3 HUGE reasons you need to focus on THIS in GIS to get a head (The answer is System, check this out)

I love geographic information systems! The creativity in map design, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross-industry power are amazing.

But I also know this…

GIS IS EASY (if you let it… or don’t know any better)

Click here do that… it is all GIS is… if you are not careful!

I have worked in companies where “GIS” (I put it in quotes for a reason) is used only as “Make a map for that” group. Without analytics or science behind it… maps and GIS are easy.

I have also worked in companies where people doing GIS work have zero training and get by doing the basics. Clip a line? Yup. Add points? Yup. Make a polygon? Yup. Spatial analytics for proximity analysis? Nope.

In these cases, no one takes GIS to the next level because they don’t know how, or worse… they don’t need to… because GIS is easy.

I have said this before a few times, but it is a fact that we as GIS folks must accept. In fact, knowing this will help you win your future GIS battles.

Knowing is half the battle.
Knowing is half the battle.

This is where I really started to think… how do I get ahead in GIS?

The soltuion are two words that means so much…

Build Systems

The solution is build systems. The systems I am talking about are a set of principles or procedures to which you complete your GIS work.

Build GIS systems

What is a GIS system?

When I was a GIS analyst, I noticed I was doing the same things over and over again when projects started up. I would receive a location for analysis, create project foldes, build the database, create maps, create infographics, and send out a PowerPoint document.

So, I created a “Project Start Up” system with a set of principles and procedures that needed to be followed.

I further noticed that consistent procedures and principles happend at many stages during project. In many cases, when the projects where in different locations, all required similar actions, similar data, similar analysis… you get the picture..

So, I created stages of systems. “Start Up”, “Production” and “Completion”. I created steps for each, documents for each, and procedures for each.

I also learned to be flexible because not all projects were equal in scope or importance. Projects also were different due to location, data limitations, and time. But I still had a system to rely on.

I learned three very important lessons I learned while creating these GIS systems that I will share with you now.

Being Organized Matters

When you develop systems for your GIS, you become hyper-organized.

Being organized matters

Being organized is very important for GIS folks. We need to know where our data is, what it is, and how we got the data. This will set you appart form the ramdon GIS users that get by with the basiscs.

Structured Thinking -> Creative Thinking

With a system in place, you can start thinking in steps and procedures and know how long and when projecst will be complete… and then break the system (or side step it)

know the rules, structure the rules, then break them
know the rules, structure the rules, then break them

Once you know how things work, your creativity can sky rocket because you know how to change things up and why to change them up.

Building a strcuture system to enhance creativity sound strange, but it works.

System creation is more important GIS skills

The biggest take away I realized while developing systems for my GIS, is that systems building is needed in EVERYTHING and well into the future..

Systems can be used in everything to get stuff done.
Systems can be used in everything to get stuff done.

While you think GIS is going to be your career, in many cases it wont be. 80% of people change their careers every 5 years (me included).

Understanding how to develop systems in what ever job or endeavor your do is massively important.

You may only be spatial selecting data for the next 5 years, but you will need to be able to simplify and create systems forever.

Start now to get ahead.

and Have fun!

Check out my YouTube channel here.

I have shirts available on my Teespring store if you would like to support me.

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How 280 character limit can get you a job in GIS, or how I learned to simplify my GIS and so can you!

I love geographic information systems! The creativity in map design, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross-industry power are amazing.

Also, I love social media… well “love” may be too strong of a word. But social media is extremely useful, especially for GIS.

Social media and GIS go hand in hand
Social media and GIS go hand in hand.

In fact, social media and GIS are perfect matches. I was talking to a friend of mine and she said:

“GIS and Social Media are essentially the same things”. 

Think about it this way, both social media and GIS are about getting and holding peoples attention.

GIS is about data, directions, locations, people, and ideas.

Social media is about cats (also data, directions, locations, people and ideas.)

What makes social media so effective can also make your GIS effective.

Social media can make your GIS 10x more effective
Social media can make your GIS 10x more effective

Social media puts emphasis on images, character limits and flashy headlines to attract long-form reading.

Here are a quick set of “rules” for social media.

  1. People like images more than text.
  2. People like short text more than long text.
  3. People like long texts.

These are (almost) identical to rules in showing off your GIS!

Let me explain.

I have more information in my book, Permissionless GIS: Double Your GIS Interviews NOW.

Show, Don’t Tell (Images)

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Show. don't tell. It is obviously more effective.
Show. don’t tell. It is obviously more effective.

Humans are visual creatures with 50%+ of our brains dedicated to visual processing. 

If you have the choice between explaining anything in words or creating an image, always create an image. This is a great way to show off you GIS skills and get noticed.

Use $100 words and phrases (Character Limit)

There is a concept of $5 words and $100 words. $5 are boring, $100 have real power and emotion to them.

Here are set of $5 words with $100 words next to them.

