A career in the GIS industry

Joining Beacon Dodsworth as a graduate

Leaving university and finding your feet in your desired career can be terrifying! Particularly when you join a small, close knit team like I did. But here I am three months into my first professional software developer job with Beacon Dodsworth, and I love it.

The initial step from student life (York University) to full-time employment is a big one, but it’s not nearly as bad as you might think. Starting at Beacon Dodsworth I thought I was way out of my depth and had to find answers to some pretty big questions such as:

  • What’s GIS?
  • How does all this technical software work?
  • And, just as important, how does everyone like their tea!?

Well, now I know that these reactions are normal and that I didn’t have anything to worry about. I also know how everyone likes their tea.

I’ve learnt more in 3 months working as a professional developer than I did in my entire last year as a Computer Scientist. I’ve found that going to work is the best possible learning environment and I’ve learnt numerous skills since starting.

Beacon Dodsworth logo

Daniel Pearson

One of things I’ve been learning is Structured Query Language (SQL), which is one of the main database programming languages. Despite starting with no experience in that language whatsoever I have become quite proficient having started with simple tasks, like finding the most Northerly postcode in Yorkshire, or finding out how many postcode sectors are in York.

I’ve also just finished my first proper assignment as a software developer, processing data for our new TimeTravel (drive time data) update. This involved manipulating millions of data records to create something useful that we can employ to help our clients.

Completing a task of that magnitude has made me feel part of the team, like I’m producing good work for my company, and that’s rewarding. I’m fitting in well with my colleagues, even if they are fattening me up with Friday morning pastries and the ‘bring cake in after a holiday’ ritual.

I’m being eased in with simple tasks and I really feel like I’m progressing. Although I might not be independently working or coding like a wizard, I’m learning every day and that’s all that’s asked of me.

I know that shortly I will be learning more C# and JavaScript and using these to build products and answer the difficult geographical questions that our clients like to pose.
That’s exciting.

Danny - Junior Software Developer

P.S. Danny has made an excellent start, picking things up quickly, and will become an increasingly important part of the technical team. John Dodsworth - Director.

Our blogs

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Using geographic intelligence to sustainably grow the UK’s broadband network.

All you need to know about postcodes but were afraid to ask

The humble postcode has been around for years. We look at how postcodes are used and what led to their introduction.

Living Costs and Food Survey

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Using Beacon Dodsworth's scripting technology to showcase demographic and geographic trends.

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Exploring consumer habits around baked goods using lifestyle data and geodemographic profiling unlocks a range of opportunities.

What is GIS software?

GIS software is a problem-solving toolkit that will effectively enable you to manage large datasets for example from your customer database, understand locations and present information.

A career in the GIS industry

Three months into my first professional software developer job with Beacon Dodsworth, and I love it.

Household spend on fruit and vegetables

Using GIS mapping to visualise, analyse and present data in a geographical context.

What has the census ever done for us?

How Census 2011 can be used to help organisations with demographic analysis.

Geodemographics and the University of East London

The University of East London explain how they have been using our P² People & Places geodemographic classification.

Mapping GP prescription data

An article by Allan Brimicombe (Head of Centre for Geo-Information Studies at the University of East London) & Pat Mungroo on using GP prescription data to understand health needs.

Postcode to postcode drive time and distance

What happens if we want a postcode to postcode drive time lookup table?

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