Bronco Spotlight: Ryan Taylor
Geospatial Analyst at Maxar Technologies
I use the Refined Persistent-change Model (RPM) to detect human infrastructure changes on the Earth's surface. This involves masking cloud, shadow, and ice interference on Sentinel and Landsat imagery in order to produce a consistent output using the program ERDAS Imagine. The AI-assisted production workflow is monitored and managed through a program called GeoCue. This is a complicated algorithm that requires a lot of attention to detail to be successful. I also perform quality control analysis as the 'last line of defense' before our product is sent to the client.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?
The most rewarding part is working within my field and doing something I am actually interested in while supporting myself financially in the process. In my internship, I did a lot of field work, so I would say for me, the most challenging part is transitioning from getting field experience to sitting in an office all day.
What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?
Get involved with your professors. That can be hard in a 150+ student lecture, but in small courses where they learn your name, get involved. It can be awkward or uncomfortable, but they're just people too! I personally had the unique opportunity to complete a funded undergraduate research study with a professor of mine who served as my mentor. I truly believe that the project pushed me above all the other candidates while I was undergoing the interview process. Ask questions, utilize office hours (everyone tells you that, but I'm serious), get to know them. They want to see you succeed, and will do everything to get you there.
What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours?
This field is incredibly competitive. Take what you can manage, utilize what resources you can, and talk about it. Take certification courses online to expand your skill-set outside what you've learned in the classroom (I took an SQL course, and I plan on taking Python and AutoCAD courses soon) to put yourself above others. It might cost you some money, but the investment is worth it. Don't limit yourself to one or two areas of job hunting, be as open as you can. I had to up and move extremely quickly to start this position, and it was the best decision I've made. Don't hesitate on a good opportunity because in the moment that you do, the position will be swallowed up by someone more willing, spontaneous, and proactive.