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GIS Programmer Jobs: Does It Have the Most Demand in GIS?

gis programmer job profile

So You Want a GIS Developer Job?

If you’re going to be working as a GIS software developer, you’re pretty much going to be a software developer with a concentration in GIS.

Programmers need to be focused because you’re going to be writing, examining, and error-checking code. GIS developers need to learn fast on their feet. Skills like learning Python are essential.

You could be making websites or web applications using JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Or you could design geospatial applications for field collection, reporting, and other GIS activities using Python, C#, and JavaScript.

READ MORE: Free GIS Programming Tutorials: Learn How To Code

GIS Developer Career Trends

According to Indeed job trends, GIS programmers and developers are one of the highest in demand.

gis technology jobs trends

But what types of skills do you need to become a GIS programmer? What is the average GIS developer’s salary?

Today, we examine in detail the life of a GIS developer.

How do GIS developers’ salaries stack up around the world?

GIS development and programming are growing fields in Geomatics. By writing code, you can make the machine do what you want.

GIS developers enjoy higher salaries than average GIS positions. But they require a higher level of education or a combination of work experience.

A lot of GIS application developer positions are usually accompanied by a computer science degree or certificate.

READ MORE: GIS Salary Expectations: Climb the GIS Career Ladder

GIS Developer Salary Map

GIS Developer Job Advantages/Disadvantages

GIS developers, in general, have more job stability. This is because software development and computer programming are growing fields.

It’s easier for GIS programmers to land a job because it takes a highly skilled individual to write code and working programs. No two developers will write the same code. Building an application used by people is often a great feeling for programmers.

GIS programmers have higher pay rates. But it can really take years to be able to program well. Also, it requires the most education.

From the level of importance, here are some of the programming languages you can expect: JavaScript, Python, C#, and .NET. The most widely used Visual Basic, Python, HTML, JavaScript, XML, and Flex. We’ve seen a large reduction in the use of the aging Arc Macro Language (AML) and Avenue scripting languages.

The Primary Job Duties of a GIS Developer

What are the primary tasks of a GIS developer?

PROGRAMMING is the process of writing code and automating redundant GIS processes. Typical programming languages in GIS are Python, SQL, C++, Visual Basic, and Java. (GIS Programming, Web Development & Design, Software Application Development, Software Application Lifestyle)

SPATIAL ANALYSIS uses techniques to manipulate, extract, locate and analyze geographic data. Spatial analysis examples include buffering, clipping, and exploring the relationships between map features. (GIS Analysis, GIS Modeling, Data Integration & Conversion, Data Analysis, Geocoding, Geomatics)

DATABASE MANAGEMENT stores information from structured sets of geographic data into relational database management systems. (Database Development, Data Management, Database Administration, Data Management Services, Asset Management Consulting)

WEB MAPPING is the process of interactively displaying, processing, or analyzing spatial content on the world-wide-web.

READ MORE: Free Esri Training Courses and MOOC

Complimentary Job Duties

CARTOGRAPHY is the study of creating maps. The origin comes from charta – “tablet or leaf of paper” and graph – “to draw”. (GIS Cartography, Information Management, Softcopy Mapping, Web Mapping, GIS Mapping, ArcGIS Map Design, Quality control/assurance)

REMOTE SENSING involves satellite or aerial imagery to map the Earth. Remote sensing is the study of attaining data without physically being there. (Remote Sensing Analysis, Satellite/Air Photo Interpretation, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Soil Classification)

Example GIS Developer Tasks

python logo

  • Develop, test, debug and maintain an array of custom web-based GIS applications, tools and supporting web services using standard software life cycle processes
  • Support the infrastructure by maintaining and developing new capabilities in Microsoft .Net.
  • Develop software in an agile development process by working with stakeholders to refine developed products.
  • Perform web and mobile application development using JavaScript, HTML5, CSS, AJAX for the Esri ArcGIS platform
  • Provide support, troubleshooting, modifications, enhancements and maintenance for existing GIS applications, scripts, tools and web services.
  • Create and maintain system related documentation.

Accompanying Software

From the level of importance, here are some of the programming languages you can expect: JavaScript, Python, C#, and .NET.

The most widely used Spyder, Visual Basic, Python, HTML, JavaScript, XML, and Flex.

There has been a reduction in the amount in aging Arc Macro Language (AML) and Avenue.

GIS Programming, Web Development & Design, Software Application Development


  1. Whish programming language is suitable to generate web services for map data (eg. C# ,Java , ..)

    Because , I want to use ArcGIS with web services for web map application.

  2. I am currently a GIS Developer, although I do not have a degree in GIS or Computer Science. I began as a GIS technician, then progressed through the years. Many developers are self-taught these days. It depends on your personality and aptitude to learn new things.

    My personal opinion: Start playing around with one of the ArcGIS APIs (The JavaScript one is fairly easy to start). Then start creating things, put some open source content on GitHub, and you will slowly develop a portfolio to show potential employers.

    Good development practices, as well as GIS skills, can come from lots of repetition. Apply yourself, repeat each concept 20-50 times, get to know a couple languages (JavaScript and Python are very applicable to GIS development), and you will be on your way.

  3. I want to be a GIS Developer. I do not not have the background or experience. I have a degree in Geography and I am a GIS Analyst. Do I need to take courses to gain experience in order to be hired for a GIS Developer job.

  4. If not Python, SQL, C++, Visual Basic and Java what other programs will need to be mastered to be able to perform the duties required for a GIS Developer? Thanks

  5. “Typical programming languages in GIS are Python, SQL, C++, Visual Basic and Java.”

    yeah, no..

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