Advance Your Career: Blog

Advance Your Career: Blog

Experienced professional updates her skills with Online M.S. in GIS and Web Map Programming

Kim Sundeen developed an interest in mapping during a stint at the International Crane Foundation, where she worked tracing the birds’ habitats. That led her to the field of geographic information systems (GIS) and the Online Professional Master of Science in GIS and Web Map Programming from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sundeen recognized that the GIS field is moving online and saw the value of learning up-to-date coding practices from UW-Madison’s experienced instructors. She liked the fact that the program focused on web map programming and included a mobile app development course.

“I already have numerous degrees, but I needed a specific set of technical skills, and that’s what drew me to this program,” she says. “I’m capable of teaching myself but realized it would be helpful for someone to set out the curriculum for me to learn the application programming interface.”

Kim Sundeen: ‘This program allowed me to fit the lessons into my schedule as needed.’

For Sundeen, one of the biggest draws was a completely online program.

“I like having all the materials online so I don’t have to go to a lecture hall,” she says. “Classroom lectures don’t usually occur at a time of day when I’m most alert. This program allowed me to fit the lessons into my schedule as needed.”

The Online Professional Master of Science in GIS and Web Map Programming is for international students and working professionals in the GIS field who want to master GIS programming and transition from desktop to web GIS. Students can customize the program to fit their schedules and earn a master’s degree in under a year while staying in their jobs. They learn to develop GIS tools, mobile GIS apps, and fast, interactive, data-driven web maps to solve real-world problems. The instructors are professors from UW-Madison’s Department of Geography, ranked in the top five nationally for geography graduate programs.

‘The cohort has been wonderful’

Sundeen was pleasantly surprised by the bond she formed with her fellow students in the Online Professional Master of Science in GIS and Web Map Programming.

“The cohort has been wonderful,” she says. “I’ve interacted more with the online students than I ever did with students for my undergrad or graduate degrees. We talk outside of coursework about conferences and how to get different jobs, and that’s been very beneficial professionally.”

Sundeen now works with RAMTeCH Software Solutions as a GIS analyst developer, and she’s applying the skills she learned from the online master’s in her day-to-day job.

“The skills are directly related to database administration and web user interfaces, and the program has been extremely beneficial in helping me understand functional programming,” she says. “It’s also been useful in helping me communicate about project requirements.”

For more information about the Online Professional Master of Science in GIS and Web Map Programming, see here.