I’m having an identity crisis.
I was a Geology Major in College. For a while I was registered with the State of TN as a Geologist.
When I first started working for the Gov’t, I was a SE Technician. What was SE? I can’t remember. You progressed up the ladder from 1 to 4 and then tried to make the jump to something else.
When I made the jump I became a SD Scientist if I remember correctly. What was SD? I can’t remember. You progressed up the ladder to a 3 or a 4 and hopefully didn’t die from high blood pressure or a stroke when you entered management.
When I left and started NRGS everyone wanted me to have a title. You should be President Randal Hale. That was all too pretentious. Correct mind you, but I don’t like being called President. I’ve had people approach me and go “Why don’t you hire me and make me CEO or CTO or something?” I would always go “What’s in a name? Are you going to answer crazy emails? Or not digitize data if it needs it? How dirty are you willing to get as CTO/CEO?”.
For a while I would just go “Randal Hale, GISP” What’s a GISP? I’m a Geographic Information Systems Professional. Except when you think about it GIS is just a tool and that’s like saying you’re a Hammer Professional or a Stapler Professional. I’ve soured a bit on the GISP and I’m not sure what I need to do to reconcile that in my head.
Then I went through the “I’m a GIS Analyst” Phase which still didn’t answer what I did. I analyze GIS.
As of late due to a lot of changes in the way I’ve ben approaching clients I’ve started going when people ask “What are you?” I answer Geospatial Data Scientist/Analyst. I’m working with data that has a geospatial component and I’m providing the client with reports/data/maps to help them make a decision. My skill set has been growing as I introduce more QGIS/PostGIS/things to my clients. I haven’t had one yet yell “It has to be in ArcGIS”. Most don’t care if the data is sound. Of course Yesterday I spent more than half the day in ArcGIS. Which was sort of nice ultimately. Hadn’t done that in a long time.
Of course I could just go “I own a small business that makes noise with geospatial data”.
So what’s in a name? Do I have the skills to actually add “data” to a description of me. Have I walked far enough into the database pool? Dive more into R? Do I start quoting statistics at every corner? Do more GIS people need to treat their data as a database vs a pile of files or connections to a server……..
I don’t know. I guess another hazard of Small Business. I know what I do. So what do I call myself. For the record at the last few conferences my job title was Janitor.
Does it really matter – currently not a great deal – it just something else rolling around in my head.
Anyway – all this made me think: