So, a month ago, the GIS Certificate Institute issued a news release detailing some up-coming changes to their GIS Professional certification (a.k.a. the GISP). Before, you needed a portfolio showing at least four years of experience in GIS, plus some education hours and your documented contributions to GIS. As of July 2015, applicants will also need to pass an exam to join the GISP club. Also, GISCI will require certification renewal ever three years instead of five, and they’ll up the cost of membership.
I think these changes to the GISP are needed. A competency exam makes the GISP certification more legitimate. You have to know what a projection is, and how it can screw up editing jobs on Google/Bing/ESRI basemap. It makes what we do look more like a legitimate profession.
But looking more closely at the requirements, I believe that a GISP isn’t for me. I don’t take this lightly, because I’ve been keeping up with documentation for my portfolio submission the past 7+ years. With my book, I’ll have the contribution requirements, and if ESRI will offer some more free web courses, I can finish the education component.
Why am I giving up on a certification that I’ve been striving for the last 7 years? It’s not because of the test. I can blast through any test you throw my way. Honestly, it’s because the cost isn’t worth it in my current position.
Currently, a GISP certification costs $250 for your first five years. After July 1st, five years of certification will cost $1375. That’s way more than I want to spend on a certification that might or might not help me.
I work with a smart group of people, and some of them have GISP certifications. I’m happy to work under the umbrella of their experience and certification at this time. I’m not in a position where that certification will help me.
If I’m in a position where I need the certification to showcase my skills, and it’s worth the cost, I’ll go for it. Until then, the GISP is too rich for me.