With time to spare during self-isolation and local lockdown, Mark wonders:
What programming language should I learn for my geoscience career?
The pandemic has made us look long and hard at our career choices. Were you inspired as a student by a cool field geologist in a documentary? Were you profoundly marked by that school trip at an active volcano? Did you fell in love with coral reefs and marine life in that scuba-diving holiday? Well, no more of that, right? We are all confined now to our home desks, except some of us with little and precious lab timeslots. What else better than review those new year resolutions of ‘I will learn to code this year‘? We’re all mentally stuck in March anyway!
As these things go, it always depends what you want to do! Are you an ecology lover? Do you find random fossils in your coat pockets? You might want to look into the nerdiest of all: the one and only, R!
Were you one of the people who really disliked fieldwork in undergrad? Were you never really that inspired by the aforementioned field documentaries? Do you see PDEs when the rest of us just see a lava flow? Well, then you’re in for a treat: PETSc [weirdly pronounced pet-see] will provide the ideal medium for modelling some of the complex systems we observe in nature.
Are you a diligent voter and campaigner in the Mineral Cup? Do you like imaging minerals through all means? Do you anticipate to have access to that sweet, sweet lab time? If so, you might want to learn how to use the MTEX package from Matlab to fulfil all your crystallographic dreams.
Or are you looking to ride the hype-wave and throw rocks into black-box algorithms and see what comes up? Do you get a tingle when you hear that the machines can learn from data? Do you want to use AI to analyse any piece of geospatial data you can get your hands on? Well, then I’d recommend you pick up some Python as it’s free, with lots of online tutorials, and great packages for that #machineLeaning #AI #tensorflow #disrupt.
The Sassy Scientist
PS: Avoid Fortran at all costs…