Valuable Skills and Qualities for Emerging Spatial IT Professionals (Part One)

Participating or leading recruitment and hiring processes here at GeoDecisions for over a decade provides me with a unique perspective regarding identifying skills, aptitudes, and personality traits we deem valuable for emerging spatial IT professionals. While similar qualities are expected among established professionals we hire, seasoned specialists typically offer most of them already.  I believe it remains important that students and young professionals understand the skills and qualities that are sought by successful and innovative spatial IT consulting services firm among its applicants, which I intend on describing within a two-part blog post.

The Four C's

Although texting speed and emoticons usage may be considered technically savvy, this form of casual digital correspondence does not represent the necessary communication skills needed to be a successful professional.  We seek young employees whom demonstrate effective written communication through articles, academic papers or blog posts that clearly articulate their thoughts.  Additionally, we want to discern if an individual can effectively express themselves verbally using complex sentences with minimal pausing, whether telling a story that pertains to a personal challenge, or describing a  technical project.  Effective written and verbal communication skills are paramount since working individually is rare, while working within a team environment is widely considered the norm.

Curiosity is a commonly overlooked attribute, but on the contrary, is highly desired by the GeoDecisions team among younger applicants.  We seek naturally curious employees whom initiate researching new topics and ideas to bring to the table.  Curiosity may span across a wide range of topics such as: technology, the environment, politics, culture, history, literature or the Arts.  We believe that a constant and consistent infusion of ideas, acquired from various channels and perspectives, will result in enhancing our consulting work, and benefit our clients.

Enhanced critical thinking is often the most essential skill that we, as spatial IT consultants, provide to our clients.  We typically enter environments where spatial IT knowledge is limited, and we need to quickly identify where, when, and how geospatial technologies may result in efficiencies.  Defining clear requirements, determining multiple solution options leveraging effective problem solving strategies, solutions discernment, and alternatives analysis remain essential skills of knowledge workers.  Effective critical thinking we offer is among the fundamental characteristics most valued by our clients.

Confidence (not to be confused with cockiness) persists as another invaluable characteristic sought among young applicants and employees.  Effective spatial IT professionals need to command a broad and deep knowledge of the technology.  Speaking with authorityand representing oneself with poise by advocating personal ideas and concepts exhibits positive strength of character. Being able to have a presence in a room, and even something as simple as maintaining good posture when sitting or standing during discussions, demonstrates confidence.

Check back in the near future for the exciting conclusion in a subsequent blog post…