The Footnotes

AGRICULTURE & ENVIRONMENT

6 careers if you love Geography

A climatologist, hydrologist and cartographer walk into a bar…

Like Geo? Don’t worry, you can continue to study this Big Blue Wet Thing (see: Earth) long after high school has ended.

Geography can be segmented into two types, physical (climate, hazards, soil, water landforms and vegetation etc.) and human (distribution, use/abuse of space and how humans interact with the places and spaces are around them).

So, we’ll lay out a few careers for each should you wish to enjoy your favourite area of study beyond school: 

GIS Technician

A GIS or… “Geographic Information Systems technician” collects data and then puts it in a new format (like a map). These guys:

  • Create updated maps and graphs, using GIS software and data collection equipment.
  • Perform research to obtain and expand existing datasets (they know a lot about changes to water and soil)
  • Compile geographic and demographic data

They do a lot of fieldwork. They use satellite and aerial imagery, census information etc. and then analyse the relationships between those geographic data sets.

How to get there: There are a variety of pathways to becoming a GIS Technician. One path is to obtain undergraduate degree in a related field before completing a graduate certificate – or similar – in Geographic Information Science. You could also do a Bachelor of Applied Geographical Information Systems or Bachelor of Spatial Science Technology (Geographic Information Systems).

Geologist

“Geology rocks”… and yeah, a geologist studies earthly processes like quakes, landslides, floods and volcanic eruptions as well as overall changes to the earth over time like climate, land formations and fluctuations in gas or water. Basically, if you want to be a geologist, you’ve got to really, really like physical geography.

How to get there: You’ll need a Bachelor of Science with a major in geology or similar field at minimum. A honours or postgraduate degree will put you in a good place job-wise.

Hydrologist 

Hydrology is similar to the role of a geologist but, you guessed it, more specialised.

A hydrologist will fill their days studying water cycles, water pollution and solving water quality or availability issues. As a hydrologist, you could be working on a hydroelectric power plant, irrigating system or assisting with under-water tunnel construction. Wherever there’s water, there’s cause for a hydrologist.

How to get there: A bachelor’s degree will get you in the door for some entry-level positions however most hydrologists need a postgraduate qualification like a Master of Hydrogeology.

Urban/Regional planner

An urban or regional planner works on zoning, land use and development so comes under the umbrella of human geography (as opposed to physical). As a planner you’ll work with a wide range of people (so interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate are essential) including property developers, owners and government officials in designing, coordinating and planning townships.

How to get there: A variety of institutions offer bachelor degrees in city planning or urban and regional planning but we recommend pairing this with a bachelor of law: it will come in handy.

Cartographer

A cartographer is someone who will measure, analyse and interpret maps. Sounds simple, but it’s a tad more complicated: there’s more to it than a telescope and good pair of walking shoes. Cartographers use GIS (geographic information system) technology to link geological features as well as aerial cameras, satellites and light-imaging detecting and ranging (LIDAR) software. As a cartographer, you’ll do fieldwork to collect and verify data but will spend a lot of time in the office, so it’s not for the fidgety.

How to get there: You’ll need a bachelor degree in surveying, geospatial science or geographic information science. Honours wouldn’t go astray here either.

Climatologist

A climatologist deal with the phenomena of the climate and climatic events – who’d of thought? Climatologists will typically collect data from a variety of sources including satellites, radars and sensors to track temperature, precipitation, snow/rain fall and air pressure. Climatologists will focus on the long-term changes in climate and their impact on our planet (as opposed to a meteorologist, who tends to focus on the short-term). As a climatologist, you should expect to focus on climate change and be employed by government agencies, universities, not-for-profits and consulting companies.

How to get there: At minimum, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. Universities like UNSW offer a Bachelor of Science with a major in climate change but a Master of Science in Climate Science by Research will really make you stand out. 

Ready to kick start your career? 

 

6 careers if you love Geography
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