$5$100
CarPorsche
IncreasedExplode
HouseMansion
$5 words versus $100 words
The proper use of images, works and detail makes social media and  your GIS more effective
The proper use of images, works and detail makes social media and your GIS more effective

Here are some typical $5 phrases version $100 phrases

$5$100
I make mapsI save lives
Team PlayerPlanned GIS festival
Python programmerAutomate field operations
$5 phrases versus $100 phrases

This is where a 280 character limit forces you to use emotion and be precise.

280 characters to tell a great story.

Details Details Details

Imagery and emotional words draw people in. But what keeps them around is detail and complexity. Know these things is half the battle.

Knowing is half the battle.
Knowing is half the battle.

That is one of the strange things about the world right now. We have short attention spans where we will scroll through social media mindlessly. We laugh at cat pictures one minute, cry at a baby picture the next, and then are amazed at a bottle flipping video.

However, there is another trend that shows just how deeply people want real content. This trend is the rise of long-form podcasts, multi seasons spanning television dramas, epic book series, and intertwining movie universes.

People may, at first, come for the cat pictures (or in the case of GIS, imagery analysis), but they will stay for your insights. Your GIS skill in data analysis, connection building, and writing can shine online.

It is a dichotomy here between short attention spans and deep understanding. But this is where we as GIS people can shine. Knowing and understanding each stage of this attention-grabbing world will make you a much better GIS person.

Have fun!

Check out my YouTube channel here.

I have shirts available on my Teespring store if you would like to support me.

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Which GIS software should you use? Here is a hint… ALL of them (because you can use all of them)… hear me out.

I love geographic information systems! The creativity in map design, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross industry power is amazing.

First off, I love ESRI, but I can use QGIS.

Second, I learned a very valuable lesson when I was unemployed in GIS… for MONTHS about GIS software.

Before I developed Permissionless GIS which doubled my GIS job interviews and landed me an amazing job, I made a huge mistake in my GIS interviews.

Big mistake: Saying you don't like some GIS software
Big mistake: Saying you don’t like some GIS software

This mistake was so bad, that I was kicked out of several interviews…

That was a joke, but I did get strange looks and no job offer.

I said the following when asked about software:

“I don’t like open source GIS software”

This didn’t seem so bad since the jobs required ESRI products.

But it was a red flag for the hiring company.

Here is another red flag you never want to say in a job interview:

“I don’t like paid GIS software”.

Confused? Let me explain.

Many companies use a hybrid system in their GIS. They will use a combination of GIS software for financial reasons, convenience, or for clients.

They may even have their own internal software or industry specific GIS software you may never have heard of.

Most companies will use a variety of GIS software... again.. YOU CAN USE THEM ALL.
Most companies will use a variety of GIS software… again.. YOU CAN USE THEM ALL.

If you say you don’t like open source or paid GIS software, you are telling the company to keep looking for someone else.

If you say “I don’t like X GIS software”, they hear “I CAN’T USE X GIS software”.

You shouldn’t say you like or dislike any GIS software package.

I am not saying lie, I am saying take this into consideration.

GIS software essentially do all the same things

Seriously, there are only so many ways you can “Clip”, “Add table”, “Project”, complete imagery analysis, or “Buffer”.

All GIS software do about the same thing... USE THEM ALL
All GIS software do about the same thing… USE THEM ALL

All top GIS software do these things, just with different clicks and different names.

That means, roughly speaking, YOU can use all GIS software if you understand GIS.

If one GIS software package does something well now, the others will do it next release, or differently on next release, or better on next release.

There is always going to be a GIS software “arms race”.

All the major GIS software are inspired to copy eachother.
All the major GIS software are inspired to copy eachother.

Open source will come up with an idea that the paid copy… I mean be inspired by.

The paid software will stream line new innovations because they have the cash to test the latest “thing” and see if it works.

There will always be new software.

Something better will come along. Whether it’s a new open source or paid, something new always comes along.

There will always be a new GIS softare, or a new flavor!
There will always be a new GIS softare, or a new flavor!

The best thing you can do is be flexible and always learn.

Which brings me to what you need to say in a job interview when asked about GIS software:

“I have used X Brand GIS software mostly, but can easily use Y Brand GIS software”

Or

“I am unfamiliar with Z Brand, but I do understand GIS concepts that are easily transferable across software packages”

I AM NOT SAYING YOU SHOULD LIE.

I want you to think about it this way… here are 2 truths and 1 lie you can think about.

  1. I don’t know how to use X GIS software
  2. I can figure out how to use X GIS software
  3. I know ALL GIS software.

One of those answers is correct, the other two are wrong (most likely).

As a GIS professional you will need to use multiple different GIS software. Your ability to adapt matters. Your ability and understanding in GIS matters the most.

You can learn and adapt easily, especially if you know GIS concepts and terminology.

I have more information in my book, Permissionless GIS: Double Your GIS Interviews NOW.

Knowing that what you should and shouldn’t do is:

Have fun!

Check out my YouTube channel here.

I have shirts available on my Teespring store if you would like to support me.

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Use social media to be 10x more hirable in GIS / Geoscience (Action Plan Inside!)

I am going to show you how you can become 5 to 10 times as hirable in GIS / Geoscience using social media.

