By Jason Cheung (KMIM alum, 2019)
If you are considering the KMIM concentration, then you are a people person that has an interest in looking at, organizing, and analyzing data. “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” is the mission statement of one of the world’s largest, and most profitable, search engine and technology companies, speaking to the value created by the organization and optimization of information to make it easier to discover and retrieve.
In your assignments, you will be modelling real world information problems within organizations, so it helps to have a general understanding of how a business is made of teams of people with differing information needs. You should also be considering what kind of methods and tools businesses in the real world are using to not only organize, but analyze, their information, especially in the age of machine learning.
Although there are no formal prerequisites for any of the courses in the concentration, a general understanding of database records would help to relate to some of the concepts encountered in lectures and readings. Skills that would help any student include critical thinking when conducting research for articles, concise writing, and effective note-taking.
In the field, practicing knowledge managers have to transform the informational and cognitive needs of a variety of teammates in their organization into systems that don’t burden or interrupt its main processes. As a result, interpersonal skills and working collaboratively are necessary to produce a system that is accepted by its end users. Similarly, some assignments will require you to practice these interpersonal skills when working with your peers on projects such as creating a metadata application profile or an information management platform.
Looking for job descriptions of knowledge management or information management roles that interest you is another good way to prepare for this concentration, or to see if a career in KMIM would align with your goals. Students considering taking the co-op option might also want to begin considering and researching local organizations that can provide valuable experience shadowing working professionals and deal with information that you find interesting.
Students considering the KMIM concentration should also know that the professors at the Faculty of Information are some of the leading researchers on records management, database design, machine learning, human-centered design, and human-computer interface in North America. An exploration of the faculty profiles on the website is worthwhile to see if any professors outside of the KMIM concentration conduct research on a topic interesting to you when planning elective course selections. Office hours are a great opportunity to meet and interact with a scholar and experienced professional to hear how someone with more experience thinks about a concept or problem.
My own understanding in the concept of knowledge management shifted from a focus on being an attentive custodian of a silo of business intelligence to an architect planning the corridors to best access the information contained within. Ultimately, the KMIM concentration trains you to recognize, and empathize, with the salient demands of the work of the other people in an organization, and identify methods that can help your teammates help themselves.