17 :: Learn all the things?

I have tried to establish reasonable learning goals for this adventure.  I have pledged to concentrate my programming learning towards JavaScript (so as to take advantage of the many JavaScript libraries one uses in web mapping). So I’m not being over ambitious and setting myself on a course to become a full-stack developer or giving myself a ridiculous time line of 8 weeks to learn the basics.

And yet working towards web mapping proficiency is still still a daunting subject, as it takes a whole set of skills: just see what is being asked for in this job position for a GIS Developer at the University of Toronto / Scholars Portal:


  • Four-year degree in computer science or four-year degree in geography with a strong background in GIS and computational geomatics required, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Additional college level diploma in GIS techniques and technology is an asset.


  • A minimum of 4 years experience working with geospatial data in a development role; hands-on experience with a broad range of commercial (e.g. ArcGIS 9/10) and open source GIS software; demonstrated experience working with spatial and relational databases (e.g. Oracle, SQLServer or PostgreSQL).
  • Experience developing web-based applications using server-side development tools and frameworks such as Java, PHP, Ruby and Python and client-side Javascript and AJAX libraries such as Dojo, JQuery and Bootstrap.
  • Proficiency with web-mapping tools, including Javascript libraries and APIs (e.g. ArcGIS Javascript API, OpenLayers API, Google Maps API) and web-based map and data services.
  • Familiarity working with XML from a developer perspective, including use of common APIs for parsing and querying XML data sources.
  • Experience using software-versioning tools, issue-tracking tools, testing frameworks, and other team development tools.


  • User-centered, web-design skills using HTML, CSS, and responsive web-design techniques.
  • Effective skills in communicating technical information verbally and in writing to expert and non-expert audiences.
  • Excellent organizational skills; self-motivated with an ability to meet schedules and deadlines.
  • Ability to work collaboratively as part of a team, including debugging and troubleshooting other programmers’ code.


  • Solid understanding of core cartographic concepts including coordinate systems, projections, and cartographic design principles.
  • Familiarity with the concepts of spatial and data literacy and its relevance within an educational environment.
  • Solid understanding of Open Geospatial Consortium standards and their application to developing interoperable GIS applications.
  • Knowledge of project management/productivity management techniques including agile software development processes.

More items for my “to learn” list!

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