What I am going to show you is easy because you already have the skills you need.

What I am going to teach you today I have used successfully to get thousands of followers, 10s of thousands of views, 100s of thousands of impressions, and 10s of thousands of clicks.

Knowing that you can do this too, is half the battle!

Know what to do to be 10x hirable will push  you faster towards your goal.
Know what to do to be 10x hirable will push you faster towards your goal.

Because of this, I love social media, especially when it comes to GIS and geoscience.

However, social media can be a “fake news”, celebrity hot-take, conspiracy theory, troll ridden, dumpster fire

The internet can be a dumpster fire or it can be the tool you use to your success... make it the latter.
The internet can be a dumpster fire or it can be the tool you use to your success… make it the latter.

You use social media, or you ignore it at your own peril.

You can become depressed using social media.

You can become permanently outraged using social media.

Social needs to come with warnings… just watch “The Social Dilemma”

But social media is here to stay… you have to navigate it property.

If you want to get ahead faster, you have no choice but to use social media.

Here are three reasons you HAVE to engage on social media.

1. 80% of jobs are filled through networking

Your network use to be people you talked to in person.

Now, social media extends your network… massively.

You want a job sooner… you need a big network.

Harnessing social media allows you to have a much larger network than you could possibly have in real life.

In an interconnected world, a virtual network will inevitably bring you success… if you do it right.

2. Employers are scanning your social media before they hire you.

Resume’s use to be pieces of paper… then digital documents…

Your social media presence is now your resume… whether you like it or not.

No matter how you feel about, they will do a search for you online... that is just the way it is.
No matter how you feel about, they will do a search for you online… that is just the way it is.

How you engage online will reflect on you.

How you DON’T engage online will reflect on you.

Engaging online PROPERLY will get you into work faster.

3. You have full control over how people see you on social media

Choosing the right foot to put forward is in your control.

Showing what skills you bring to the table is in your control.

You get to decide, in a positive way, what the world gets to see of you… make it count.

The whole process is in your control… if you choose it.

Now that I told you why, I am going to give you an action plan so you can start engaging online and become 5 to 10 times more hirable.

Your plan is to engage online by showing what you know.

Show what you know allows you to control how people see you on social media.

Your post ARE valuable to some people (not everyone… and this is ok), which will expand your network as people like your content.

Recruiters and companies, when they start scanning your social media, will see you are adding value to the world.

Let’s get started ACTION PLAN NOW!

1. Start with an “easy” topic you know well.

Easy can be starting from first principles like hydrocarbon traps, basic python programming, cooking, or  map projections.

Start with a complete simple topic that you know indie and out.
Start with a complete simple topic that you know indie and out.

I say “easy” because your knowledge is advanced for many people.

Your “easy” knowledge, is valuable to beginners (who are most people out there)

2. Break this “easy” topic in multiple small steps

These small steps help you focus your attention and your audiences attention.

Your ability to distill a topic is valuable.
Break up your easy topic

You didn’t learn everything all at once, you don’t have to post it all at once.

Small steps spoon feeds your knowledge to the world.

3. Distill the first step into an easy to understand “Chunk” of information

This “chunk” can be the following:

  • 280 Characters
  • A single Instagram size image (1080×1080) or series of images
  • A 60 second to 5 minute long video.
  • A short presentation
Make it easy to understand quickly with easy everyday language.

Don’t use jargon. Don’t use overly technical language.

User conversational language, like you were talking to a friend

4. Post the step online

Post to LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TickToc, or whatever social media platform exists into the future

Posting you ideas online is where the rubber meets the road

This is where you can see your impressions, likes (clicks), and network grow.

You can also adjust your posts depending on how your network reacts.

5. Repeat for all the steps

Repeat!

If you do this properly, you have endless amount of content.

Posting on social media is not for the lazy, repeating is the way to stay ahead of the pack.

Your social media is your resume, you social media is your reputation. Again… you use it or ignore it at your own peril.

Have fun!

Check out my YouTube channel here.

I have shirts available on my Teespring store if you would like to support me.

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Unemployed in GIS? Become 5x as Hirable in the Next 30 Days By Doing This…

I love geographic information systems! The creativity in map design, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross industry power is amazing.

But sometimes things don’t quite go the way we planned.

Sometimes we find ourselves unemployed…. And this SUCKS!

You feel lost, you feel out of place, you feel like you are missing out.

Not having a job is no fun, but you can change this with the right attitude.
Not having a job is no fun, but you can change this with the right attitude.

The truth of the matter is, your skills are slowly fading away.

According to research people will have forgotten 50% of what they learned within 24 hours, and forget 90% within a month.

This is true with skills you have learned over years… if you don’t use the skills, you will lose the skills!

If you are not using, you are losing.
If you are not using, you are losing.

BUT YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!

You can become 2 to 5 times as hirable, learn new skills, AND increase your network in just 30 days!

Knowing that you are in control is half the battle which will keep you sharp and ready for work!

knowing that there is something you can do is worth the price of admission.
knowing that there is something you can do is worth the price of admission.

