GIS Skills

Caitlin Dempsey


What skills are needed to be a successful GIS professional?  Broken down by category, listed here is an in progress list of all the skills a GIS professional may be required to have.  Provide your input on essential skills in the comment section below.


Map Elements

  • Know all the components of a map layout.  See: What’s in a Map?
  • Cartographic Design.  See: Principles of Cartographic Design

Spatial Analysis


Database Management

  • Relational Database Management
  • Structured Query Language


  • Ability to operate GIS related hardware and associated peripheral devices such as GPS units, plotters, digitizers, and scanners.

General Skills

  • Basic understanding of Microsoft Windows operating system and ability to use standard office software (e.g. word processing, spreadsheet, presentation software).
  • Proper use of grammar and spelling.  Oral and written language skills.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Understanding of how to seek out peer support to answer technical questions.

Programming and Scripting Languages

  • Knowledge of Python
  • Ability to script repetitive tasks


Web Technologies

  • Web Servers

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.