Navigating the Esri Academy

With 2020 winding down and 2021 on the way, it is a great time to start thinking about professional and personal goals. What skills and tools are you looking to add to your collection? Do you want to work towards a certification? The Esri Academy platform is a great resource to help you get started and plan out your road for learning success.

Finding Your Bearings

Content on the Esri Academy includes instructor-led courses, tutorials, videos, MOOCs, whitepapers, and more. As technology changes, so does the platform’s content; you can keep up-to-date on changes through the New and Retired Training Options page. There are three pricing distinctions to be aware of while looking at content, all of which are options you can filter by to help with your searching.

  • Free – The content items marked as free are just that, free! There are currently over 375 training resources that are open to anyone for use.
  • Requires Maintenance – This refers to any user that is part of an organization that is current in their maintenance payments to Esri. By keeping up to date on your maintenance payments you are given access to over 250 training resources at no additional cost.
  • Paid/Instructor-Led – These are courses that are led by Esri’s Instructors who are experts on their instruction topic. There is an additional cost for these courses, and they are well worth it for the information you can gain from a course. From Introduction to GIS Using ArcGIS to ArcGIS Enterprise: Administration Workflows, there is something for everyone.


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are a great way to learn a topic from experts for a few hours a week for 4-6 weeks. These courses are free and combine instructional videos with hands-on tutorials to help you gain experience with that week’s topic. Each week builds on previous content and allows you to take as much time as you need to work through the material. You do receive a certificate upon completion of the course, a great addition to your portfolio. Here is the schedule so far of Esri MOOCs for 2021.

Esri promotional video for Cartography MOOC.
  • Cartography – February 3 – March 17, 2021
    • Once, only cartographers made maps. Today, anyone can. Still, cartographers can teach people to make better maps, just as chefs can show people how to prepare better meals. With coaching from accomplished cartographers and practical, hands-on exercises, you’ll become a smarter mapmaker, ready to go beyond the defaults and produce engaging maps that communicate with impact.
  • Do-It-Yourself Geo Apps – March 31 – April 28, 2021
    • You don’t have to be a software developer to build valuable geo-enabled apps that make your communities smarter and businesses more successful. Learn how to combine location and narrative in one application to better communicate and broadcast your story, create custom web applications that solve problems in your community, and build powerful native applications for iOS and Android devices without touching a piece of code. If you are a developer, you’ll be interested in Esri’s APIs, SDKs, and the buzzing GeoDev community.
  • The Location Advantage – April 14 – May 26, 2021
    • Discover how location analytics gives organizations data-driven insight that leads to a competitive advantage. This course shows how to leverage the locational component of business data to better understand markets, customers, risk, and growth potential. You’ll work with ArcGIS Business Analyst Web App software to perform market analysis; visualize demographic, customer, and competitor data; and share analysis insights with decision-makers using engaging maps and information products.

Learning Plans

My favorite feature of the Esri Academy platform is the learning plans. These are groupings of courses created by curriculum experts at Esri and by the GIS community. There is a learning plan for almost any topic, from getting started with GIS to administering ArcGIS Enterprise to preparing for an Esri certification. If you are not able to find a learning plan that meets your needs, you can create your own! Plans can then be shared with other users, published for the wider GIS community to use, or assigned to a user to track their progress. Here are a few of my favorite learn plans I recommend checking out.

Bonus Learning Opportunity: Virtual Conferences

Looking ahead to 2021, we are seeing that conferences scheduled for early in the year will be held virtually. With the conferences being held online you can attend from the comfort of your home/office and not need to worry about the travel portion. This is a great opportunity to learn about the latest and greatest technology, talk with product experts, and network with the GIS community. Here are a few to watch out for in early 2021.

Person standing before three monitors with code on them. Man is looking out the window to the right at a city.
  • Geodesign Summit – February 9–10, 2021
    • Esri’s annual Geodesign Summit continues the conversation around a holistic approach to building smarter communities with a focus on climate change. This is a chance to expand your professional network, learn best practices, learn about new technologies, and apply solutions to your real-world problems.
  • Federal GIS Conference – February 22–24, 2021
    • The Federal GIS Conference is an event for users, developers, and partners working with governmental agencies. It covers all things Esri with a focus on solutions for the Federal Government. 
  • Developer Summit (DevSummit) – March 9–11, 2021
    • The Esri Developer Summit (DevSummit) is an annual event traditionally held in early March. It is an opportunity to take your GIS to the next level with advanced mapping technology and cutting-edge apps.

Want to set-up training plans for your organization but not sure where to start? Connect with us at to discuss how we can help!

Solution Engineer

Michelle is a passionate and self-starting GIS professional looking to change the world with mapping. She works with our Enterprise team, supporting the daily operations of our GEOPowered Cloud.