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A few advices for someone with no coding experience.

  1. May 3, 2015 #1
    Hello, I've decided that I want to learn physics coding and such. But I have absolutely no coding experience whatsoever, what should I learn? I was told I should learn Maple/Matlab/Mathematica, do I start straight with these? If so, which one should I start with? Or should I start with something completely different?

    Also, how long would it take to be experienced at these stuff? I can spend around ~3 hours a day, would I be able to understand it decently in 3-4 months?

    Some background info: I'm 16, I'm good at maths and physics (not great, but decent). I finished highschool and feel like majoring in physics.

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    All of those packages are great. If I had to start with one I would start with MATLAB or an equivalent like Freemat or Julia. Why? Because it could be put to immediate use in plotting and analyzing physics experimental data or in visualizing things about functions. You can also do computational physics with it.

    MATLAB costs about $100 usd for a student license. In contrast, both freemat and Julia are free. Of these two freemat is the easiest to install with Julia and ijulia having a complicated install. There are other matlab choices like Octave and scilab but Julia is showing a lot of promise as a very high performance alternative.

    Checkout Julia tutorials by Dave Sanders on YouTube where you'll see Julia in action using th ijulia notebook tool.
  4. May 23, 2015 #3
    I'd start with an version of basic, make a text rpg and draw a circle on the screen. qbasic or gwbasic. that was my first exposure to programming.

    Last edited: May 23, 2015
  5. May 25, 2015 #4
    once you've done that it's time for some html and javascript, make page that converts units and has a calculator.
  6. May 25, 2015 #5
    Okay, thanks. All I'm interested in is the programming I'll be using in physics, nothing more. Will I be using any of these stuff in physics? I don't really know.
  7. May 25, 2015 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    You won't use HTML and Javascript much in physics work, but Web coding skills are useful to have anyway. If you can't find a physics job, website work usually pays more than working at McDonald's (or whatever the equivalent is in your country). :biggrin:
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