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Top 11 GIS Developer Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available to GIS developers, including information on the benefits and requirements for each certification.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are an important part of the job market for GIS developers, as they show employers that a candidate has a certain level of knowledge and experience in their field. Certifications demonstrate to employers that a candidate has met the industry standards and is capable of performing complex tasks related to GIS development. Additionally, certifications can help differentiate a candidate from other applicants who may lack the same qualifications. Furthermore, certifications can also provide access to professional networks and resources, which can be invaluable for career growth.

The purpose of this article is to review the best certifications for GIS Developers and explain how they can help advance a gis developer's career.

What are GIS Developer Certifications?

GIS Developer Certification is a professional credential that is designed to demonstrate an individual’s expertise in the development of Geographic Information System (GIS) applications. GIS Developers are responsible for designing and building custom applications, systems, and databases that allow organizations to collect, analyze, and visualize geospatial data. With this certification, individuals can demonstrate their understanding of the fundamentals of GIS programming, as well as their ability to develop custom GIS applications.

The certification helps employers identify qualified professionals who are knowledgeable in the field of GIS development. It provides assurance that applicants have been trained in the latest technologies and techniques used in developing GIS applications. Additionally, it serves as an indication that applicants have a thorough understanding of how GIS systems work and how best to use them for problem solving.

This certification also helps individuals stand out from the competition when searching for jobs in the field. Having a valid certification demonstrates to potential employers that applicants possess the skills necessary to perform at a high level within their organization. It also allows employers to quickly assess an applicant’s qualifications without having to conduct lengthy interviews or technical tests.

Overall, GIS Developer Certification is essential for anyone looking to enter or advance in the field of GIS development. It provides individuals with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills while helping employers make informed decisions about hiring new personnel.

Pro Tip: Before pursuing a GIS developer certification, make sure to research the requirements of the certification and the types of jobs that are available with it. This will help you determine if investing in this type of certification is worth your time and money. Additionally, consider connecting with professionals in the industry to get insight into their experience and tips for success.

Related: What does a GIS Developer do?

Top 11 GIS Developer Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to GIS Developers today.

1. Esri Certified Professional: GIS Developer Associate

Esri Certified Professional: GIS Developer Associate is a certification program offered by Esri, the world’s leading provider of geographic information system (GIS) technology. It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated proficiency in developing GIS applications using the Esri platform. This certification provides recognition for those who have achieved a level of expertise in developing GIS solutions that meet business needs and solve real-world problems.

The certification process typically takes around six months to complete, depending on the individual's experience and knowledge. To become an Esri Certified Professional: GIS Developer Associate, applicants must pass two exams: the ArcGIS Desktop Professional Exam and the ArcGIS Enterprise Administration Exam. Both exams are administered online and can be taken at any time.

The cost of becoming an Esri Certified Professional: GIS Developer Associate varies depending on which exam or exams you take. The cost for each exam is $150 USD, with discounts available for students and members of certain organizations. Additionally, there may be additional costs associated with taking practice tests or purchasing study materials to help prepare for the exams.

2. Autodesk Certified Professional: GIS Developer

Autodesk Certified Professional: GIS Developer is a certification program offered by Autodesk that validates the skills and knowledge of professionals in the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This certification is designed to demonstrate a professional’s expertise in GIS development, including creating, managing, and analyzing geographic data.

The certification process consists of two parts: an online assessment and an in-person proctored exam. The online assessment tests your knowledge of GIS concepts, principles, and best practices. The proctored exam tests your ability to apply these concepts to real-world scenarios.

To get certified as an Autodesk Certified Professional: GIS Developer, you must first complete the online assessment. After passing the assessment with a score of 80% or higher, you can then register for the proctored exam. The exam is offered at select testing centers around the world and takes approximately three hours to complete.

The cost for the Autodesk Certified Professional: GIS Developer certification varies depending on your location but typically ranges from $200-$300 USD.

3. Oracle Spatial and Graph Certified Implementation Specialist

Oracle Spatial and Graph Certified Implementation Specialist is an Oracle certification program designed to recognize professionals who have the skills and knowledge necessary to implement Oracle Spatial and Graph technologies. This certification is for individuals who are working with Oracle Database 12c, Oracle Database 18c, or Oracle Database 19c.

It takes approximately 8-10 hours to complete the certification exam. The exam consists of multiple choice questions that cover topics such as spatial data models, spatial indexing, geocoding, routing, network analysis, 3D visualization, graph analytics, and more.

To get certified as an Oracle Spatial and Graph Certified Implementation Specialist you must pass the certification exam. You can register for the exam through the Oracle Certification website. The cost of the exam varies depending on your location but typically ranges from $150-$200 USD.

