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Thread: What are the skills needed to be a RA in STR/OT?

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    What are the skills needed to be a RA in STR/OT?

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    Sorry that I'm assuming that the skill set needed for becoming a RA in STR and OT is the same...

    So, I've done some research, but my responses in terms of the knowledge of the program and programming languages are really really varied.
    stata: the standard tool used in STR/OT "in the past"
    R: quickly catching up and replacing stata
    SQL: mostly no need
    Excel: very useful
    Python: not strictly required, but would be very useful if there's no data available (someone told me that very often profs just happen to have a research idea and as ra I'd be expected to find out the relevant data)
    The thing is that I really don't have the time to learn all these skills...I have to make trade-offs...but I'm wondering, how?

    A phd student told me to learn stata and python, but another told me to learn r and python as stata is being used much less frequently and r is a much useful program to learn
    Completely overwhelmed...

    Besides, can I also know the level of econometrics knowledgeneeded to do ra? Would it be fine if I don't know about it at all? Or a beginner level understanding of it is required? Perhaps even an intermediate one?

    I was wondering if some of you would be so kind as to help me with these doubts... Thx!

  2. #2
    Within my grasp! BrazilianPhD's Avatar
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    Re: What are the skills needed to be a RA in STR/OT?

    Again, I'm not in STR/OT, but maybe things aren't too different (I'm more into Marketing Strategy/Quantitative Marketing).

    A few things from my experience:

    1 - If you don't know about econometrics at all, there is a good chance you will not even get accepted into a PhD program where that's important. I was asked about this kind of thing you are talking here when I was interviewed.

    2 - The econometrics courses I took during the PhD were damn hard. One of the PhD students had even to leave the program because of low grades in those courses. So, I think the more you know before you start a PhD and gets completely overwhelmed, the better.

    3 - The main language to use here depends on the advisor. Advisors can provide much more support when you use the language they know a lot about. Even so, I have sometimes to switch between language, because some language is better to deal with the problem I need to solve for my research. For my research, I have used SAS, R, and STATA so far. I also had to use SPSS and MATLAB for some courses. So, you may be forced to learn a lot about programming when you have absolutely no time for that during your PhD.

  3. #3
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Re: What are the skills needed to be a RA in STR/OT?

    Thx again BrazilianPhD!! Yeah you're very very right!! I'll do my best in the next 4.5 years to build a foundation in econometrics! And the part regarding the programming programs/languages is very useful as well!

    LOL, when I was at high-school, I thought I was going to relax at my univ...but then DAMN IT, I just had this idea of becoming a professor in STR...And now it does seem like that I'm going to be very, very busy for the next 15 years at least (5 years to finish bachelors+masters, 5 years at least to finish a phd, and 5 years at least to get tenured). But I do feel like it's kind of fun, isn's it? Working on what we like. I dislike corporate life quite a bit, feeling that I'll be very very bored by doing things that would in no case interest me and by the fact that I'd have no control over what to do.
    Of course, flexible working time=unlimited working time for many professors.

    XD Thx!

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