Greetings, this is my first post on the Forum.
I have been a GIS professional for 15 years, in a variety of roles in the non-profit, pubilc, and private sectors. I am currently working for a large consulting company, working on a variety of projects, many of those with transportation planners on large infrastructure projects. I recently came to the conclusion that I'd like to go back to school for a Masters, and am in the process of information gathering to see what my best path is.
I have several important questions before I move forward, I would appreciate any thoughtful responses from experienced planners.
- I earned my Geography BA in 96', my current salary I have achieved with this degree and my experience is $57,800/year. One of the key reasons I am going back for a Masters is to increase my earning potential. What kind of salaries are possible with planning, and how do they compare with what I am making now?
- Without knowing first-hand what the process is, it appears that planners are primarily shepherding a process along, finding consensus between groups of people, rather than injecting any creativity. If I wanted to have more ability to use my creativity and imagination, would I better consider Landscape Architecture or Urban Design?
- Having said that, my interest is designing landscapes for pedestrian priority in urban revitalization areas, based on research of effective "pedestrian-priority zones" in Europe. I need to know if a planning degree is what it takes to get me there, or is Urban Design or Landscape Architecture what I am after?
- How is Urban Design different than Urban Planning? Would anyone on this list know what kind of firms or agencies hire Urban Designers?
Thank you so much in advance!
Senior GIS Analyst/Developer