Most times, we read about great men and women who have voyaged worldwide and sojourned into other lands. We read stories of great men like Mungo Park, a Scottish explorer that discovered the River Niger in Nigeria around 1796.
These explorers spend months at high sea or through deserts and wilderness to discover whatever comes across their part. Most of these geographers, such as Livingstone and Sir Francis Drake, were only armed with astrolabes, compasses, and good eyes for observation to map out the world.
In the process, they came, saw, and conquered, thereby laying claims to these lands and reaping treasures for their home countries. But as fun and exciting as it seems those years, the sad thing about it is that it is now in the past but does that prevent new geographers from exploring the new world at this present generation?
The answer is no!
Modern-day Geographers still have the opportunity to explore more and build on that past discoveries. Therefore as people travel, they encounter different environments and people. Such variations are intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking.
Why do people and places differ is now what ignites the study of geography? Superprof is here to help light your path as you push ahead to earn a degree in geography and show you how this degree can be a lucrative career path.
Career Prospects for a Geography Degree?
Globalization and development have made us understand that geography is much more than the description of the earth and states' capitals. Geography entails more than the study of the shape of land features, maps, and topography.
Geography is divided into two broad categories, which include human geography and physical geography.
Under human geography, one can specialize in the following areas.
- Regional Geography: This area of geography focuses on humans interplay in relation to the different aspects of a region
- Economic Geography: This area of human geography deals with the way economic activities are organized and distributed across the world.
- Cultural Geography: This aspect of geography is designed to analyses cultural mores and the material aspects of human life across the different world regions.
- Political Geography: This is the study of different countries related to their possessions, boundaries, and borders.
- Social Geography: In this area of geography, the study focuses on the different social factors as it relates to our environment.
- Urban Geography: It studies the urban lifestyle and built environment.
On the other hand, the physical branch of geography looks at the following speciality.
- Biogeography: This involves the study of ecosystems and organisms as it relates to some specific geological eras and location
- Environmental Geography: This is related to the relationship that exists between people and their environments
- World Regional Geography: This involves the study of the world regions as seen from the geographical perspectives
- Phytogeography: it involves the study of the distribution of plants.
This shows that the choice of geography as a career path is far-reaching and encompassing since it is interrelated to almost all other subspecialties of the discipline. An example is a geographer seeking to study Africa's social geography but needing the input and partnership of an environmental geographer to help him get a holistic view of the subject matter.
Another career path for a geographer who is not too keen to travel from one country to the other is a degree in urban planning. Visualize the landscape of Abuja metropolis, Lagos highbrow areas such as Lekki and Banana Island – then guess which people with what degree mapped it out.
Know that you can work as a private individual or in a government office if you pursue a geography degree.
Importance of Human Geography
The world's focus in today's changing climate is clearly on climate change, leading to a huge demand for climatologists and meteorologists' services. With this increase in the need for the services of these specialists such as climatologists, the question on the lips of almost every interested individual and organization is, “where then will these specialists turn to”?
The ideal people these climatologists is expected to depend on for this world solution includes:
- Glaciologists: These are scientists trained to study, track, measure, and record ice sheet and glacier activity. The job also involves measuring the amount of ice that melted, their movement, and its impact on the surrounding environment.
- Pedologists: Climatologists also rely on these geography specialists to analyze the soil and how it interacts with the climate. This also involves how temperatures affect organisms and minerals inside the soil.
Also, due to the alarming rise in the rate of sea level, seawater temperature, and the amount of ice melt arising from the polar caps, there is a need for oceanographers and coastal geography to furnish the climatologists with the needed information.
The coastal geographers also help track and map human interaction with coastal waters, measure the sea level rises, build retained walls, and measure sediment movement.
All these interdisciplinary are of much importance in today’s world as it relates to physical geography.
Other Jobs One Can Do With a Geography Degree
Like we stated earlier, geography is not all about travelling from one country, deserts, seas, and cataloging everything you met on your way. It involves deeper aspects that would involve staying in an office and still enjoying your job as a geographer.
As a geographer, you can stay right where you are presently and help to develop your community. This would involve you specializing in an area that can help you in urban development. Fortunately, their hundreds of geography courses and specialization one can earn a bachelor's or doctorate in the university? This will help to put you where you wish to be.
Some courses that you can consider in-line with geographer courses that won’t require you to be travelling about include
- Urban and regional planning: Here, you might be expected to work for the government or work as a private contractor. Either way, you are expected to help cities make the best use of land and resources. As an urban and regional planner, you might be called upon to help the government tackle the environmental problem besieging your cities, such as those currently faced in cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt. As a result of traffic issues, the government might be looking for where to put new roads, intersection, and plan where to build new schools and markets.
- Cartographer: Other students of geography might wish to specialize in the area of cartography. This career field is what most un-informed people see as the major job of a geographer due to the early job description of explorers. But presently, as a cartographer, you can still help the state and the federal government to produce maps. You can also help to produce atlases and information for travel agencies. But note that the nature of the job of a cartographer might require you to travel a lot as you may be commissioned to draw a map of Eastern or Northern Nigeria. This job will require collaboration with a surveyor as he might need to show the demarcating line between Eastern Nigerian and Western Nigeria for an accurate rendering.
- GIS Specialist: This area of speciality, known as Geographic Information Systems, uses technology to collect, manage, analyze, and model geographic data for an informed decision. As a GIS expert, you can work in an office and help your company build databases of coordinates and compile satellite imagery. You can also work as a spatial analyst or help to create maps for general education courses.
- Geography Teacher: Studies have shown a dearth of geography and earth science teachers in secondary schools in Nigeria. This is most especially seen in A-Level or GCSE geography classes. Therefore you can become a secondary school teacher in the classroom or a private geography tutor. As a classroom teacher, you are expected to undertake coursework and fieldwork during your undergraduate or postgraduate level. This knowledge and skills will help you to become a professional teacher.
- Lecturer and researcher: Also, know that you can also teach geography at the university level. As a postgraduate level lecturer, you will be a chance to have a further opportunity to lead a research team and possibly even publish your findings in any local or foreign journals.
- Academic Writer: As it relates to carrying out research works and writing, there are loads of opportunities waiting for anyone with a degree in geographer. As an authority in this field of science, you can write authoritative articles on travels or other areas of environmental science. These articles can be seen in science publications either in print or online.
Whether you choose to specialize in the highly engaging climatology and meteorology fields as your geography career path or the non-engaging aspects of geography such as Geographic Information Science (GIS), Geography Secondary School Teacher or Tutor, Academic Writer or a Lecturer and Researcher, the course is there for you.
You can jump into this innovative and fun science course by connecting with a geography tutor on today's Superprof platform.