Dear GIS Guru,

When it comes to a portfolio or describing GIS skills on a resume, how much weight can I give class projects? 

Can I put maps I've created in the portfolio even though they were created for educational purposes?

-Kelly Duncan, Recent Grad, Penn State GIS Certificate Program, Buffalo, NY
Kelly,

Yes, you can and should include GIS projects you've completed as a student when you are first getting started in the GIS field.  As you gain work experience, you can reduce the number of student projects featured in your portfolio.  

Check out the examples below, which show 5 portfolios from different stages in my geo-journey when I had 0, 3, 4, 8, and 10 years GIS work experience.  The timeline starts at present day and works back to 2003, when I was an undergraduate trying to land my first job out of school.