What can you do in 30 days to become 2 to 5 times as hirable?

Easy… a 30 day challenge!

But what is a 30 day challenge?

A 30 day challenge is proven strategy for implanting new habits, learn quickly, and show off your skills in a fun way. Learn more here.

I completed the #30DayMapChallenge and it was AMAZING.

I increased my network connections, increased my skill set, and created a useful GIS tool that I gave away for free (Here it is if you want it… Fast Feature Creator for ArcGIS).

HOWEVER, before you start any 30 day challenge you need to remember to always do two things.

First…

Show up and do the work… EVERY DAY.

Life belongs to those who show up.  If you want to be 2 to 5 times as as hirable, you have to commit to yourself to get the job done.

Show up and do the work every day... EVERY SINGLE DAY!
Show up and do the work every day… EVERY SINGLE DAY!

The great thing is, you don’t have to do a huge amount of work every day, maybe 2-4 hours… which is nothing if you stop watching Netflix.

Second…

Small steps every day compound to HUGE results.

Just like the beauty of compound interest, doing a little bit of work everyday turns into massive results.

Compounding work wonders... it also works wonders in both directions... be careful.
Compounding work wonders… it also works wonders in both directions… be careful.

You could spend 1 hour a day doing a 30 day challenge, or you could spend 2 hours watching Netflix.

This also works in reverse… bad habits compound as well!

You are wasting your life watching Netflix… especially if you are unemployed.

Why are 30 day challenges so great?

The point of the 30 day challenges is to “Work Out Loud”. This means posting to your social media.

Here are 5 important take away’s you will get out of 30 day challenges, then I will give you a bunch 30 day challenges you can start doing NOW!

Keep your skills sharp

You are slowly losing your skills if you are not using them, now you can use them as you see fit!

By doing the challenge, especially in area you know, you can keep your skills ready and up to date.
By doing the challenge, especially in area you know, you can keep your skills ready and up to date.

By doing the challenge, especially in area you know, you can keep your skills ready and up to date.

You also be more creative than you would have been at your job, or any job.

You can also get feed back from your network (talked about below)

Show off what you are capable of doing

Through a simple graphic, powerpoint, document, blog post, vlog, you can show off what you are capable of doing.

You can show off your creativity like you never have before. Employers want to see what you can do... show don't tell!
You can show off your creativity like you never have before. Employers want to see what you can do… show don’t tell!

You can show off your creativity like you never have before. Employers want to see what you can do… show don’t tell!

This public display of skills is worth 100 submitted resumes.

and you don’t have a boss to run your ideas by… just put them into the world.

You can also mix and match your skills together… Baking and GIS! Baking and Geoscience!

Networking

You network will see what you are doing. You network will cheer you on. Your network will grow.

We live in a connected world... you have to... HAVE TO  GET ONLINE. Work and play out loud.
We live in a connected world… you have to… HAVE TO GET ONLINE. Work and play out loud.

In a connected world, you have to put yourself out there.

Your social media is your resume.

Learning new skills

Whether the 30 day challenge is to do a new skill, or you posting on a social media is a new skill… YOU ARE LEARNING!

You will see a noticeable difference in how you think and what you do when you consistently do a challenge every day.
You will see a noticeable difference in how you think and what you do when you consistently do a challenge every day.

You will see a noticeable difference in how you think and what you do when you consistently do a challenge every day.

Again, 2 hours of Netflix, or 2 hours of a 30 day challenge every day?

Pad your resume (social media)

The more you do, the more you can show off, the more you can pad.

The more you do, the more you know. The more you have to post what you do.
The more you do, the more you know. The more you have to post what you do.

Your social media is your resume.

Online is the NOW of how jobs are found. You have to have more then just a paper resume.

Here are some ideas for a 30 day challenge

Have fun, you now have a ton of ideas to go out and make happen.

Check out my YouTube channel here.

I have shirts available on my Teespring store if you would like to support me.

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The 3 Topics You HAVE to focus on to be successful in GIS and Geoscience… and 15 ideas to get you started!

I love geographic information systems! The creativity in map design, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross industry power is amazing.

I also love Geoscience. Geoscience makes the world go. We find minerals for your phone, computers and batteries.  We find cheap energy to power the world.

I am going to give you little insight into something you may not have considered.

Technology changes fast, people change slow.
We are essentially still cavemen with computers. But this is ok!
We are essentially still cavemen with computers. But this is ok!

Your education may be great… but there is something called Moore’s Law which will start erasing your education by the minutes.

Moore’s law says that computing power will double every two years (roughly speaking).

Consider the “Human Law”… it took 100,000 thousand years for us to think the digital watch are a pretty neat idea.

I took you 2-4 years to get your degree.

This means, keeping up is going to be a challenge… BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE!

And knowing that you have to keep up, and how to keep up is half the battle.

Knowing what is going on is always going to give you a leg up on the competition.
Knowing what is going on is always going to give you a leg up on the competition.

I talk about how to keep up in my post on “Learning how to learn, and Learning how to teach”.

