September 19, 2019

How to Take Advantage of Networking and Software Training

Posted by AGU Career Center

“We’ve had an overwhelming response and fortunately, your application has been successful.”

This is the type of favourable reaction everyone wants to achieve. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into a three-day long software training program at Datamine, in order to learn about their new software called Map Info. The knowledge provided throughout the course was exceptional, but the networking expertise gained from this experience was undeniably the most invaluable skill I acquired.

Datamine is a tech-based company that focuses on developing innovative software to efficiently plan and manage mining operations. Datamine operates in a total of thirteen countries worldwide and offers various training initiatives for their range of software programs. The Datamine training manual allows you to navigate through the software interface by following extensive instructions that are clearly outlined. The Map Info software allows for applications such as creating maps, overlaying maps, producing drill core log sections, applying gradient filters and sun shading to geophysical images, performing SQL queries, and much more. The course instructor assisted in a good understanding of the software.

Training opportunities such as this are essential for graduates to develop new skills and socialize in a professional environment. My advice on optimizing your networking abilities essentially consists of two components, namely, the people and the food.

The People – I was able to network with other post-graduates, always a plus! I expanded my scientific knowledge over various discussions with the variety of post-graduates present about their respective research areas. The expansiveness and diversity of science is truly remarkable! I was able to chat to some interns at the company over coffee breaks (the caffeine really helped to keep the buzz going) and found out about their transitions from graduating to the workplace. Adulting is definitely a tough battle, but we all have to adult sooner or later.

The Food – I know this is mostly non-training related, but the amount of networking that occurs over delicious food is incredible! This is where I really began to understand the dynamics of the company and their reason for hosting this software training program, as I had asked a lot of questions! I asked about other training courses offered by the company and discovered their astute motive behind upskilling graduates. Whereas education and training are always rewarding, networking can be the secret ingredient that will increase your chances in securing new career opportunities. A good burger and some iced tea provide the perfect platform to ask for career advice and to find out about employment and training possibilities within the company.

The ever-evolving model of success, in today’s work environment, requires a level of resourcefulness and individuality. Networking helps you become visible and allows you to build a professional reputation. It also provides access to valuable career opportunities and sets a strong foundation for long-term professional growth.

To summarize:

  • Find opportunities in companies that offer free software training workshops.
  • Actively network with the people in the training program as well as with employees in the company.
  • Research the company, this always creates a good impression during lunch breaks.
  • Watch some YouTube videos on the software if available online. This is often the best way to maximize your questions on the software, which contributes to self-development.

What a tremendous experience! Wow!

What are additional benefits that networking has brought to your life?


Thashen Naidoo, BS in Geophysics candidate, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
This blog post was previously published as a LinkedIn article.