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2002 Salary Survey
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2002 Salary Survey


The GIS/LIS Profession and Salary Survey, which was conducted during the fall of 2002 is complete and the summary has been published. As we had hoped, the results are very interesting. It offers a fairly detailed view of the GIS profession in Minnesota, from who we are and what we do with GIS technology to why we do it and how we’re compensated. Click here(1288k) to view the entire survey.




The GIS professional in Minnesota has aged well, becoming better educated, earning more, developing more applications, building more data sets, and becoming more knowledgeable about the technical aspects of GIS and GIS-related tools. The average age of respondents to the survey is 37.


Nearly all GIS professionals in Minnesota have some post-secondary education; most hold a bachelors or master degree and are locally educated. Roughly 75% are employed in positions well-matched to their education level. As expected, geography is the most common degree program of respondents, and GIS certification is becoming more common with 22% of survey respondents holding a certificate.


Government entities are the largest employer of GIS professionals in our state, with most involved in the disciplines of community development, natural resources, and utility infrastructure. Within most disciplines, the primary specialties involve data development, conversion, integration, and map production. Many GIS professionals are finding a greater need for public speaking skills and a lesser need for mathematics and statistics experience.


Salaries for GIS professionals haven’t changed much during the past few years, but the title of GIS specialist has found its way into a growing list of GIS positions. Well more than half of the respondents to the survey earn between $30,000 and $60,000 annually, and most have at least five years of GIS experience. As expected, the higher salaries go to managers and those with strong programming skills. The level of education and experience are also obvious factors in wage-earning power. Stability at a single job is also paying off, with salaries increasing quickly with years on the job.


Finally, GIS professionals are spending a significantly greater part of their workday using GIS products and procedures. Although most of them profess to not being particularly proficient at writing programs or building customized applications nearly half do spend at least a small part of their time on these tasks. Their GIS environment consists primarily of ESRI’s GIS products. The application development environment is usually Avenue for ArcView 3.x or Visual Basic with ArcGIS. AML is still hanging on for ArcInfo environments and HTML has become popular for browser based applications. As expected, most GIS professionals work primarily in a Microsoft Windows environment, using Microsoft’s Office product suite (Access, Excel, etc.).

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