What Does a Geologist Do? (With Skills and Definition)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 1, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Geologists are professionals in comprehending all components of the earth, from the surface rocks to the depths of the planet's interior. They can teach about the evolution of formations and structures over time and can also predict natural phenomena, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Learning the answer to,"What does a geologist do?" can help you decide if this is the right career path for you. In this article, we discuss what a geologist does, define what a geologist is, highlight why it's important, discuss how to become one, and list their essential skills.

What does a geologist do?

If you're interested in understanding the planet and its formations, you may have encountered the question "What does a geologist do?". Geologists are responsible for examining geophysical data and compiling project reports for their companies. Geologists frequently gather data on the ground and recommend tactics for extracting a certain substance, avoiding geological dangers, or conducting tests in a particular region.

They often collect and evaluate data on the pH balance and mineral content of soils, groundwater levels, and natural geological phenomena in a given location, such as prospective petroleum resources, sinkholes, and mudslides. They may give consultancy services to businesses engaged in the exploration of oil, natural gas, minerals, or groundwater, including industrial operations, building sites, and research excavations. Additional responsibilities of geologists may include:

  • Creating research project concepts and proposals

  • Collecting material samples in the field and evaluating them in the laboratory

  • Conducting land surveying and creating geological maps, diagrams, and charts

  • Analyzing images, mineral samples, and other data to locate natural resource reserves

  • Performing research and writing scientific papers and presentations based on your results

  • Working with other professions and scientists, such as geographers, cartographers, drillers, engineers, and architects

  • Providing information to conversations about climate change and making recommendations for reducing the human-environmental effect

  • Observing, evaluating, and forecasting the occurrence of natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, and tsunamis

What is a geologist?

Geologists are scientists that specialize in the study of the Earth's landforms and minerals. They primarily focus on the formation, development, and erosion of rocks and minerals over time, but they can also check natural resources such as oil, gas, and water. Geologists study the structure, composition, processes, and history of the Earth and its species to get a better understanding of them. This can allow individuals to comprehend natural disasters, environmental circumstances, and the quantity and quality of accessible natural resources for human consumption.

Geology is a major component of daily life because many individuals use minerals to construct and power a wide variety of items and buildings, including phones, computers, vehicles, batteries, homes, and roads.

Why is geology important?

Geologists assist society in comprehending its surroundings. Individuals in this position may perform research in a variety of places to assist people in adapting to harsh or moderate natural circumstances, including tropical rainforests, deserts, and polar regions. Also, they often obtain knowledge about climate change and provide recommendations on how to conserve ecosystems and living species. Because geologists study natural risks such as floods, rockfalls, and storms, they can forecast future catastrophes and design safe structures. Additionally, they can receive education on the proper management of Earth's natural resources, such as water and minerals.

Geology is a great approach to learning about the Earth's and human past. Some geologists analyze fossils and physical remnants in collaboration with archaeologists and anthropologists to learn about plate tectonics, prehistoric ages, dinosaurs, evolution, and ancient civilizations. The study of the earth can enable scholars to get insight into the everyday lives and activities of historical communities, including their interactions with their environment.

Related: 10 Types of Geologist (With Skills and Responsibilities)

How to become a geologist

Becoming a geologist requires studying both the scientific and practical aspects of geology. The following is a guideline you can use for becoming a geologist:

1. Complete a bachelor's degree

A bachelor's degree in a scientific or applied science discipline is the first step toward becoming a geologist. You have the choice of selecting a major when pursuing an undergraduate degree in applied science. Geologists who wish to pursue careers in the field may major in geology, geoscience, applied geology, or geophysics. A geology major can teach you about the formation and evolution of the earth during the last 4.4 billion years. This often encompasses the origins of continents and seas, and also how natural processes occurring deep below the planet can impact the surface on which others live.

2. Gain experience in the field of geology

Acquiring experience and expertise in geology may help you obtain a geologist position after graduation. Several large organizations provide graduate programs for recruiting recent graduates with little to no experience, although these programs may be competitive. While you're in school, you can search for fieldwork or professional experience.

Work experience can also help you better understand your academics by providing hands-on experience with the material you're studying. A geologist internship can help you secure your first job as a geologist. Additionally, it can help you establish your first professional geological network, and the company for which you intern may recruit you.

Related: Understanding a Career as a Scientist

3. Consider completing a master's degree

After completing your bachelor's degree and majoring in a geological discipline, you can begin your career. Many geologists prefer to earn a master's degree in addition to their bachelor's degree to increase their chances of being recruited and specializing in a particular field of geology. Graduate geologists often get master's degrees in geoscience, archaeology, petroleum geoscience, and earth and environmental sciences. If you have a particular area of interest and want to increase your value to companies in that field, a master's degree may be an ideal option.

4. Get a relevant license or certification for your industry

While some companies consider it optional, several provinces require geologists to possess the necessary licenses or certifications. Having the appropriate documentation for your desired position may help you build a stronger professional reputation, keep your skills current, and progress your career more rapidly. Consider speaking with your current employer, prospective employer, or college mentor for advice on the ideal certifications for you.

Essential skills for geologists

Along with acquiring academic knowledge in geology through a degree, gaining the following soft skills may assist you in preparing to become a geologist:

Communication skills

Geologists receive employment mainly for their technical expertise, which they can use to generate insights they can present to a variety of experts. Geologists often rely on good written and spoken communication abilities to communicate their results succinctly during conversations and in reports. For instance, a geologist may evaluate massive data sets obtained by the measurement of subterranean formations.

It's also vital for them to make this material consumable to those who lack their understanding or don't use the same vocabulary by simplifying their information or ideas. These professionals can improve their communication skills by interacting with more individuals and professionals from diverse backgrounds.

Computer literacy

Geologists can analyze survey data using computer software. It's vital for them to possess basic computer literacy abilities to efficiently utilize this software and analyze the data. Additionally, you can utilize computer abilities to develop reports and communicate with coworkers about their conclusions. You can develop your computer literacy in geology software while pursuing your education by conducting research and practicing what you learn online. If you search online, you can also find a variety of excellent lessons that demonstrate step-by-step approaches for improving various computer activities.

Related: Computer Literacy in the Workplace: What You Need to Know

Teamwork skills

Geologists frequently work in multidisciplinary teams and contribute their results to the team's overall purpose. For instance, a geologist may exchange information regarding the features of a petroleum reservoir with a petroleum engineering team to assist them in planning the optimal extraction strategy. A geologist's teamwork abilities can enable them to operate efficiently within these teams to acquire the best possible results. By gaining the experience of working within a team and requesting constructive criticism from your team members you may be able to identify areas where you can improve your teamwork skills.

Analytical skills

A geologist's job is sometimes unclear, necessitating the development of educated assumptions. To conduct a successful analysis as a geologist, it's often important to have a strong theoretical foundation in geology and possess strong critical thinking abilities. Once a geologist has obtained their data, they can analyze it in the context of the larger field and identify what the data represents for the project's objectives.

You may improve your analytical abilities by becoming more attentive, as a large part of being analytical is the assimilation of as much information as possible. You can also practise mindfulness to increase your awareness. Additionally, online brain games are usually an excellent tool for improving your critical thinking and analytical abilities.

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