The importance of Excel skills

As a senior geologist it is expected that you create a geological model on an annual basis. This means you will be spending time with your computer and some sort of geological software to make this model. Obviously it's important that you understand your modelling software but what I want to talk about today is the very basic computer skills that you need as a foundation.

I'm going to throw this back all the way to Microsoft Excel. Everybody's favourite program! I have found that most of the data that I had to import into a geological software program, was in Excel first. Now, if you don't know how to work Excel (quickly) then you will have a very hard time cleaning your data. In big mining companies there are whole departments that do this for you, so you don't have to worry about it. But once you work at a small mining company, or even as a consultant, you're the guy. You have to make sure the data is clean and validated, often under severe time constraints. I suggest you get acquainted with Excel quickly. Here are a few things that I think it would be good to start off with:

  1. Learn the different file formats in excel, their properties and where you would use them. E.g. what is the difference between the xls, xlsx, prn, csv formats

  2. Learn all the shortcuts (ALL OF THEM!!!!) Ain't nobody got time to be looking for buttons on the ribbon, or to be scrolling through a sheet. Know the shortcuts.

  3. Learn how to filter and find things. The filter button is your friend, use it. Yes, you can build conditional formatting into your sheet and then filter by colour. Do it!

Notice that I haven't said anything about how to open a file in excel or how to save a file in excel. Those very basics will be expected of you already and If you didn't have computer literacy at school or university then you are going to have to step up your game yourself. There are courses that you can attend that will be able to help you, or you can teach yourself... whichever one is cheaper or faster. Just remember that practice goes a long way.

I hope that you have found this useful. Don't forget to book your free 45min Career Clarification Session at the following link:

Until next time, stay safe!

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