I am not a coder, plain and simple. I may work in Matlab some, but even that involves a lot of trial and error for me. What would take some of my friends 5 minutes can take me an hour or more as I muddle my way through function calls and syntax. I am definitely keen to learn though. In my geodesy class we had a semester-long project in which we became a virtual GPS receiver and had to solve for different position fixes (basically using multiple iterations of a least-squares analysis). Most people pick Excel to do it in, including the prof. All that copy and paste and only one line in which to type your equations just gets me, and I cannot do it. I decided on Matlab. I definitely struggled with it a lot, but it was relatively easy to debug when there were issues, and in the end it actually worked.
Now one of my other profs is trying to sway me towards R instead of Matlab. The draw of R is that it is freeware, highly supported by users, and completely object-oriented. Apparently it is rapidly becoming the main coding software of statisticians. The drawback, for me obviously, is switching over and starting from scratch all over again. Other profs tell me to stick with Matlab, it is more mainstream and therefore more widely-accepted. I wonder though, which is better? Perhaps R is more intuitive, which would certainly be nice...
Perl versus Python is another deciding point for me. I recently worked with some Python code involving the same tide data from the blog below. Python seems relatively straightforward on first glance and is pretty powerful. It certainly ran through an entire month of 12-second tide data and converted all the raw temperatures, water levels, and time stamps in mere seconds. Mightily impressive. Then someone told me about Perl. It is also a great language and can do the same things as Python. If you look it up online, people rant and rave about both. A lot of folks seem to think that while Python is somewhat easier to script in than Perl, Perl is still the better choice. Python appears to be more user-friendly, but Perl can work with other programming languages (such as C++) better than Python. Also, it seems that while Perl can do everything Python can, the vice-versa is not necessarily true. My question is for someone who really has no experience with either, but wants to learn one to help with data processing, which one is better? Should I go for the one that is easier to use, or the one that has more compatibility? Does it even really matter for what I will be doing? How much coding will analyzing full-waveform lidar data even require?
Blah, why are there so many options?