E’ iniziata la mia avventura con il famigerato logbook. Lo strumento che dovrebbe tener traccia dei miei progressi (o presunti tali) dal momento in cui ho iniziato il PhD fino a quando l’avrò finito. Sì, tenere questo logbook è una cosa pallosa. Specialmente quando bisogna compilarlo per la prima volta, con una “self-audit” su quelle che sono le proprie skills. Ebbene, ci ho passato un po’ di ore (anche perchè domani devo consegnarlo e dunque non posso rimandare ulteriormente), ma sono riuscito a finire tutto. Curiosi di leggere cos’ho scritto in questa specie di diario che domani dovrò consegnare alla maestra/amministrazione? Come? Non vedete l’ora?!? Ma guardate che è palloso. Ah, va beh. Se insistete, allora eccolo. E’ tutto vostro!
Research methodology. During the last year, I participated to two research projects carried out within academic environments. I am generally able to spot and critically analyze the scientific literature relevant for my work, as far as I can count on a good understanding of the field.
Data analysis and synthesis. I have a good understanding of the main statistics methods for collecting, analyzing and plotting data. I also have some experiences on more sophisticated techniques, as data clustering and time-series forecasting through the employment of evolutionary algorithms and neural networks.
Record keeping. I have the habit of keeping logs of everything I do while carrying on a research project. I probably need to be more brief doing this kind of work, excluding from these records all the non-essentials information.
Technical and discipline related skills. I am able to develop from the scratch a well written simulator software that allows me to carry on specific artifical life experiments. Furthermore, I know how to extract the relevant data generated by the simulations and then statistically analyze them. I feel confident to be able to reproduce the most of the state-of-the-art works made on my field.
Presentation of research. I already presented during a scientific conference the work made as part of my degree thesis. During the years spent at the university as undergraduate, I held many presentations as well but I must improve again, in order to provide more focused and brief speeches.
Teaching/learning skills. I have worked as teaching assistant, giving lessons both live and off-line, in two different classes: Methods for Data Management (databases) and Laboratory of Informatics I (C programming). I am still entitled to this second class and to two other classes as well: Economics History and History of Communication.
Research management. I have no experience in this field at all.
Academic communication. I have wrote some reports about my works, both for personal/group and public using. I am typically used to write for a non-expert audience. I have to improve my academic writing skills, in order to produce papers that will not result annoying for expert people.
Time management. I have got a lot of works to do in this field. Typically I perform well when under the pressure of some external-imposed deadlines. I experience more troubles when the deadlines of my work have to be imposed by myself.
Foreign language. English is not my first language, but I am able to write/read and speak/listen quite well when the subject is someway related to my work. I can quietly manage regular working relationships with English coworkers.
IT and computer skills. I am more than average skilled in IT. I currently use three different operating systems (MacOS X, Windows XP, Debian Linux) with different kinds of software (office applications, data analysis tools, etc.). I know few different programming languages (C, C++, VB6, PHP) and I have built or worked on many websites (including a personal one, which includes a weblog), writing/modifying HTML/CSS by hand or using web authoring software as Dreamweaver. Again, I have a relevant experience on projecting and using database. I must improve in using software for scientific writing and bibliography management.
Personal communication. I believe to have good communications skills. I am typically very “direct”: I always like to say what I think and I expect the other people acting the same. I have to improve in the ability of effectively modify my point of view basing on the feedback received by other people (by peers particularly). In fact I tend to accept only the ideas that agree with my viewpoint or that are coming from a person much more experienced than me, ignoring the others.
Team work. I think to be good in working under the supervision of people whose experience, skills and abilities are greater than mine (as far as I can effectively perceive this difference). I love to receive feedbacks, even negative, from skilled people. Within a group of peers, in absence of any established hierarchy, I typically tend to assume the leadership of the group.
Problem solving. Generally speaking I am very confident about my skills and so it is difficult that a problem could really scary me. Keeping this approach in mind, I frequently find myself tackling and then solving problems that might certainly appear very hard at a first glance, but that are in fact solvable.
Critical thinking. I don’t feel so confident in creating absolutely new theoretical concepts or frameworks. I think that one of my strength is instead the ability to apply already known methodologies and ideas to innovative domains.
Career planning, CV development. I have the (bad) tendency of impose to myself very ambitious goals that I feel as reachable even if the time-scale is not appropriate to completely reach them. As far as I have seen until now, the bigger part of the things that I’ve learnt in the past are becamed useful now. Since a relevant part of this knowledge is in computing, I feel confident that they will be easily transferable.