Once you have passed the exam you will be awarded a digital badge that you can use to demonstrate your expertise in implementing Oracle Spatial and Graph technologies.

4. Bentley Institute Certified GIS Developer

Bentley Institute Certified GIS Developer is a professional certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to develop, implement, and maintain geographic information systems (GIS). The certification is provided by Bentley Systems, Inc., a global leader in providing software solutions for the architecture, engineering, construction, and operations industries.

It typically takes about two weeks to complete the certification process. Candidates must pass an online exam that covers topics such as GIS concepts and principles, data management techniques, spatial analysis techniques, map production techniques, and application development. After passing the exam, candidates receive their official Bentley Institute Certified GIS Developer certificate.

To get certified as a Bentley Institute Certified GIS Developer, you must first register with Bentley Systems. Once registered you can access the online course materials and take the exam. The cost of registering for the certification program is $250 USD.

5. Trimble Certified GIS Professional

Trimble Certified GIS Professional (TCGP) is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated mastery of the core skills and knowledge required to use Trimble’s Geographic Information System (GIS) software. The TCGP certification is offered by Trimble, a leading provider of GIS technology solutions.

To become certified, applicants must demonstrate their proficiency in the use of Trimble's GIS software through an online exam. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as data collection, map creation, analysis, and presentation. Applicants must score at least 75% on the exam to earn their certification.

The process typically takes between two and four weeks from start to finish. During this time, applicants will need to register for the exam, complete the online training course if necessary, take the exam, and receive their certificate upon successful completion.

The cost of becoming a Trimble Certified GIS Professional varies depending on whether or not you are already a Trimble customer or partner. For non-customers or partners, the cost is $395 USD per person; for customers or partners it is $295 USD per person.

6. Safe Software FME Certified Professional

Safe Software FME Certified Professional is a certification program that recognizes professionals who have demonstrated expertise in using Safe Software's FME platform. The FME platform is a powerful data transformation and integration tool used by organizations to move, manipulate, and analyze data from various sources.

The certification program requires applicants to pass an online exam that tests their knowledge of the FME platform. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes approximately two hours to complete. A passing score of 80% or higher is required for certification.

To get certified, applicants must first register for the exam on the Safe Software website. Once registered, applicants can take the online exam at any time and from any location with an internet connection. The cost of the certification exam is $150 USD.

Once completed, applicants will receive their results within 24 hours and will be notified if they have passed or failed the exam. Those who pass will receive a certificate of completion as well as access to exclusive resources such as webinars, tutorials, and product updates from Safe Software.

7. Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA): Database Fundamentals

Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) is a certification program designed to provide individuals with the fundamentals of technology and help them develop their skills in specific Microsoft technologies. The MTA Database Fundamentals certification is designed to provide an understanding of core database concepts, including relational databases, database objects, data manipulation, and data storage. It also covers basic SQL queries and data management using Transact-SQL.

The MTA Database Fundamentals exam takes approximately 90 minutes to complete and consists of 40-60 multiple choice questions. To get the MTA Database Fundamentals certification, you must pass the exam with a score of 700 or higher out of 1000 points.

You can take the MTA Database Fundamentals exam at any Pearson VUE testing center or online through Pearson VUE's website. The cost for the exam is $127 USD.

8. GeoMedia Professional Certification Program

GeoMedia Professional Certification Program is a certification program offered by Intergraph, the world’s leading provider of GIS and mapping software. The program is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of proficiency in the use of GeoMedia products.

The GeoMedia Professional Certification Program consists of two levels: Level 1 and Level 2. To obtain either level of certification, an individual must successfully complete a series of exams that cover topics such as data management, geospatial analysis, cartography, and application development.

Level 1 certification can be obtained after completing three exams and takes approximately one month to complete. Level 2 certification requires passing four additional exams and takes approximately three months to complete.

The cost for the GeoMedia Professional Certification Program varies depending on the number of exams taken. Each exam costs $150 USD, so taking all seven exams would cost $1050 USD total.

In order to register for the GeoMedia Professional Certification Program, individuals must first create an account on Intergraph’s website and then purchase the appropriate exam vouchers from their online store. Once purchased, they will receive instructions on how to schedule their exams with Pearson VUE, Intergraph’s official testing partner.

9. ESRI ArcGIS Desktop Professional Certification

ESRI ArcGIS Desktop Professional Certification is a certification program offered by ESRI, the world’s leading geographic information system (GIS) software provider. This certification is designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate advanced proficiency in using the ESRI ArcGIS Desktop software suite.

