How to Learn the Fundamentals of Geology


Studio X Team


September 1, 2021

Discover everything you need to know about how to become a geologist.

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So you want to be a geologist. Geology is a fascinating field with rewarding work, but it can be a difficult career to can get into with no experience. Here is everything you need to know about learning the fundamentals of geology and how to jumpstart your career.

To Degree or Not to Degree?

Anyone can become an informal geologist by studying the processes and fundamentals of the earth. However, to work as a geologist professionally, you generally need a formal education. Most geologists have at least one degree, if not more. Since there are so many aspects of the earth to study, many specialize in a particular type of geology. In fact, geology positions often require a Professional Geologist certification, which takes several years after your degree to obtain. In some instances, working closely with geologists and taking specified courses can allow individuals to work as a geologist without a degree, but it is less common. In short, plan on needing a degree to work in geology.

What You Need to Know

How can you make yourself stand out when applying for geology jobs? Learning the right skills is the best place to start. With so much data and information being gathered using new technologies, a familiarity with data analytics and AI is a real advantage in the workplace. But it’s not just about new tech — knowing the fundamentals of earth science and geologic processes are key to success as a geologist or geoscientist.

Another important thing to know? Geologists need to think in 4D! Geology can’t be done in spreadsheets or Word documents; you need to be able to visualize your data in three dimensions and also imagine what the world looked like millions of years ago. Software can help, but the best tools are strong spatial awareness and creativity. Finally, you must recognize that tools and technology will only get you so far. Being able to convey your thoughts clearly allows other geoscientists to build on your ideas and is the hallmark of a great geologist.

Get Out There

While geoscience, like many industries, is becoming increasingly remote, spending time in the field is still vital. There’s an old adage in geology that says, “Whoever sees the most rocks, wins!” You can’t only work conceptually as a geologist — it’s important to see the tangible parts of your work. “Mother Nature is so diverse and complex,” says Nate Suurmeyer, geologist at Shell. “The best geoscientists are ones that have seen lots of different places in the world with different types of geology. Making the best model for the subsurface often means mixing and matching different ideas that you’ve been exposed to in your career.”

Hone Your Skills With Studio X

Studio X offers unique tools that are helpful for someone beginning a career in geology. XCover matches specialized geoscience talent to a variety of rewarding exploration projects. These projects are completed via state-of-the-art virtual workstations, enabling users to execute them from anywhere in the world, at any time. XCover is a rapidly growing network for geoscientists to propose and join exploration projects that tap into their experience and knowledge.  

If you’re not sure where to begin, the XCover Learn portal has tutorials and field courses to get you started in the fundamentals of geology. Best of all it’s free. Simply create a profile online here and navigate to learn on the menu.