Upskilling in a downturn

global community

In the first edition of the MapStand Monthly Mashup (sign up to the app to get our updates), we discussed digital transformation in the Oil and Gas industry and highlighted how terminology and skills previously thought only relevant to the IT department now need to be part of the vocabulary and skill set of the modern geoscientist.

For students graduating this summer, the prospect of getting a job in the oil and gas industry may already seem daunting, so how do you make your CV stand out amongst both your peers and seasoned professionals who are in the job market?

Gaining relevant skills and demonstrating a passion for continuous professional development is a great place to start. For those already working in the industry, companies are going into survival mode which naturally leads to a focus on the work at hand rather than training and career development for employees. With training

budgets cut and time at a premium, how do you keep up with your own personal learning?

But where do those looking to gain these skills in the midst of a downturn start? The key message is this - Be proactive and It's not as hard as it seems! Think back to the first time you opened Excel or built your first Powerpoint, skills that are now second nature.

The great thing about upskilling now is that there is a wealth of resources out there, almost all of which can be accessed and practiced at home, in your own time, for little to no cost. Online course providers such as Google Garage , Udemy and Coursera to name a few, offer free and low costs options. If you’re looking for more of a geoscience focus, Book-4 is also a great resource.

But once you sign-up, how do you decide, from the many courses, which is right one for you? Well that will depend on the individual and the ultimate career goal, not that helpful i know! A manager might not need to write code but will need an understanding of terminology and concepts whilst early career geoscientists might want to be able to write code, not only to learn the skill of coding but also to develop new ways of thinking about how to solve geoscience problems. One thing is for sure, the volumes of data available to the modern E&P professional require the ability to quickly handle, manipulate and process it to draw out hidden value and then present this in a simplified way to colleagues. Learning to code (we would recommend Python) is a great place to start when trying to achieve this and will allow you to branch out into the world of machine learning and data science if that becomes your passion.

Once you have completed a few courses, a good next step is to practice your skills and tackle real world problems within your subject matter. Here another great step forward in the oil and gas industry is the availability of open data. What was once a closed shop in terms of data access and data sharing is now becoming increasingly more open with large data sets provided by governments on open data licences (the OGA is a great example) for anyone to access. A key way to practice the skills that have been learnt is to take on real-world problems, relevant to the field in which you work, thereby combining an understanding of the problem within your chosen discipline. Access to online courses and open data sets provides the perfect combination for practice.

MapStand is a leading advocate of open data and the first to provide a global news and E&P dataset for free, on an open data licence. We are always happy to provide direct access to our data for projects however these must also be made open and available to all. We will also soon launch the MapStand University hub, this will give students access to our global oil and gas datasets and allow them to use MapStand data for their studies.

As well as online courses and self-taught learning, there are a number of conferences now fully focussed on digital technology. While many are costly, there are exceptions (even during a global pandemic). The end of this week (6/6/202) will see TRANSFORM 2020 kick off as a free virtual conference, combining hackathons with workshops and sessions, all focussed on the digital subsurface.

Other useful resources include online blogs (Towards Data Science and, for a specific geoscience focus, Agile Scientific are great places to start) and LinkedIn pages (including The Oil & Gas Technology Council and the Oil & Gas Council). Here you can keep up to date with training and events, listen to podcasts and connect with those from both within and outside oil and gas.

Sian Grant MapStand Profile

Once you have gained new skills, promoting them is equally important, alongside the traditional CV and LinkedIn profile a MapStand community profile is a great place to start! As the industry moves into a new era it is the knowledge and experience held by every one of us that will make the difference.You can sign up to MapStand for free, build an interactive profile of the places you have worked or studied, add the skills and competencies your have gained and access our growing community (To find out more about our community profiles, read our recent blog)