PowerLab-101: How to start your postgraduate study?
This page is intended for my existing graduate students, especially for the new ones. Please don’t hesitate to ask any problems you encountered to me or to your colleagues. You can find useful links at the bottom of this page.
1-Get Familiar with the Research Group
- Meet with the research group members and ask them about their research topics
- Join to the PowerLab mail-list, and relevant WhatsApp groups (ask your friends how to join them).
- Visit PowerLab offices and labs: C-114, ARC-300, E-101, Machinery Lab, Power Electronics Lab, Ground Lab etc.
- Get familiar with the laboratory equipments we have, and meet with the technicians.
- Join to (or better organize) social events.
2-Improve your Software Skills
a) Version Control
- It is your responsibility to back-up your data, I don’t want to hear any excuses on that.
- Learn about version controlling and learn how to use Git.
- Get an account from GitHub, and follow me, make sure I follow you as well.
- Open a repo for your thesis and use it as your scratch pad. Keep all your important files, documents and codes there (only exception is large files such as FEA files).
- I expect you to keep your repo updated (for a few examples: Hakansrc, Gknckl, Ghandeb, Furkankarakaya
- It is good to have a weekly to do list, so I can follow your progress.
- Use meaningful commit messages so I can understand what you are working on.
b) Following Recent Publications
- It is your responsibility to follow latest papers in your research area.
- Get familiar with Google Sccholar and IEEExplore.
- Scan new journal issues and conference proceedings for your research interests.
- Set up Google Scholar Alerts to discover latest publications.
- Scan relevant papers using the cited by feature.
- Don’t store hundreds of PDFs in random folders, instead use a proper reference management software.
- Although you are free to use any reference management software, I encourage you to use Mendeley.
- Join to the Mendeley PowerLab Group. It gives you access to a large storage space and you can read the papers added by your friends.
c) To Do Lists
- It is your responsibility to have an efficient method for tracking your to do items. You can have a notebook, a cork-board or use Github Issues.
- My preferred method is to use Trello.
- Join to the PowerLab group in Trello and relevant boards.
- Although digital methods is convenient, I still advise you to have a regular notebook for capturing your ideas and keeping your experimental results.
d) Efficient Writing Tools
- Learn how to use LaTeX.
- The quickest way to start using LaTeX is online editors. I advise OverLeaf
- Once you have a grasp of it, it is always better to have a local LaTeX installed in your computer.
- Use a good text editor. I personally use Vim, but you can use Atom, Notepad++ etc.
- Start writing your thesis in LaTeX and keep it in a GitHub repo.
- Spend some time to have standard figures, have legible axis labels and numbers.
- Learn the difference between vector and bitmap images. Don’t use “print screen” in your documents.
3- Get Advice from Others
Don’t just take my word (in fact don’t just take my word for anything), and talk to your colleagues and keep reading useful essays. Here are a few links for a start:
- Modest Advice for New Graduate Students
- Advice for Incoming Graduate Students
- How to Be a Successful Grad Student: Insider Advice
- Tips for Thriving in Graduate School
- Publishing in Graduate School: Tips for New Graduate Students
Here are a few useful links, that you can use later on: