Congratulations to our July Alumni of the Month, Jonathan Rayer! Jonathan graduated in 2015 from our Master of Professional Studies GIS program. Currently, he works at ArdentMC as a HIFLD Data Manager supporting the Geospatial Management Office (GMO) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
What is a recent project that you have worked on that you have drawn on skills from the MPS program? A big part of this position involves managing and manipulating data on ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Online, and Portal for ArcGIS. One of the skills that I learned from the MPS program is the Python scripting language which I use on a consistent basis to help manage data both on desktop and online through various APIs. A recent project I worked on was standing up an Open Data site through ArcGIS Online to support the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
How have the skills you have learned in the MPS program helped you progress in your career? The skills I learned in the MPS program gave me a wide range of concepts that allowed me to grow my foundational GIS knowledge. The technical and writing skills I’ve learned have given me the confidence to contribute to numerous government GIS projects at both the Census Bureau and Department of Homeland Security.
What drew you to the MPS GIS program at Maryland? What drew me to the MPS GIS program was the strong reputation the program has, as well as its flexibility for the working professional.
What advice can you give current and prospective students about the MPS program? The program allows you to become familiar with a wide range of GIS products and concepts that you would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience. The program does not make you an expert on any of the products or concepts, but makes you aware of their capabilities.
What recommendations would you make to current students for career and academic success after graduation? The biggest part of success after graduation is being able to talk about your craft and communicate your goals, ideas, and passions to others. Having the technical capability to do a task is not the whole picture; showing that you have a passion for what you do demonstrates that you will do anything to achieve your goals. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and pursue a project or position you aren’t qualified for; taking those steps is how you grow personally and professionally.
What are some of your hobbies/interests?
- Weight lifting
Anything else you'd like to add? Dr. Resop is the best.