Updated on January 22nd, 2019
Have you always wanted to find out a way to predict seismic events? Have you been fascinated by the geological miracles around the world? Is the world your oyster and you cannot wait to find the pearl within? Geology is the field for you! Geologists or the “earth scientists” who work with all the natural formations on earth to find out what lies underneath and what possibly lay on it millions of years ago.
Who do you think comes up with the craziest theories of tectonic shifts still happening under the Pacific Ocean? The geologists, of course, and you could soon be one of them!
1. Geology is not all about collecting rocks!
Let us come to terms with a few realities first. Being a geologist is an incredible feeling, but it does not mean that you will be juggling with outdoor work only.
Most fields of geology require data collection, but all of them need data analysis, sample analysis, and report writing. Therefore, laboratory work and computer work is mandatory for all geologists.
We mostly relate geologists to the study of soil, rock formations and organic matter. Their work involves investigation of the organic and inorganic matter that contributes to rock and soil formation. The pH levels, plant and animal components, types of minerals and the layer formation in rocks give them a deep insight into the geography and formative history of a region.
2. Why should you become a geologist?
In the recent times, the role of geologists has become of paramount importance in the prediction of natural calamities including mudslides, landslides, earthquakes, and tsunamis.
They use software-based models to determine the outcomes of seismic anomalies and figure out the uncertainties. Modern software analytics is also making carbon dating and finding the age of rocks a lot easier for geologists.
What used to take years, now takes a few weeks thanks to the advancement of machine learning and cloud computing. Most importantly, geology can never be boring. After completing formal education, you can choose to work outdoors, or you can take up a short course in programming.
Geologists now extensively rely on computer programs, AI, and software applications to analyze their data and compile their reports. Whether it is the outdoors or the indoors, you will always find something that interests you.
Right now, multiple highly renowned geologists work in mining, oil rigs, and other engineering services. About one in twelve geologists work in government facilities, and that does not include schools or colleges.
Over 7% of the geologists in the US work in universities as lecturers and research faculty and in independent research institutes. The job demand will go up by at least 10% between 2014 and 2024. The career opportunity of geologists is enormous; you only need to know which way you want to go.
3. How to get the first crack in your geology career?
It is always better to get a head start in life. Preparing for the time to come from today will give you an edge over your competitors. It is needless to say that the field is highly competitive and to make the best of every opportunity you need to be the best. Here are a few things you can do to stay ahead –
4. Read blogs
It might sound too obvious, but there is no better way than to read the blogs of leading geologists or online journals that publish the latest discoveries. Blogs will also keep you on top of all the recent technological trends.
What tech you might be learning in school today, might have gone out of fashion for modern geology a decade ago! There are geology blogs that hold open forum discussions and invite nouveau contributors. Unless you dabble a little in the professional world of geology, you will never understand what you love about it and what you must carefully avoid in the distant future.
5. Don’t stop reading
Your target should be to finish all the books on geology, natural history, and environmental science in your school library by your senior year. You should not discriminate while reading. From pop-sci to detailed publications, you need to get your hands on everything.
If you don’t understand, you can always look it up on the web or ask your blogger friend. Reading will make you familiar with the lingo. It will give you an idea about the quality of work and standard of publication people want. Share books with a likeminded friend and find out what the world is learning from the blogs you follow.
6. Find, follow and befriend geologists
Thanks to social media, everything is possible, and everyone is within reach. You can track your local geological societies, and you can befriend geologists. Some of them might even have a few useful points of advice for you.
Research guides, lecturers, and professors help students find their path on a regular basis. Befriending (not badgering) a geologist on social media can help you find a beacon in the storm. You will know what you need to do now, what steps you need to take in the future and the kind of investments you will have to make to have a successful career in geology.
7. Start your collection
Begin your collection today. Do not delay the beginning of what can be a glorious collection of rocks or procrastinate a family trip to the Canyon. Who knows? Your small rock collection can eventually become a collection of exotic mineral ores in the next ten years.
Begin by adding one rock each day may be from your yard, your schoolyard, school field trip, the local park and grandma’s house. Pick some of those unusual rocks you can find and log its details.
Write down why you picked it, what characters make it unique and look up for information on its type on the internet. You will soon chance upon igneous rocks, basalts, ores and more that will help you to explore the depths of geology.
8. Read real publications
Research is no place for people, who do not read scientific papers. The best geologists need to go through scientific publications from time to time to stay updated with their peers.
Others read the articles to check the recent trends and look for opportunities for collaborative research. You should read the papers to find out about quality writing, proper work and the covert fields of geology you never even knew existed. The easiest way to find publications by geologists from around the world is by using Google Scholar to look for subjects that interest you.
A few publications require memberships, but there are plenty you will be able to access free on a regular basis. It can be a bit intimidating to follow research work and real publication in the beginning, but you will be astounded by your level of understanding as you continue.
The telltale sign of a proper research is a simple language, understandable figures, and current statistics. Reading current research should also help you come up with an impressive college application essay!
9. Find a specific area of study
Some geologists study the property of ancient rocks and soil formation, while other research on the most recent movements of the tectonic plates to predict impending disasters. There might be a million geologists in the world, but none of them are doing the same job! It is what makes the subject so interesting and vast.
The field is so expansive that each one of them can do something similar and yet not crowd the other’s space, at least geographically! Some geologists work for mining companies that mine precious stones, and then, there are professionals, who work for oil companies.
Being a geologist does not always mean you have to stick to dry land either. The land formation you want to study may as well be the next Atlantis for all we know.
Reading more and exploring more will help you understand what interests you truly. Do you want to brave the desert heat or do you want to plunge into the deep blue? Unless you prefer indoor work like the kind professors, laboratory scientists and teachers do, you should explore your options without fear.
Becoming a geologist is a long haul. It is not just dressing the part and carrying cool gear. It is a lot of learning and mastering new technology to make sense of what you are learning.
We are living in an era of rapid climate change. It is one of the best times for a geologist to find employment since several governments across the world are paying researchers to find out the impact of environmental changes on the landmasses.
All over the world, countries are employing more geologists to find out new oil layers, natural gas reserves and coal reserves than ever before. There is no reason why you should not feel motivated to become a person, who can unravel the secrets of the world to make life on earth a lot better for everyone.