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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2017, 3:45 PM
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Planning degrees & GIS

Howdy!

My first choice l"Université de Montréal, really does not have any focus on GIS or any urban planning related software. While this really doesn't interest me, I am worried that these skills are well needed in planning these days & maybe I would be better going going to Université Laval in Québec city because they are a lot more focused on the technical side of things.

I do not really plan to go work for a developer I rather focus on working for municipalities and writing policy.

So how necessary is Autocad, GIS & drafting (aka technical skills) are to be an urban planner?


Also does any one know the reputation or have an experience with the Urbanisme program at UdeM?


Thoughts?



J'ai été admis aux mes deux choix préférés pour faire mon maîtrise en planification urbaine, mais quelque chose me dérange.

Mon premier choix, l'Université de Montréal, n'a pas des cours en SIG ou des logiciels de planification urbaine. Bien que cela ne m'intéresse pas, je crains que ces compétences soient nécessaires pour planifier ces jours-là et peut-être que il serais mieux d'aller à l'Université Laval à Québec parce qu'ils sont beaucoup plus axés sur le côté technique des choses.

Bien que Laval soit une bonne école de l'U15, UdeM est le top cinq du pays 3 / 2e dans les revenus de recherche, donc je suis un peu déchiré.

Je ne prévois vraiment pas travailler pour un développeur. Je me concentre plutôt sur le travail pour les municipalités et la politique d'écriture.

Est-ce que quelqu'un connaît la réputation ou fait l'expérience du programme Urbanisme chez UdeM?


qu’est que tu pense?
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Last edited by TheGenuineArticle; Jun 3, 2017 at 10:36 PM. Reason: added french so it will show up on google searches and its located in mtl
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2017, 8:54 PM
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Getting a job with a city upon graduation is such a crap shoot. Some years there's barely a posting.
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2017, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by WhipperSnapper View Post
Getting a job with a city upon graduation is such a crap shoot. Some years there's barely a posting.
Really? I subscribe to planning job alerts cause I like reading the postings as I begin my master's degree next year and it seems like there are 2-3 new jobs every day all over Canada. A lot of them may be in places like Whitehorse or Sarnia, but they're out there. Or am I misunderstanding something?

*****************

As for GIS, I'm surprised their program doesn't have a single course on it. If you're really bullish on the UdeM, you could always take a separate GIS course at a local technical institute. I imagine all such schools have them.
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2017, 10:37 PM
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Yeah thats what I had thought as well. I see lots of jobs all across Canada.

I might not have gone through it enough, my french is not 100% so I could have missed it.

Do you think GIS, Autocad, drafting, etc is super necessary?
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2017, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by TheGenuineArticle View Post
Yeah thats what I had thought as well. I see lots of jobs all across Canada.

I might not have gone through it enough, my french is not 100% so I could have missed it.

Do you think GIS, Autocad, drafting, etc is super necessary?
As far as GIS goes, I hear different opinions. I've heard some planners say that GIS is huge and helps you stand out among the field when applying for jobs, but I've also met with planners who said that you can be a perfectly capable planner with very limited GIS knowledge—that's what the technicians are for. I myself have basic GIS ability I picked up through undergraduate courses and all I can say is it can't hurt. I'm just a student though, other practicing planners on this forum would probably have more insight to offer.

I haven't heard anything about AutoCad or drafting.
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Old Posted Jun 4, 2017, 1:11 AM
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As far as GIS goes, I hear different opinions. I've heard some planners say that GIS is huge and helps you stand out among the field when applying for jobs, but I've also met with planners who said that you can be a perfectly capable planner with very limited GIS knowledge—that's what the technicians are for. I myself have basic GIS ability I picked up through undergraduate courses and all I can say is it can't hurt. I'm just a student though, other practicing planners on this forum would probably have more insight to offer.

I haven't heard anything about AutoCad or drafting.
Yeah I always assumed if you were in a large enough company or department that they would have technicians doing that kind of stuff.
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Old Posted Jun 4, 2017, 1:41 AM
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Recent planning grad here - my job doesn't require GIS at all. I use AutoCAD and Adobe Suite a ton, but not GIS. Really depends where in the industry you are. I don't use it, but a lot of my friends use it daily.

My experience is that it's useful to know, but far from required. It's not an instant job getter, just one of many possible programs you could use in your work.
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Old Posted Jun 4, 2017, 6:58 PM
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I wouldn't worry too much about it. Most planning jobs don't require GIS, and it's easy enough to pick up if they do.

Also echoing what WS said, it's quite hard to get a job with a municipality. There are postings but there are far more planning grads than jobs I've found. I don't work in planning anymore, and I work with quite a few people who graduated from planning without ever working in the field. It's a versatile degree in that respect.
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Old Posted Jun 4, 2017, 7:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlassCity View Post
Really? I subscribe to planning job alerts cause I like reading the postings as I begin my master's degree next year and it seems like there are 2-3 new jobs every day all over Canada. A lot of them may be in places like Whitehorse or Sarnia, but they're out there. Or am I misunderstanding something?

*****************

As for GIS, I'm surprised their program doesn't have a single course on it. If you're really bullish on the UdeM, you could always take a separate GIS course at a local technical institute. I imagine all such schools have them.
Well, yeah, if you're open to relocating to Sarnia and Whitehorse than I guess there is always something out there.

