What career advice would you give?
What do your world’s university students need to hear today?
Last week, Edward was invited to be in a career development panel at the GeoMundus conference at Universitat Jaume I in Spain. We shared and swapped stories about the usual stuff like remotely monitoring sensors, Industrial IoT, and all the rest of the life topics, from gender and culture challenges, industry vs. academia, and delicious Spanish paella with snails and rabbits.
Students run the whole GeoMundus conference. That’s impressive. The students are from over 25 countries around the world, from Ethiopia, Turkey, Nigeria and Egypt, to Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Colombia, we’re really talkin’ everywhere with folks from every continent on your earth. They’re all in the Erasmus Mundus Master in Geospatial Technologies program that’s a European Union joint graduate degree between:
- Universitat Jaume I in Castellón, Spain
- Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal
- University of Münster – Universität Münster in Munster, Germany
While there’s no 1 true advice that works for everyone, there were some common themes suggested by the panel participants:
- Focus on your goals for either industry or academia. It’s hard to do both at the same time. For industry you’ll probably need different skillsets than academia. If you’re going into academia you’ll likely need to focus on publications, journals, conferences, and impact factors. For industry you’ll need concrete skills, like if you’re in technology then programming skills. So for industry joining or creating open source projects in places like GitHub are a better use of your precious time than journal publications.
- Keep your ear to the street and stay open to opportunities. You, and really no one, can actually predict the future. Follow your heart and know truly anything is possible. In the panel conversation I brought up the fact that during my PhD studies I interned at Google and worked on Google Earth. That’s a straight-up combination of academia and industry at the same time, it’s possible and been done before. Just make the most of your time by focusing. Starting a start-up while you’re doing your PhD is not recommended, for example. Lastly, you never know who you’ll meet in an elevator or anywhere else that’ll have an opportunity for you. Who you know, social capital, your communities, tribes as Seth Godin calls them, are super important today.
- More women and minorities. It’s a shame there were no women on the panel. As the legendary Michael Gould of Esri suggested we need more women in GIS and all careers. And you should never be discouraged. Don’t let others get you down. Keep pushing for your goals and be confident that the world needs you.
I was humbled and flattered to be in the panel giving career advice with GIS legends. Just a few years ago I wouldn’t have ever thought I’d be side by side with these folks telling stories and sharing advice. However, that just goes to show you how quickly things can change so as Winston Churchill said never give up! Play the long game.
Others in the career development panel include:
- Michael Gould of Esri
- Anthony Robinson from Penn State University
- Richard Sliuzas of ITC, Geo-Information Science & Earth Observation, Univ. Twente, Netherlands / Holland
- Alan Murray from University of California, Santa Barbara
Flattered to have already received emails after the conference from students from Indonesia saying:
“Thanks for your great presentation, it sure boosted my motivation up.”
Sharing an amazing paella in Castellón, Valencia, Spain, with folks from all over the world and all of the continents… All while figuring out how we’ll save the world. This is what life’s really all about! 🙂
Wanna chat about Industrial IoT sensors for air quality monitoring, water, career advice, favorite colors, or really, anything else?
Please don’t hesitate to Contact Me at Info@Valarm.net if you’ve got any questions!