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Whether you're about to start your university studies, are working towards an undergraduate or graduate degree, or are a new alum -- Here are some of the many ways that you can move forward to connect yourself with professionals and find your path towards your career. Most of these resources are free -- just add your time and ideas!
Free GIS software & online training – ASU Libraries’ Map and Geospatial Hub offers access to Esri GIS software and online training, as well as links to online training in QGIS, JMARS, Leaflet and more. Also explore Google Earth and its mapping capabilities.
Coursera – Online courses developed by 190+ leading universities (including ASU) and companies. Some have a charge, but free options include themes of career development, graphic design, GIS and more.
Why join a professional organization? You can gain exposure to the latest initiatives and ideas, and meet professionals. Consider volunteering to help!
Arizona Association of Environmental Professionals (free to students)
Association of American Geographers (Undergraduates $38/yr, Graduate students $49/yr)
National Association of Environmental Professionals (Student membership $60/yr)
WTS – Advancing Women in Transportation (Student membership $30/yr)
Video: Lightning Talks on Geography, GIS & Urban Planning Careers - Five lively 10-minute talks, presented at ASU's Career Navigator, October 2019
Video: Careers in Urban and Environmental Planning - A panel discussion by a diverse group of Arizona planners, from SGSUP's Planning Career Fair, April 2019
Career Advice for Emerging Planners - Here's career advice based on a survey of 834 planners across the US (conducted by the Arizona chapter of the American Planning Association)
A portfolio is a living and changing collection of records that highlights and showcases samples of your best work, along with life experiences, values and achievements. A digital portfolio can be a useful tool in marketing yourself to employers, to professionals that you'd like to interact with, or to colleges and universities where you'd like to pursue a degree.
Here are website hosting tools that have some free site-building and hosting options: Wix, WordPress, SquareSpace, Weebly, Adobe Portfolio, or Network Solutions (and find free photos at http://unsplash.com)
Many nonprofits could benefit from expertise that you have -- whether creating a map, gathering or analyzing data, or finding new ways to reach out to community members. Find an organization that advocates for something you’re passionate about, and reach out to them. For example, a GIS student helped a local conservation organization analyze their membership, producing a report on how and where membership had grown. A planning student worked with a nonprofit to understand the process of organizing an annual community event, and wrote up a handbook that will allow groups in other locations to host similar events. Not sure what organizations exist in your community? You can find out a great deal from a web search; and Idealist.org or Volunteer Match may provide additional ideas. This could develop into a for-credit internship, too!
Professional organizations can also use help from students. Volunteering with a professional organization is a great way to build connections with professionals, while you build skills. Check out a list of planning/GIS and geography organizations in the previous section of this page. Our school also hosts student organizations that offer great professional development opportunities!
GISCorps, sponsored by the professional organization URISA, coordinates short-term, volunteer-based GIS services to communities in need worldwide. You can learn about the initiative at https://www.giscorps.org/, and can apply to become a volunteer at https://www.giscorps.org/become-a-volunteer/.
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team is an international group dedicated to humanitarian action and community development through open-source mapping. Learn the basics of OpenStreetMap; then volunteer on any HOT project. Connect with YouthMappers ASU to meet other students involved in this initiative.
TIP: If you volunteer, keep a record of the hours you spend and your responsibilities. These hours can contribute to 'experience' requirements for government jobs especially, and jobs of any kind!