The last years I have wondered many times what are the skills a GIS Expert needs to have. I have studied Geology and upon that I did my master in Geoinformatics. Although right now is clear for me what a GIS Expert does, I still find my self wondering how far a GIS guy needs to "go" regarding learning new libraries or frameworks. Perhaps my question can be rephrased to: Is a GIS Expert a Software Developer? Or should he be?
Its obvious that GIS Expert has to know a lot of different things such
- One or two GIS packages
- Spatial DBs
- Scripting (Python, PHP)
- Web Services (WMS etc.)
- Web Development Languages/Libraries (for WEBGis)
Actually the above are my skills. It takes lots of time to master them and feel secure using them but I realize that more and more new technologies come in the game.
For example I know how to use OpenLayers API or googlemaps API together with EXTJs and GeoExt. I did several projects on them and I spent considerably amount of time to become good at them. Now I see other projects using technologies such as GeoDjango or JQuery UI, which I have never used before.
Similarly with PHP. I've been using it for writing scripts to create workflows. Should I go the next level and learn a framework such as Symfony?
Where does the field of a GIS Expert stops and the field of Software Developer starts?
I hope I illustrated my questions clear enough.