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Getting programming experience

  1. Apr 16, 2009 #1
    I'm a physics student facing unemployment for the coming summer. I made it to couple of interviews but it seems that didn't get the positions because of lack of actual real world programming experience even thought the positions were aimed for a physicist. Well, I thought that now that I have lots of free time next summer, maybe contributing to some open source project would be a good way to gain some programming experience.

    Are there any open source projects especially suitable for a physics student? I know the basics of programming and the only way forward would be by getting involved in development of a larger application than I have come across during studies. I have no experience in developing GUI-based apps though so this is a limitation.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2009 #2


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  4. Apr 17, 2009 #3
    Guis are just eye candy. The guts of the program has to work first. But I would recommend Qt as a cross platform framework for guis.

    As far as getting experience, pick out a topic, review literature, write code. One suggestion Monte Carlo Simulations.
  5. Apr 17, 2009 #4
    Well, you could always start your own open source competitor to the product you didn't get hired to write. :-)

    As Niels Bohr observed, the opposite of every great idea is also a great idea. In the same vein, this point of view about guis is has value, but so does its opposite. Never underestimate the importance of a gui when it comes time to sell the software, or to get people excited about it. Well thought out HCI (human computer interaction) demonstrates respect for the people who will use your software.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2009
  6. Apr 17, 2009 #5
    "Guis are just eye candy."

    That's why we all still use MS-DOS.
  7. Apr 18, 2009 #6
    You shouldn't confuse consumer products with scientific programming.
  8. Apr 18, 2009 #7
    "You shouldn't confuse consumer products with scientific programming."

    And you shouldn't underestimate the importance of user interfaces in *any* application.
  9. Apr 18, 2009 #8
    Well the task would have been writing a software to analyze measured data. It seems it's difficult to find any open source projects for this kind of work, ie. scientific programming...
  10. Apr 18, 2009 #9
    I usually don't even bother to write a text interface to my Python or Lisp programs--I leave them as a collection of functions which I can use from within the interpreter.

    The first advantage of this is laziness. Secondly, it's actually more useful to use them this way than it would be to write a GUI or text interface, because I can compose functions on the fly.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
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