Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as 'building blocks' because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Geological engineers conduct geological and geotechnical studies to assess suitability of locations for civil engineering, mining and oil and gas projects and plan, design, develop and supervise programs of geological data acquisition and analysis and the preparation of geological engineering reports and recommendations. Geological engineers are employed in consulting engineering companies, electrical utilities, mining and petroleum companies and in government and research and educational institutions.
- Discover testing equipment is malfunctioning. For example, when seismic testing equipment is not working, they refer to manuals for troubleshooting and call manufacturers' help lines for assistance. They may ask for replacement equipment to be delivered to their field sites. (1)
- Cannot complete their work because sites being investigated have high levels of contaminants. They sub-contract environmental services for cleanups, develop new assessment criteria and tests to be conducted, and adjust projects' timelines. (2)
- Find that field data and measurements are inconsistent and unusable. They check their testing equipment and take measurements in other areas to ensure data being captured is consistent. They consult co-workers to determine possible reasons for inconsistent data. They formulate new testing methods. (3)
Assess validity and completeness of test results. They consider their observations of investigation sites, types of tests conducted, data collected, analysis reports and industry standards of testing processes. (2)
Judge the suitability of methods for mitigating pollutants and contaminants. They review data from site investigations such as chemical analysis reports of contaminants in soil and water samples, industries currently in these areas and past land uses which may have contributed to elevated counts. They also consider government regulations, clients' budgets and their own experience. (3)
Judge the risk that unstable geological formations pose for building owners and the general public. They review compositions of ground layers, soil densities, water seepage rates, temperature changes and municipal, provincial and federal regulations to ensure public safety. (3)
Judge the suitability of proposed land use. For example, they analyze data on contamination, soil stability, ground composition and bearing strength when they formulate land use recommendations. They review proposed designs of buildings and ancillary structures, types and sizes of foundations required and types of building materials to be used. They also consider the costs and regulatory requirements for proper land usage and stabilization. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing
- Decide team composition for large research and exploration projects. They review the scope of these projects and proposed budgets and consider skill sets and availabilities of junior engineers, technicians and contractors. (2)
- Choose work processes and data collection methods. They review clients' goals and budgets to determine projects' stages, task sequences, data collection methods and testing locations. (3)
Own Job Planning and Organizing
Job task planning and organizing is an important skill for geological engineers as they frequently handle several projects concurrently. Their tasks vary on a day-to-day basis depending on the nature and complexity of their projects. They encounter numerous interruptions such as unexpected meetings with clients and work stoppages. (3)
Planning and Organizing for Others
Senior geological engineers may plan, coordinate and monitor the work of junior engineers, technicians, university students and contractors. On larger projects, engineers coordinate and integrate work plans with junior engineers and technicians. (3)
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember municipal and provincial regulations which influence the work they are conducting. For example, hydrologists recall municipal regulations regarding water well drilling methods and provincial regulations for acceptable water quality levels.
- Find information about theories, classification systems and new research by conferring with co-workers and reading textbooks and professional journals. (3)
- Find information about project work sites by speaking with co-workers, reading historical information in company files, viewing maps and searching government web sites. (3)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Geological engineers work with crews consisting of junior engineers, technicians, university students and contractors. On smaller projects, they may work with partners to inspect and conduct initial tests on sites. They work independently when reading and analyzing data. (3)
Continuous learning is integral to the work of geological engineers. As members of professional associations, they are required to participate in continuous learning activities to maintain their designations. They attend courses, workshops and conferences offered by employers, professional associations, universities and suppliers of products and equipment. They read textbooks, journals and research articles to learn of new developments, new testing equipment and projects in other areas of the world. They interact with co-workers and colleagues and share methodology, ideology and troubleshooting ideas. (3)