I wrote a piece I called Challenge Yourself, and while it’s mostly aimed at technical people, I think it can apply to other professions.
I thought of it recently with my son. He’s in his last year of college and taking a GIS class. Part of the class is lots of lab work, creating maps from public data sets, which are the kind of data most of us deal with: a mess of numbers.
He often finds data that is incorrectly entered, formatted poorly, etc. He’s come to me for help with SQL and Python expressions that can help him transform and select data that I appropriate for his maps. A few times he’s had to write a mini-report on how he manipulates the data, but not always.
However as I was helping him, it occurred to me that if I were interviewing him for a GIS job next year, someone that has no experience, I’d want to get some confidence that they know how to work with ArcMap or other tools. A resume or a grade in a class doesn’t mean much. I have no idea of this involved anything complex, or just simple data loads.
If he had a blog, or a series of documents that explained how he built maps and manipulated data, then I’d feel better. I could talk about those tasks and skills in an interview, and use his documentation to drive conversation, as well as determine if he really knew how to work with the tools or not.
I’m sure other students could benefit from some effort to showcase their knowledge.Even professionals in positions could do this, showing that they are improving their knowledge, or even demonstrating the depth to which they know a subject.
Start a blog, or at least document your work.