I am also going to give you a couple more insights here.

You see when I first started doing geographic information systems in the geoscience, I was amazed.

…amazed just how backward GIS in geoscience was.

Still using paper for field maps. Limited field connectivity. No data analytics.

Things were changing while I was still doing field ops, but it made me realize there are three areas that every GIS and Geoscience person needs to focus on.

Some of these you might say “I knew that” to.

But are you really doing them? Are you REALLY doing them with your data?

Web Connectivity

If your data is stuck on a land computer… you are doing EVERYTHING wrong.

Get your data and results to the web... as soon as possible, if not yesterday.
Get your data and results to the web… as soon as possible, if not yesterday.

The internet is not a novelty. It is here to stay.

You can refuse to order your books from Amazon, but you can’t refuse to connect your geoscience / GIS to the internet.

You need to always think how you can put your data online to ensure you stay competitive.

Mobile Technology

Mobile technology follows us into the toilet… if you are not harnessing this opportunity for GIS or Geoscience, you are already behind.

You use your phone everywhere, you might as well use if for your job.
You use your phone everywhere, you might as well use if for your job.

Perhaps a few years ago you could complain that mobile tech was not that useful.

This is not the case. There are apps for everything.

Luckily more companies are doing what ESRI is doing and lets you harness their apps for your mobile operations.

All you have to do is use your imagination (I have given you some ideas below)

Cloud Technology

Cloud tech is the super child of mobile and web connectivity… the future is all in the Cloud.

Cloud technology will be where all our computing will be done in the future.
Cloud technology will be where all our computing will be done in the future.

There could well be a future where we no longer have home computers, only terminals and online cloud computers.

You could light up a super computer for 10 minutes to process you GIS data, and spin it down to go back to a normal computer for everyday use.

Cloud storage is no longer a novelty, it is a necessity.

I remember a time when losing a hard drive to a random crash was scary. Dead drive means lost data.

Just think how useful Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive area. The future is Cloud… get there sooner.

Stumped about ideas for GIS and Geoscience… here is a quick ideas I came up with ON THE FLY (I will show you how this is done in a future blog post).

Some of these might already be created… I don’t know, but I do know you can come up with your own.

  1. Cloud computing for seismic processing (already started!)
  2. Mobile technology for field safety
  3. Web connectivity for office/field communication
  4. Cloud computing for automated core log analysis
  5. Mobile technology for geological mapping
  6. Web connectivity for operation monitoring
  7. Cloud computing for automatic survey design
  8. Mobile real time operation updates
  9. Web connectivity for up to the minute operational analytics
  10. Cloud computing for massive seismic data storage (already started!)
  11. Mobile equipment analytics
  12. Web connectivity for client interactions
  13. Cloud computing to save on computer purchase
  14. Mobile permit documentation
  15. Web… to connect all of this

Have fun, you now have a ton of ideas to go out and make happen.

Check out my YouTube channel here.

I have shirts available on my Teespring store if you would like to support me.

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5 steps to stay hire-able into the future… what I learned from being fired from a job I loved.

I love geographic information systems! The creativity of map making, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross industry value is amazing!

But… being fired sucks.

Being fired from a job you love sucks even more.

Being fired from a job you love AND you are good at really sucks.

I was fired from a job I loved and was GREAT at… and it sucked

Turn the suck up to 11 when you get fired from a job you love and are good at.
Turn the suck up to 11 when you get fired from a job you love and are good at.

I was mad, sad, frustrated, angry, furious, scared. All those emotions over a very short period of time.

I blamed my former boss, I blamed the economy, I blamed my career choices, and I blamed myself.

And then I found out they kept a lower paid co-worker who was nowhere near as good as I was.

And I was really mad… for a short time.

Most people go through the stages of grief when something like this happens.

This is normal, this is ok… BUT DON’T STAY MAD FOR LONG

I wasn’t completely delusional, I didn’t think my job was completely secure. But I also thought what I was doing was enough to keep me there.

I know now that this was a great learning experience… and as I like to say:

Knowing the possibilities, risks, and rewards ahead of time will help  you make better decisions .
Knowing the possibilities, risks, and rewards ahead of time will help you make better decisions .

Before I go any further, the person they kept was perfectly capable of doing what the company needed. I don’t hold a grudge and wish them well.

Luckily for me I was doing these steps I am going to share with you below.

These steps will help you stay hire-able if you are let go, and will even ensure you are kept employed at your current position.

The reason… you are investing in yourself.

1. Get Cross Industry Skills NOW.

The old saying goes, never put all your eggs in one basket. The new saying is… GET CROSS INDUSTRY SKILLS NOW.

Cross industry skills are easy to acquire. Online courses, on the job learning. Make sure to be purposeful in your skills.
Cross industry skills are easy to acquire. Online courses, on the job learning. Make sure to be purposeful in your skills.

It is very important to have high value industry specific unique skills. These skills can make your career… but… they are most likely useless in other industries.

I come from a geoscience background. These skills can be very niche… and this means useless outside of geoscience.

