The IT skills desirable for university
I came to university not being that techy and struggling my way through the first year as I found even navigating through a computer difficult. I have written some pointers to help you guys see whether a head start would be advantageous before you come to university.
1. Microsoft Excel
Within my course there were a lot of laboratory reports and post laboratory assignments I have had to write up. These have often included graph work and the use of Microsoft Excel in general. My department was helpful as they had tutorials and work specifically set around Excel and this has helped me to get comfortable in using Excel for work purposes. They also familiarised us with Origin which was a similar program. Some people prefer the one over the other and choose whatever they feel most confident in.
2. Referencing Softwares
In my first year I had parts of a module that was completely devoted to IT workshops and here we started to use Mendeley as well as Endnote. Both of these are very excellent softwares for referencing purposes and I find myself still using this even to this day. A lot of work that is done for assignments can be referenced and having a whole program that can do it for you, makes life so much easier. For some of our work we have had to specifically use RSC referencing style or ACS referencing style and on these softwares, you are able to change the settings according to this.
3. Computational Softwares
Throughout my degree I have found myself being completely intrigued by computational softwares. We have had to do a couple of programming exercises using MatLab and the current second year Chemistry students are able to learn Python Coding as part of their Statistical Mechanics work. This is something I really wish I had the privilege to learn myself earlier on, however the library has many great resources and I have taken out books to learn some basic python coding over the holidays as my research project in the summer will be within the theoretical chemistry field.
This has become my bae as I have had to use this software throughout my first, second and third year at university. This software is great for drawing out mechanisms and to predict proton as well as carbon NMR for compounds. Again, I didn’t know this software existed before I came to university, however within the years I have become very acquainted with it through the help of my friends in my year as well as the lecturers for some modules.
I am not saying that all these IT softwares/skills are a must before you come to university – in fact I didn’t even know how to use any of these. However, if you do have some time over the summer maybe speak to the department you’re going to be studying with to see if there’s anything in terms of tech to prepare yourself. Especially if you know that you need more time to learn these skills. The university does have its own IT services who are extremely helpful. If you ever have problems with tech related things, you’re able to go to them to ask for advice and support. They also offer some very great courses and qualifications for people that want to develop their IT skills. I have just signed up for a Microsoft Excel one and have three months to complete this. At the end of this I will get a certificate if completed successfully. They also offer sessions in MatLab and other softwares to help you learn the basics and sometimes even more advanced things.
This is my second blog post for the day so I will be going off to watch a movie now on Netflix to celebrate the end of term.
In the meantime, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.