Best skills to self-learn

  • Thread starter flemmyd
  • Start date
  • #1
144
1
I'm a third year phys major, unknown specialty.

I'm just asking what are some good skills to self-learn, as opposed to spending time learning in a class. Something where it's not difficult to learn just by doing problems, as opposed to having a real benefit to talk to other people. So I probably couldnt just do quantum mechanics problems and learn quantum. I really feel like that kind of subject would help having someone to talk with me about it.

Also, I'm looking for something thats more a free time/erratic rather then something I would sit down every week. I want to make sure I have time to take care of my essential coursework (e&m sounds like its going to be difficult....)

I was thinking programming (c/c++ or matlab/mathematica). particularlly numerical analysis of DEs using matlab (I have a background in doing ODEs and PDEs analytically...) and SQL. part of the reason ive been leaning towards computer-based topics is because it allows me play with the code/algorithms and can see how everything works without having to worry about getting expensive lab equipment (ie. hit compile and get a sandwich) but im curious as to what other people have in input.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
fss
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Look to improve your writing skills. It will help you in any field you wind up going into after undergrad.
 
  • #3
eri
1,034
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Basic programming is pretty much an essential skill for any graduate student in physics. I'm always surprised how many students don't know any programming when entering grad school and have to learn it the first time a professor assigns a programming problem. Also, it would be useful to learn some basic Linux skills, along with LaTeX.

If I were you, I'd start with a language like Perl or Python to figure out how programming works. MatLab isn't quite the same. You can always pick up another language after you learn how the computer thinks.
 

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