On Job Hunt in Ottawa: GoGeomatics Interviews Colin Palmer, Geomatics Specialist
GoGeomatics interviewed Colin Palmer, Geomatics Specialist about education, jobs, and GoGeomatics Socials.
GoGeomatics: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from and what is your education background?
Colin: I have lived all over Canada. I was born in British Columbia but spent a few years in Ottawa and grew up mostly in Nova Scotia. My working career has taken me to all points of the Maritimes, as well as Toronto and Alberta. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Sociology from Mount Allison University (’95), an Information Technology Diploma from DeVry (’01) and I went to the Centre of Geographic Sciences three times, finally getting my Advanced GIS Diploma in 2016.
GoGeomatics: How long did it take you to find your first job in geomatics? Any job hunting tips for others still on the hunt for a first job?
Colin: Well, after my first round at COGS in ’96, it took a few weeks, but after finally getting my Diploma in 2016, it took about a year and a half before I finally got a Geomatics job.
My best advice for first-timers would be to network (face-to-face) every chance you get. If you want to work for a specific company, you may want to initiate a get-to-know-you meeting with someone there who can help you get in. Also, take advantage of government employment agencies out there who will provide free tips regarding building your resume and cover letter as well as doing mock interviews.
GoGeomatics: Can you tell us what your first job was like out of school? What did you do day to day?
Colin: My first job after my first turn at COGS was with the Canadian Delegation at NATO HQ in Brussels, Belgium. I was employed for one month as a summer student, basically doing odd jobs as needed. In my case, I was creating signs and posters for the Office Administrator using COREL Draw 6.
GoGeomatics: In your career thus far what has been the accomplishment you are most proud of?
Colin: The highlight of my career was the eight years I spent at JuneWarren Nickle’s Energy Group in Edmonton, Alberta. There I was able to truly make a difference, not only for the company itself, but for the Oil and Gas Industry in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin itself with the Canadian Oilfield Gas Plant Atlas and the numerous charts I was able to produce for their various publications.
GoGeomatics: What are some of your favorite tools for GIS and geomatics?
Colin: My favourite tools, bar none, are the ESRI ArcGIS Suite of products.
GoGeomatics: What is your current situation in terms of a job? (What challenges have you seen in the Geo jobs marketplace?)
Colin: Since the end of my last contract a year ago, I have been trying to find either another contract like it, or a more stable position in the Geomatics industry. I have had several interviews, sadly none of them fruitful, in addition to the hundreds of places I have applied to, receiving either a negative response or no response at all. I am currently working two part-time positions that are not in the Geomatics industry, but I am determined and hopeful that I will get something soon.
GoGeomatics: What would your dream job be today?
Colin: A permanent GIS position with the Government, either Federal, Ontario, or City of Ottawa. In the case of Federal, I would like to work for the Department of Natural Resources working on their topographic and cadastral products, particularly CanVec. I would be equally interested in doing this for the Government of Ontario as well. As for Ottawa, I would love to be working on any and all of their GIS / Mapping products as a way of contributing to my city in a positive way.
GoGeomatics: You attend GoGeomatics Socials in Ottawa. Why are they important to you beyond just looking for work?
Colin: They present an excellent opportunity for networking, as well as meeting your peers in a social environment.
GoGeomatics: Do you have any work on the Web or a portfolio we can share with the readers?
Colin: I used to, but sadly, the hard drive on my old desktop, as well as the external hard drive back up, both died and all data was lost.