At the introductory level you will learn all about the basic functionality available within your chosen GIS package. All the popular desktop systems have many features in common so learning how to use one will stand you in good stead if you also need to use alternative solutions. The most popular desktop GIS include ArcMap, MapInfo and QGIS. Both ArcMap and MapInfo are what is known as proprietary systems. ArcMap and MapInfo are both well documented and supported by their respective suppliers and are purchased both directly and through agents. QGIS is open source software and as such is available for download without any cost implications. However, whilst the software is free you are still expected to abide by the terms and conditions of open source licencing.
Many organisations are now using a combination of open source and proprietary software to meet their specific requirements. Both local and national governments are now expecting departments to evaluate both proprietary and open source software to ensure that the most cost effective solution is provided.
Whatever GIS solution is decided upon, in order to achieve the most benefit, it is essential to set aside sufficient budget to train staff properly so that they can make optimum use of the chosen system.