The ESRI ArcGIS Desktop Professional Certification exam consists of two parts: an online assessment and a proctored exam. The online assessment covers topics such as geodatabases, map projections, geoprocessing tools, and other GIS concepts. The proctored exam covers more advanced topics such as spatial analysis and cartography.

In order to become certified, you must pass both the online assessment and the proctored exam with a score of 80% or higher on each part. The entire process typically takes about two to three months from start to finish.

The cost of the ESRI ArcGIS Desktop Professional Certification program varies depending on your country of residence but generally ranges from $200-$500 USD for both parts of the exam.

10. Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Services Certification

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Services Certification is an international certification program designed to ensure that OGC-compliant web services are interoperable and conform to the OGC standards. It is a voluntary program that provides a way for organizations to demonstrate their commitment to providing quality, reliable, and interoperable geospatial services.

To get certified, companies must submit their web service for testing by the OGC Compliance & Interoperability Testing Program (CITE). The CITE program tests the submitted services against the OGC standards and reports back on their compliance. Once the service passes all of the tests, it will be granted certification from the OGC.

The process typically takes about two weeks from submission to certification, depending on how quickly you submit your service for testing. To get certified, you will need to register with the OGC and complete an application form. The cost of certification varies depending on the type of service being tested, but typically ranges from $500-$1000 USD.

11. Global Mapper Software Certification Program

The Global Mapper Software Certification Program is a comprehensive training program designed to help users become proficient in the use of Global Mapper, a powerful GIS and mapping software. The program consists of two levels: Level 1 and Level 2.

Level 1 covers basic concepts and skills related to working with the software, such as creating maps, editing data, performing analysis, and more. It typically takes about 8-10 hours to complete all of the lessons in Level 1.

Level 2 focuses on more advanced topics such as customizing the user interface, scripting, 3D visualization, and working with LiDAR data. This level usually takes 10-12 hours to complete.

To get certified in Global Mapper Software Certification Program you must complete both Levels 1 and 2 of the program. You can do this by either attending an instructor-led course or by taking self-paced online courses available through Blue Marble Geographics (the makers of Global Mapper).

The cost for the certification program varies depending on which option you choose. For instructor-led courses you will need to contact Blue Marble directly for pricing information; however, self-paced online courses are available for a one-time fee of $299 USD per person.

Do You Really Need a GIS Developer Certificate?

GIS (Geographic Information System) developers are responsible for creating and managing geographic data, which is used for a variety of applications. GIS developers need to be knowledgeable in a variety of software programs and have an understanding of the underlying principles of GIS. With the increasing demand for GIS professionals, many organizations are now offering certification programs to help individuals become certified GIS developers.

In general, having a GIS developer certificate can certainly benefit someone looking to break into the industry or advance their current career. Having a certificate demonstrates that you have a certain level of knowledge and expertise in GIS that makes you more attractive to potential employers. Additionally, some organizations require certification in order to be considered for certain positions or promotions.

However, whether or not you need a GIS developer certificate depends on your individual situation and goals. For example, if you already have several years of experience working with GIS software and understand the fundamentals behind it, then obtaining a certificate may not be necessary. On the other hand, if you are just starting out in the industry or trying to move up within an organization then having a certificate could give you an edge over other candidates who do not have one.

Ultimately, it is important to weigh all factors before deciding if getting a GIS developer certificate is right for you. The cost associated with obtaining one should also be taken into consideration as well as any other resources that may be available to help you learn about GIS without formal certification such as online courses or tutorials.

Related: GIS Developer Resume Examples

FAQs About GIS Developer Certifications

Q1. What is a GIS Developer Certification?

A1. A GIS Developer Certification is a professional certification program that demonstrates a person’s knowledge and experience in developing Geographic Information System (GIS) applications. The certification is offered by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS).

Q2. How do I become certified as a GIS Developer?

A2. To become certified as a GIS Developer, you must pass the ASPRS Certified GIS Professional (CGIP) exam, which consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as geographic data models, GIS software development, system architecture, spatial analysis, cartography, and more.

Q3. What are the benefits of becoming certified?

A3. Becoming certified as a GIS Developer offers numerous benefits including increased job opportunities, higher salaries, greater credibility with employers, and more recognition within the industry. Additionally, being certified can help to demonstrate your knowledge in this field to potential employers or clients.

Q4. How long does it take to become certified?

A4. It typically takes around 6-12 months to complete all of the requirements necessary for certification. This includes studying for and passing the CGIP exam as well as completing any additional training or courses required by your employer or organization.

Q5. Is there an expiration date on my certification?

A5. Yes, certifications typically expire after 5 years from when they were issued unless they are renewed beforehand or extended by your employer or organization. It is important to keep track of your expiration date so you can renew your certification before it expires in order to remain current in this field and maintain its associated benefits.