Angela Baker was a panel member in the online discussion ‘Geospatial skills and continuing professional development’ at the AGI’s annual GeoCom event in November 2020, which explored how the continuing professional development of geospatial professionals is necessary for a prosperous and sustainable future.
My roles have become less and less technical as time has moved on, and my skills base has increased and diversified.
In my opinion the geospatial sector doesn’t just need highly skilled technical people, but geospatial people skilled in many other areas (finance, marketing, project management, relationship management, policy). This engagement with other disciplines is key. I also think it is vital for GI professionals to understand not only the business they work for, whatever that may be, but also their client/end user. This requires the understanding of what GI and it’s associated data analysis can bring to the business to help meet the business and customer/end user requirements. Personally, for me, it is about recognising what can I bring to add value to the business I work for, what I will find fulfilling, and how that will positively impact on my delivery.
I have been involved with the Chartered Geographer scheme for a long time, most recently as a final assessor. This involvement has had a positive impact on my view of CPD. I feel very strongly that professional development is very important, not just for your career progression but for your own enjoyment of your working life. You want to like what you’re doing, be stimulated from that experience as well as adding value to the business you work for. CPD can help you identify that. The reflective practice of completing CPD once a year is extremely useful.
Look at your own CPD, what is it you want to achieve? Focus and prioritise. Be organised, talk to your line manager to find out what may be available to you, offer some suggestions of how you think you could achieve some of these aims. CPD does not have to be expensive training courses, or technical courses. There are so many ways of upskilling.
In larger organisations there may be a department who would be happy to share knowledge with you, for example in marketing techniques, licensing/legal practices, IT etc. In smaller organisations where it is a more an all hands on desk affair, there are always opportunities to learn something new and take on additional roles. I would encourage you to do this. Find out what you’re interested in and engage with your colleagues. Most people are very happy to provide some kind of mentorship/knowledge exchange. Perhaps think outside of your organisation, is there someone who you would like to be mentored by? Approach them, be bold.
So as a takeaway my advice would be:
Take charge of your own CPD
If you don’t ask you don’t get
Be confident in your skills, not knowing something is not a negative it is an opportunity to learn more.
Value yourself and what you bring to the table.
Think about what you enjoy and what is important to you!
This is how the continuing professional development of geospatial professionals will provide a prosperous and sustainable future.
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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (2021). Chartered Geographers reflect: Angela Baker CGeog on CPD for geospatial professionals. Available at www.rgs.org/careerresources/CGeogs-reflect-Baker. Last accessed on: <date>
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