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How to get into programming with a Physics/Engineering background

  1. Jun 3, 2015 #1
    Hi Everybody!

    I've got a job doing stress analysis as an engineer at an aerospace company. My best days are when I get to spend all day writing VBA codes/macros to automate stress analysis procedures or whatnot. I was thinking about getting a certificate in Data Analysis aka Data Science at the local University, but I'm not sure if a career melding the physical sciences/physics/engineering with lots of programming exists. If so, how do I go there from here?
    The certificate program is mostly in R.
    I only know how to program in VBA.
    I've got a MS in Structural Engineering (Civil) and a BS in Astrophysics, and I'd rather not throw away all that physics background to start a new career in data analysis/data science.
    Anyone know how I can take my engineering/physics background and turn programming from something I do on the side into something I emphasize in my career?

    thanks !!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2015 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    This doesn't belong in "New Member introductions ONLY - NO QUESTIONS". I've moved this.
  4. Jun 3, 2015 #3
    OK Thanks !
  5. Jun 15, 2015 #4
    A data science career is more like statistics / probability and programming. Its not so much physics, although, a mathematically rigorous physics education can help a lot.

    The best way to learn programming is practice. I suggest you just pick a couple of projects to do on your own (nights and weekends) and start in. Post the code on GitHub, and then you can put it on your resume. There are a lot of opportunities in easy to use data analytics / machine learning software with a GUI.

    Personally, I don't see a big distinction between true data science and engineering/physics. Yes, you are not typically dealing with modeling physical systems, but a lot of the insight and math is very similar. The trick is to get a job where you are actually expected to think about the model, and not just be some software engineer blindly applying some machine learning toolbox.
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