You need to think in cross industries skills, you need to think how things interconnect.

Here is a short list of cross industry skills you can start learning right now:

Marketing / Management / Agile / Coding / Video production/ copy writing / Graphic Design / GIS / Coaching / Excel / Access

Cross industry skills will help you the most when the going gets tough.

2. Always put in more value than you get paid for.

Note I said value… not time. Value may be time, but value will help you 10x more.

Adding value doesn't necessarily mean more time, but it means being purposeful in what you add to your job.
Adding value doesn’t necessarily mean more time, but it means being purposeful in what you add to your job.

Putting in more value means you have to do extra work. This is OK, because you will be learning from the extra work / extra value you are putting in.

What does value look like?

Adding more statistical analysis to a project, presenting using animations rather than just images, making decisions ahead of time rather than asking permission.

You put in more VALUE, you get more EXPERIENCE.

(Note: Beware of pointless work… limit the useless, maximize the useful)

This experience is yours… not the companies which leads to the next one.

3. You OWN your experience.

Your experience is your own. You get let go… You can go to a competitor. You can make your own business.

Your former company does not own your mind. They do not own what you have learned. They do not own your experience... YOU DO!
Your former company does not own your mind. They do not own what you have learned. They do not own your experience… YOU DO!

Unlike your work computer, all the code your wrote, all the documents you created (those are property of the company you worked for) YOUR EXPERIENCE IS YOURS!

Once you are no longer employed, any IDEAS you had are yours and you are free to pursue.

You cannot take any documents, code, proprietary material, trade secrets

You can use your experience, no one can stop you from using: your knowledge of software, databases, writing, leadership… THIS IS YOURS.

Note… I am not a lawyer, so don’t take this as legal advice. There is a lot of nuance about what can and can’t be done after you are let go… but you are allowed to use your experience.

4. Making money for someone else works… but won’t solve the problem… hire yourself.

If you think like an employee, that is all you will ever be.

You can build your own business, be a free lancer, consult, you can work for yourself!
You can build your own business, be a free lancer, consult, you can work for yourself!
If you want to be unfireable, hire yourself.

This is not for the timid or faint of heart. It takes time and patient.

Make social media your jump off point!

If you have built the skills, you can market yourself on social media.

It takes time and effort, but you can do this while you are working for someone else.

5. Always move forward

Spend as little time worrying about being fired, and more time planning your next move.

Starting is better than nothing. Finishing is better than starting.  Keep moving forward.
Starting is better than nothing. Finishing is better than starting. Keep moving forward.

Yes it sucks getting fired. But what sucks more is not having a plan for getting hired.

If you wait, you will wake up one day and 6 months will have gone by with you have done nothing.

While you wait, other people are planning and moving on.

While you wait, students are passing courses and getting ahead.

Don’t wait… START NOW.

Check out my YouTube channel here.

I have shirts available on my Teespring store if you would like to support me.

https://teespring.com/drchrisgeosci

Staying employed in GIS depends on 2 POWERFUL SKILLS… your ability to use them depends on these 4 steps… DO THEM NOW.

I love geographic information systems! The artistic nature of mapping and symbology, the science and statistics of geospatial analysis, and the cross industry value is amazing.

Here is something you need to consider.

You are going to go absolute from GIS VERY QUICKLY… if you aren’t careful.

Technology changes fast… faster than humans can possibly change.

Humans are slow… it took us 10’s of thousands of years to figure out the wheel, and now we have new technology updates monthly.

Now say this with me… THIS IS OK! I CAN HANDLE THIS.

You can handle this because knowing what is happening is half the battle!

Knowing that you can

First I am going to tell you the two skills YOU NEED TO LEARN NOW.

And then I am going to tell you the only four steps you need to get this done.

The two powerful skills you need are:

Learning how to Learn and Learning How to Teach

These two skills are the currency of the future.

These skills are essential to make it just about any industry. Learn how to Learn and learn how to teach.
These skills are essential to make it just about any industry. Learn how to Learn and learn how to teach.

Your ability to use these skills for yourself, for your group, or your organization will determine your success.

Learning how to Learn

You have to learn how to learn because the world changes fast, technology changes fast, and the work environment changes fast.

I have an e-book coming out on how to learn how to learn. Will be good.
I have an e-book coming out on how to learn how to learn. Will be good.

Part of it is counter intuitive. You have to learn what to forget what you don’t need, so you ONLY learn what is IMPORTANT.

You have to be selective in your learning, and you have to be FAST.

This type of learning happens on the edges. This will put you out of your comfort zone.

You have to have remove the phrases “I knew that” and “I disagree” from your vocabulary.

You THINK you have the skills, but chances are you DON’T have them. This is because of your PERSPECTIVE.

You think you have the answers, you think you have know what is going on, but you miss out on learning if you already KNOW and DISAGREE.

Learning how to Teach

Your ability to explain a topic reveals just how much you have learned about it.

Teaching does something to our minds... it makes us stronger, it makes us better. You have to learn how to teach if you want to get ahead.
Teaching does something to our minds… it makes us stronger, it makes us better. You have to learn how to teach if you want to get ahead.

