It’s that time of year again. Students are flooding back onto campuses, resuming their courses of study or embarking on a new path.
Research runs similar lines – following up and taking new directions. And sometimes it leaves me wishing I had learned more _______ as a student. There’s hope for those who are still students – and in the digital age with things like free online courses and CodeAcademy, there might even be hope for the rest of us. Here are a few on my list:
- Statistics – really, why isn’t this required for every science degree, from BS to PhD? We tend take p-values as a statement of truthiness of research results, but how well do most of us understand them?
- More calculus – If you get into any sort of quantitative biology, derivatives and integrals are going to haunt you.
- Linear algebra – Goes along with ‘more calculus’ and the realization that computers operate in matrices.
- Computing – Along with previous 2, if you’re doing quantitative analysis, chances are you’re going to find yourself entrenched in R and/or MATLAB. You might also find that you’re running, editing, or writing code, so speaking the language (e.g. Python, which seems to be taking over bio applications) is be a huge benefit.
Ten years ago, as I was finishing up my BS, I never imagined how much some of these things would be infiltrating my life. From my view, these things certainly are not going to become less useful in the future – of my research or the field.
What’s on your list?