Advance Your Career: Blog

Advance Your Career: Blog

Working professional stays up to date with Online M.S. in GIS and Web Map Programming

Randy Sincoular had put in a quarter-century working with geographic information systems (GIS) at Alliant Energy. But even with his vast experience, he still saw the advantage of keeping up to date in this growing field. That’s why he enrolled in the Online Professional Master of Science in GIS and Web Map Programming from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“My primary goal is to learn the latest in GIS web development,” says Sincoular. “I like to be challenged and want to apply my new skills in providing innovative solutions to geospatial problems. A master’s degree will also allow me to get into GIS education at the college level.”

Randy Sincoular: ‘I like to be challenged and want to apply my new skills in providing innovative solutions to geospatial problems.’

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.

Sincoular was attracted by UW-Madison’s reputation in geography, but he worried about being a student again.

“It’s been a long time since I was in school, so I wasn’t sure if I had what it took for graduate-level courses,” he says. “I was also concerned about how I would fit in school with a full-time job.”

That’s where the program’s flexibility came in handy.

“What’s nice about the online program is that you can work on courses at any time,” Sincoular says. “You don’t have to commute to attend a class at a specific time or day. Being able to take the courses via the internet saves time.”

The sharpest GIS professionals

The Online Professional Master of Science in GIS and Web Map Programming is a highly personalized and interactive program that includes guest speakers, group projects, community engagement, and networking. A lifelong learning component allows students to keep pace with changes in software and technology even after they’ve earned their degree.

Sincoular was impressed by the quality of instruction.

“The instructors are very experienced and supportive,” he says. “If you want to learn from some of the sharpest GIS professionals, this is the program to do it.”

Sincoular found the program challenging, but also rewarding. He sometimes surprised himself with his new skills.

“As I finished up my digital portfolio for my first class, I sat back in amazement,” he says. “I couldn’t believe what I accomplished. I learned to use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create an infographic and shaded relief map. I also built a responsive web page that I could use to display my work on the internet. Wow.”

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