on a range of benchmarks.
GISP Code of Ethics
The GISP Code of Ethics includes the same ethical standards that many other professional societies regard as essential, as well as some that are unique to the GIS profession.
The Value of GISP Certification
The rewards and value of GISP certification are both personal and universal. In their own words,
CGIS professionals share their thoughts about the meaning of their own GISP certification.
I like being a part of a professional group that is focused on the specific challenges in the GIS field. The requirements for GISP include not only education and experience, but community outreach, contributions to the field, and willingness to learn new things. Melanie Ruff, GISP, GIS Specialist III
I believe that certification as a Professional in my chosen field will add value to any organization I am a part of. It’s also gratifying to know that my accomplishments in the classroom, experience in the field, and contributions to GIS in Maryland are recognized and valued by other members of the GIS industry. Tom Earp, Jr., GISP, Project Manager
The GIS Certification Institute’s mission, “to maintain the high standards and integrity of the GIS profession and promote ethical conduct within it”, is one that I believe in, and obtaining GISP Certification reinforces that belief. Ken Juengling, GISP, Project Manager
Obtaining the GISP certification as a GIS professional acknowledges to the industry and public that I value, support, and will abide by all standards and guidelines established, and that I am proficient in Geographic Information Systems and Science. The certification is one more step forward in professional development, which can lead to career advancement. As a GIS professional this certification informs me of what to expect from other GIS professionals.
Lionell Sewell, GIS Specialist II and GISP applicant
I’d like to repeat part of Lionell’s statement: “The certification is one more step forward in professional development…” I believe it’s important for any individual, regardless of his or her professional or trade, to seek opportunities for professional certification and to continually reach for the highest standard.
Click here to learn more about GISP certification.