Despite the ups and downs of the Information Technology (IT) industry over the years, the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) industry has been steadily growing since its inception in the 1960s. According to Daratech, a GIS research firm, GIS grew worldwide 10.3% in 2010 to US$4.4 billion with a forecast of an additional 8.3% growth to almost US$5 billion in 2011. According to a newer report on the GIS market (Geographic Information Systems (GIS): A Global Outlook released January 2012) from Global Industry Analysts, Inc (GIA), the GIS industry is expected to grow worldwide to US$10.6 Billion by 2015. If you are interested in more, see: http://www.gislounge.com/gis-industry-trends/
What does all this mean, for you who are interested in using technology in environmental careers? I think there are two main implications: First, the use of geotechnology is not going away. Geotechnologies have been a fundamental part of gathering data in the field, and the mapping, assessing, and planning process that is associated with environmental science. The reason is because people have been and will continue to be interested in the “where” question. Second, your marketability in the field of environmental sciences will be greatly enhanced if you take the time to gather some geotechnology skills: GIS, GPS, and remote sensing. These include Python scripting, web APIs, multimedia, cloud-based mapping. These skills are already in high demand and the demand is increasing.