Something magical happens in our minds when we teach. A responsibility switch is clicked on and we start to understand what we are teaching better.

Teaching takes guts. Teaching takes time. Teaching takes skill. All of which you can learn over time.

Now… the fours steps to being able to Learn how to learn and learn how to teach.

Step 1 – Know your Purpose

Your first step is to know your purpose in life. It can also be as simple as know your purpose in learning how to learn.

The more  you can define what you want to accomplish, the  better chance you have of getting it.
The more you can define what you want to accomplish, the better chance you have of getting it.

Your purpose will drive you forward and be as easy to understand as “Get a great job I love”.

This is the “WHY” of your life or current ideas. There is nothing more powerful than your massive “WHY” and purpose.

With purpose, you have a starting point to focus and push yourself forward.

Step 2 – Focus Focus Focus

Your ability to focus your attention over time will determine your level of success in your purpose.

The more you can keep on one topic at a time, the more you can get done... it works.
The more you can keep on one topic at a time, the more you can get done… it works.

To focus better can be as simple as turning off your social media.

It can also mean you isolating yourself socially for long periods of time to get jobs done.

Focus compounds over time allowing you to create something amazing.

Step 3 – Stay Aware

Your purpose will change over time, the world will change over time, and your life will change over time… YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF AND MAKE NEW DECISSIONS BASED ON THESE CHANGES.

Pay attention, make corrections constantly, you will get there, even if there always changes.
Pay attention, make corrections constantly, you will get there, even if there always changes.

It is ok to change and adjust your direction and purpose.

Your purpose doesn’t have to stay static for years on end. You can alter it constantly to better fit new information.

“I want to be an astronaut” can rapidly turn into “I want to be an engineer” to “I want to invent a better car” to “I want to program safety into drones”.

Step 4 – Create Bulletproof Mindsets

The way you think about the world and how you fit in it matter. Your ability to harness your mind matters.

Mindsets will make you unstoppable (or the opposite if you are not careful)
Mindsets will make you unstoppable (or the opposite if you are not careful)

Great mindsets will add to your purpose, make your focus 10 times better, and keep you aware of changes you have to adjust to.

Here are several great mindsets:

Plan ahead

Success loves speed

No one cares, they want their problems fixed

I will write about more soon!

Check out my YouTube channel here.

I have shirts available on my Teespring store if you would like to support me.

https://teespring.com/drchrisgeosci

In GIS … What you KNOW vs. What you DO vs. What you are KNOWN for… MATTERS… starting doing these things NOW!

I love geographic information systems (GIS)! The creativity and artistic nature of mapping, the science of spatial analytics, and the cross industry value is amazing.

I hope you feel the same way, but here are a few things you might not have considered.

You go to school, or learn on the job. You have mad GIS skills.

You actually have a lot of GIS skills that you will never use.

You also have a subset of GIS skills that you use all the time, and are probably awesome at.

What you know, and what you actually do are not the same.
What you know, and what you actually do are not the same.

You will be building your education and the skills you use over the years.

Consider your education raw gold, and your skills the jewelry you make from that gold.

Your always, always, ALWAYS need a strong education in GIS. As I have said in another post, your GIS education is essential.

Your skills, you need to pick carefully. I cover this in another blog post.

But how does anyone know you have a GIS education? How does anyone know you have GIS skills?

If no one knows about either your educations or current skill set, you might as well be shouting into the void.

You may have the skills, but if you don't have a good network, no one will know.
You may have the skills, but if you don’t have a good network, no one will know.

There is another component in this education and skill equation that you need to start thinking about.

This addition component is your network.

This is the people who know you. This could be interpersonal relationships, personal knowledge of, reputation, perhaps even fame.

You can think of your network in relational database terms… One-to-One, One-to-Many, and Many-to-Many.

This is about what you are known for… good or bad.

One-to-one relationship is for people like you spouse, children, close family. Very important, but not great for your career in this sense.

Very basic, important for life, but no useful for managing your career.

Then you have one-to-many networking, where you maintain several dozen professional relationships in your career.

The traditional why people would know your education and skills.
The traditional why people would know your education and skills.

This type of one to many is useful, old-school, and limited. This is your old-school network.

These people knew your education and skills. They know you in person. This is the way humans have networked for eons.

Enter the digital age of the internet where one-to-many changes meaning and many-to-many take over.

The New One-to-Many

Your digital network is now the most powerful tools you have at your disposal.

Even a slight upgrade in your social media will boost how many people see your education and skills.
Even a slight upgrade in your social media will boost how many people see your education and skills.

Every post, every LinkedIn addition, and every email that you create builds you up.

Your education and your skill sets are amplified in this one-to-many network.

Your education and skills increase by a factor of 10t 100 if you get this right.

(You can also get this wrong… but that is for another blog post)

YOU HAVE THIS ABILITY RIGHT NOW

Add a professional LinkedIn Pic

Add all your education details

Add all your work details

Post your current school work, post your achievements, and update your LinkedIn.

