Getting Started with ArcGIS Pro – Caroline Becker

How I got into working with GIS.

My first year of college I had signed up for an elective, mostly just to fill up my schedule and fulfill requirements for my major. The class I ended up taking was an introductory course to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Most of that class was spent learning how to analyze data and create effective maps and charts to showcase that data. Another aspect of the class was simply learning how to use search engines, such as Google, efficiently. In addition to that class, I began working at my college’s GIS lab and continued working there throughout my college years. Both of those experiences combined gave me the formal training, as well as the time to explore the different functions of ArcGIS Pro.

While the class and the internship were amazing opportunities for me to dive into the world of GIS, not everyone has access to those resources, nor does everyone want that level of training. For people wishing to understand how to use ESRI’s ArcGIS on a base level there are resources available for you to do just that. On ESRI’s website, there is an option to sign up for a 21-day free trial which would be a good chance to explore ArcGIS a bit if you don’t have access to the full ArcGIS Pro application. Once you have access to this program, ESRI has many free trainings available for beginner, as well as advanced, GIS users. These trainings were how I started out at the GIS lab, just getting to know the ins and outs of the program I had never used before. The first ones I had gone through basically lead me through creating my first map; teaching me how to add data to the project, change the basemap, change the symbology, etc. ESRI’s trainings are extremely helpful when starting out and I highly recommend them. If you don’t have access to the ArcGIS program, you can also watch some of these trainings on ESRI’s YouTube channel.

Regardless of pretty much any field of work you are planning on, and especially if you are going into an environmental field, I highly recommend gaining some level of experience with ArcGIS Pro. I had never thought I would need it in my life, but now that I am more experienced with it I have learned how versatile the program itself is, as well as the skills you gain from learning how to use this application. Not to mention the amount of jobs I come across that want some amount of familiarity with ArcGIS. Not knowing anything about ArcGIS has actually made it difficult for some of my friends to find a job in the environmental field, as it is such a sought-after skill. All in all I am glad that I found GIS and have been extremely surprised with where it has taken me so far and I look forward to see where it takes me from here.

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