I took planning for fun. I don't know if Ryerson is a good school or not. The previous grad year had quite a few hired by municipalities. My year had very few. None of my school friends were hired or ended up working in planning.
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Old Posted Jun 5, 2017, 1:19 PM
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As a planner working in a big company, I would say it is always good to have GIS and AutoCAD skills. I use AutoCAD all the time, and I used ArcGIS a few times in my 'short' career. I used it once to create a land use map. Recently I used it to verify if any dam sites in my long list were located within an ANSI area (more often than not, the data is only made available as a shapefile on the MNRF website).

GIS is not mandatory, but I recommend it. To be honest, my GIS skills were not strong but I learned most of it by myself with Google. You need a certain level, but don't bother trying to learn coding and such.

As for jobs, I have now been working in the private sector for 2.5 years. Like you, I wanted to work in the public sector, but most jobs require 5+ years experience... in the public sector. I am not sure I will ever be able to get out of the private sector one day since I am getting more and more specialized in real estate development every day. I would suggest you try to find a job with a municipality as early as possible, as an intern for example. Some municipal bodies like to hire youngsters for short term contracts, you should try that when you get out of school, you will get the experience. My advice would be: don't be picky, go anywhere for your first 1-2 years after you get out of school, that will help you greatly. So yes, there are plenty of jobs postings with municipalities in Quebec in Ontario but 95% of them require a planner with 5+ year experience in the public sector. I would say it should not be to hard to find one once you meet that criteria. For all the others, it can be a struggle.
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Old Posted Jun 7, 2017, 5:03 AM
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Originally Posted by le calmar View Post
As a planner working in a big company, I would say it is always good to have GIS and AutoCAD skills. I use AutoCAD all the time, and I used ArcGIS a few times in my 'short' career. I used it once to create a land use map. Recently I used it to verify if any dam sites in my long list were located within an ANSI area (more often than not, the data is only made available as a shapefile on the MNRF website).

GIS is not mandatory, but I recommend it. To be honest, my GIS skills were not strong but I learned most of it by myself with Google. You need a certain level, but don't bother trying to learn coding and such.

As for jobs, I have now been working in the private sector for 2.5 years. Like you, I wanted to work in the public sector, but most jobs require 5+ years experience... in the public sector. I am not sure I will ever be able to get out of the private sector one day since I am getting more and more specialized in real estate development every day. I would suggest you try to find a job with a municipality as early as possible, as an intern for example. Some municipal bodies like to hire youngsters for short term contracts, you should try that when you get out of school, you will get the experience. My advice would be: don't be picky, go anywhere for your first 1-2 years after you get out of school, that will help you greatly. So yes, there are plenty of jobs postings with municipalities in Quebec in Ontario but 95% of them require a planner with 5+ year experience in the public sector. I would say it should not be to hard to find one once you meet that criteria. For all the others, it can be a struggle.
Yeah this is sort of the strategy I'm going for. I'm obviously yet to even start my master's so a lot could still change, but I know getting a job in a big city is not easy. I am totally open to working in Whitehorse or Sarnia for a few years and gradually move up and west as possible.
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  #12  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2017, 8:28 AM
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Over the last couple of days, I did a survey for you (5 planners (3 senior) in Metro Vancouver): Autocad is very useful when starting out (that includes knowledge of drafting concepts and technical understanding); GIS is less so, but if you have it, all the better for you. What is ultimately most important is that you get a professional level of knowledge about everything to do with planning. So, history and theory might be at one end of the spectrum, CAD and GIS at the other. From where I come from, an architect does not need to be an engineer, but an architect should know plenty of engineering in order to understand the engineering that governs their projects, and to communicate in a full manner with the engineers on the project team. That is an interdisciplinary example, but within a single discipline (planning) you want to get an education that allows you to attain a solid footing in all aspects. It's not always possible to get down to a technical level on everything, but you don't ever want to be caught out - and, I don't mean embarassed, I mean "not knowing" something that's going on and be limited in your ability to respond to it. One response is to quickly determine when you need to run to the library or a mentor, so that you can perform the task you have been given.

I'll now climb back down from all that a bit: getting a good education is a limited endeavour, and the smart ones know that you can never end the process . . . there is always more to learn as your career progresses. At the start, you want to be able to see far enough down the road to clearly ascertain the fullest picture of you subject, so that you can set your own educational priorities and adapt them as you learn. The normal shift in knowledge begins with the technical output-based aspects/subjects/fields, and progresses increasingly into more conceptual/abstract and managerial areas. So, things like CAD and GIS are more important when you are young and starting. Technical skills are also harder to pick up as you go through the years, while experience should aid conceptual and managerial understanding. Conclusion: get as much CAD and GIS as is reasonable while balancing out your other subjects. You don't need to be expert, but proficiency will never hurt you. Final note: government work often has a bigger GIS component than work for private industry, though not always (like, resource infrastructure).
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Old Posted Jun 7, 2017, 1:27 PM
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Final note: government work often has a bigger GIS component than work for private industry, though not always (like, resource infrastructure).

I think this depends on the level of government. Having worked for a few municipalities and the Province I can say that in all cases we had specialized GIS people who did anything beyond the most basic analysis. Of course it's still quite useful to understand the program to give direction and be able to understand what can be done.

These were all larger places - it probably wouldn't be the case in a small municipality or consulting firm. And yes, the GIS positions in general seem to be more junior. So it's always a good skill to have.
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Old Posted Jun 8, 2017, 8:01 AM
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fully agreed
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