The next is for advanced users.

The New Many-to-Many.

This is not just for advanced GIS people. This is for GIS people willing to take a risk. This is is not for the lazy or the fearful.

You can shout to the world your education, skills, food likes, dislikes... EVERYTHING
You can shout to the world your education, skills, food likes, dislikes… EVERYTHING

The risk is to seriously put your skills out there.

This is where you combine your none-GIS skills and shout them to the world.

Videos, Graphics, Animations, Baking, Crafting, Lifting Heavy, All of these can open up HUGE possibilities for you.

The risk is getting on the internet and doing it.

Stay tuned for my eBook on how to get the New One-to-Many and New Many-to-Many working for you!

Check out my YouTube channel here.

I have shirts available on my Teespring store if you would like to support me.

https://teespring.com/drchrisgeosci

Your Skills are Amazing… Guess what… so are everyone else’s. Start doing these things NOW to get ahead.

I love geographic information systems! The artistic creativity in map making, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross industry value is amazing.

But there is a HUGE problem… GIS is easy. It is easy like Word Processing and spread sheets are easy (If you are not careful that is)

Anyone can do Word or Excel… but they usually do it poorly. The same goes with GIS. A lot of people can do it… poorly.

But… how will anyone know?

Same destination, you did it better, they were all over the place.... but... (See next illustration below)
Same destination, you did it better, they were all over the place…. but… (See next illustration below)

Here is an example from my past with respect to Word processing.

When I was taking GIS at college I was require to do group work with two other students. We created a 100 page document together.

Everyone one in the group insisted they knew how to use Word… but they didn’t have the experience I had.

I had already written a 200 page thesis and 4 research papers by this point and used all the “Referencing” tools in Word.

“Insert Caption” – Check

“Cross-reference” – Check

“Insert Citations” – Check

“Table of Contents” – Check

You use these functions because they update each other when pages are moved, figures are deleted, or sections altered. Plus, hyperlinks are made within the document.

One of my partners, an Engineer by training… insisted on removing all my formatting and hand editing all figure captions, all cross references, all citations, all table of contents.

Hand editing… 30 images, 60 references, and three tables…

What a mess.

Here is the kicker… at the end with a printed copy… how would have known the difference my skillful use of Word and their hand hammered editing?

No one.

At the end, no one really cares how much work you put in, or how well you did... they just want it done.
At the end, no one really cares how much work you put in, or how well you did… they just want it done.

How is anyone going to know that you do GIS better than anyone else?

As I wrote about here, people don’t care that you have the skills, they care if you can solve their problem.

So how can you show them you can solve their problem?

It is actually simpler than solving their problem completely, but it does take showing a track record of solving problems.

This is where degrees and certificates matter. This is where trainings courses and endorsements matter.

This is where SHOWING WHAT YOU CAN DO MATTERS.

Here is something you need to know, because knowing is half the battle.

I like saying this, because it's true... if you know what is happening,  you can fix it.
I like saying this, because it’s true… if you know what is happening, you can fix it.

You will never be perfect for every role… EVER… so don’t try to be.

There is an old saying that says “He who chases two rabbits catches None”. Well same goes for GIS roles.

Focus on a single problem that you can solve, and define it completely.

In marketing terms this is called “Narrowing your Niche”, in career terms I will call this (for now)

Specialize.

You specialize in problems everyone can solve, or one that is not already thoroughly solved.

Google Maps works, don’t do that… unless you have a revolutionary idea… which is unlikely. Google pays thousands of people a lot of money for this specialization.

You find your idea and then….

Define your Problem

Remember people only want their problems solved. Find a problem, and make it yours.

Find a problem the you can fully identify, layout, and explain.
Find a problem the you can fully identify, layout, and explain.

Not all problems are created equal. No all problems require you to focus your energy on.

Some problems are too easy and everyone will already know it.

If you are just starting out, research what industry needs. Ask industry insiders. Focus on that problem and go.

Define Your Solution

There is an old saying that “A question well asked is half solved”. Try this one, a problem fully solved is owned BY YOU.

Solve the problem completely (or at least most of it), and the solution is yours.
Solve the problem completely (or at least most of it), and the solution is yours.

You own the problem, you have researched the problem, and now own the solution. If you know the problem inside and out, you can solve the problem inside out.

Even better, people have the problem you KNOW inside and out, and that means they will trust you with the solution.

Promote Yourself

If no one knows you have the solution to a problem… then you might as well go home. SHOW OFF NOW.

Show off you problem and it's solution. You will soon find out what "sought after" means.
Show off you problem and it’s solution. You will soon find out what “sought after” means.

We live in a world where self-promotion is free. You have at your fingertips the advertising power never dreamed of by marketers in the past.

For zero dollars, you can shout to the world that you have the solution to a problem.

By promoting yourself, you own the problem, you own the solution.

You don’t have to be the best… but you may have to be the loudest.

Check out my YouTube channel here.

I have shirts available on my Teespring store if you would like to support me.

https://teespring.com/drchrisgeosci