[Research] How to Code Well

Coding- If your discipline has some quantitative approach then some statistical program will be your best friend for many many years-

For me STATA is my best friend. Accounting uses SAS a lot but finance and economics use a lot of STATA. I just happened to use STATA because I happened to pick it up while in undergrad.

Now there is a transition to R- But I did not have the time to transition-

Also, I am so used to STATA that I forgot how to use R…I am serious- I was OK for few semesters then I forgot. Somethings comeback but need to learn back again-

May be this winter-

Anyway, what is the secret to code well?

Full disclosure, I am not a coding god. I am just a bit good with managing data-

Here are some tips-

  1. Learn from the best. A lot of journals and academics put codes online. So learn from them. Just google around and find them. The only issue is that some codes are broken or not so good. So you need some discernment.

2. Get a mentor or some help. Some professors are phenomenal with coding, see if they can help you. Most of them are very busy but never hurts to ask. Ask your upperclassman or some people from ISDS or operations, they are very good. In fact, some are former engineers and physics majors who are very good at coding.

3. Replicate. Replication takes some time but you learn so much. It takes time because some data bases get updated or the paper does not explain the process in detail so you don’t know what is going on. Although super painful, each replication makes you much better at coding. Just make sure you have time to replicate. Some papers can easily take three months because you don’t know how to merge or clean the data.

4. Practice, practice, and practice. I remember how I learned coding. I was given an RA assignment to replicate and do some other stuff. At that time my STATA coding just included coding for homework…So many countless hours but after the ordeal, I reached a new level. Later, I became better helping friends from other disciplines. I am no code master but by doing more stuff from different fields I learned a lot.

5. Read books and blogs. I regularly read coding books and blogs. Just to see what is out there. Most times I don’t learn much. But I know where to go if I need to do something. So it speeds up a lot.

Hope these tips are helpful. If you can code well, your PhD will be a bit less stressful and more enjoyable-

Plus, it is awesome to learn something new everyday-

Thank You Jesus for helping me code. I would not be able to do anything without Your wisdom. Thank You again for all Your love and blessings Amen-

Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

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