This is the fourth post in a series exploring the question – What qualifications do I need to get X job in archaeology. The earlier posts looked at field tech positions, crew chiefs, and Middle Management in Cultural Resource Management CRM (North America). This is all done quantitatively by looking at job postings. This post looks at dedicated archaeology GIS technician positions. I wasn’t going to post this so soon but archaeogeomancy started a discussion about GIS skills and archaeology jobs because of my last post. As rightly stated, in my opinion, by archaeogeomanct-
So I would say yes, having (or at least claiming to have) GIS skills is good for career prospects but currently less important for management level posts, rightly or wrongly…….
I would argue there is a need for short archaeological GIS training courses, tailored to the range of tasks archaeologists typically do using GIS and which can be formally recognised and accredited by some representative body. This would allow (non-technical) managers making decisions about hiring and firing to make evidence based decisions, benefiting the employer……
Only basic GIS skills are need for most positions in archaeology. This free tutorial for archaeologists using GIS would probably be enough.
Though there are a very few dedicated GIS archaeology positions in CRM in North America (9 jobs posted last year) and if your interested in that line of work here is the percent of job posts listing the respected qualification:
I felt a bit silly including it in the list of qualifications but yes, 100% of GIS tech jobs require you to know GIS. Most require you to have a only a BA and know how to work a relational database (KEY POINT knowing how to work a relational data base tells you the level of GIS knowledge you must have). AutoCAD skills would not hurt. I was a bit surprised on how few jobs made any mention of previous experience, 4/9ths. This is probably due to the specialized nature of the jobs and lack of qualified applicants willing to work for what archaeology can pay GIS techs (other disciplines pay much better).
Will meeting these requirements get you the job? NO, there are no guarantees. Most of these requirements are check boxes of the bare minimum. Meaning you must have at least these qualifications to be considered for a job.
Methodology – jobs postings on the job website Shovelbums was examined for the year 2010. All postings involving GIS techs were examined and the numbers were compiled above. A total 9 posts were used for the data; duplicate posts were eliminated.