David Jones is a graduate of the Masters of Geospatial Information Science and Technology (MGIST) at NC State, which he completed while working full-time between 2012-2017. Having previously studied his bachelor’s at the university and graduating in 2002 with a B.S. in Natural Resource Management – Ecosystems Assessment with a minor in Forest Management, he knew he wanted to return to his alma mater. We spoke with David to learn how his education helped his career and how he is making an impact on our world:
NC State: What is your current job information, and what are your main responsibilities and significant activities/projects?
DJ: My current job is with Technosylva as a Senior Software Analyst. Technosylva is an industry leader in advanced GIS-enabled software solutions for wildland fire protection planning, analysis and modeling; emergency response operations; and firefighter and public safety.
I am the North American product lead for Technosylva’s wildfire modeling software, Wildfire AnalystTM, which includes product sales, support and technical solutions development. Additionally, I serve as a project manager and software implementation specialist on several fiResponseTM projects – Technosylva’s agency-wide wildland fire incident and resource management, dispatching and resource-tracking software.
In my role as a software analyst, I regularly serve as an intermediary between clients and software developers, identifying client needs and communicating and supporting development of custom software solutions. This involves a diverse set of tasks, including facilitating project discussions; authoring project requirements and gap analysis reports; assembling and formatting data using a variety of software; writing database and data analysis scripts; preparing technical guides; and conducting training workshops.
I am also a nationally-qualified Incident Command System (ICS) Geographic Information Systems Specialist (GISS) and deploy to support wildfire suppression operations (as well as other disasters) all over the county.
NC State: What kind of impact does your work have, and why is it important?
DJ: My sincere hope is that the work I do has a positive impact on the prevention, management and emergency response to wildfire disasters. I believe the work we do evolves the technical and applied science needed to manage natural resources sustainably; reduce the risk of wildfire; minimize the impact of wildfire on citizens, personal property and natural resources; improve firefighter safety; and support wildfire suppression operations.
NC State: What courses, assignments or experiences at NC State enabled and prepared you to pursue the career and job you want?
DJ: I entered the MGIST with more than 10 years of applied science and GIS experience in natural resource management. My goal for participating in the MGIST program was to broaden my knowledge and skills in GIS, particularly related to remote sensing, geospatial programming and web GIS. I learned a great deal in these areas during my time at NC State, which helped to expand my technical GIS knowledge and skills and propel me forward in my career.
NC State: What would you say to someone who wanted to know more about the programs and studying at NC State?
DJ: I strongly recommend gaining work experience before pursuing an advanced degree. On-the-job experience is invaluable and provides the necessary context for how knowledge and skills gained through advanced degrees can be applied to help solve problems that society faces today.
NC State provides a diverse array of programs supported by knowledgeable and dedicated professors and staff. I have no reservations about selecting NC State as the university from which to obtain both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, and I’m confident I would not be where I am today without the education I have received here.
My sincere thanks to the professors and staff at NC State who have supported me throughout my academic journey!
Check back each month as we take a look at a different part of GIST and learn more about the students and faculty at NC State.