Should You Get a PhD (in biostatistics)?

Throughout the process of applying to graduate school, I felt unsure about whether getting a PhD was a good idea. I remember Googling “should I get a PhD” just to see what I could find out of curiosity. Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you’re in a similar boat. As a now second-year PhD student in biostatistics, I think I have a better idea of whether being in a PhD program has been a good choice for me and I’ll share what I think would’ve been useful for me to know back when I was applying.

My Favorite Books to Date

I sometimes get requests for book recommendations, so I decided to write a post on my favorite books.1 For each book, I give a very short description (< 3 sentences) of the book and why I enjoyed it. Hopefully, that’ll give you some idea of whether you want to read it too. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari - Harari tells a captivating story about how humans became the dominant species on the planet, with sweeping and intuitive explanations on a wide range of topics.

Point Shape Options in ggplot

I’m familiar enough with ggplot that I can make a quick plot pretty easily in most cases.1 But when it comes to fine-tuning the various plot aesthetics, like adjusting the legend position or rotating axis tick labels, I always have to look them up. Today, I will be writing about one of these pesky things: looking up the point shape options for geom_point. The available documentation for this isn’t great, so I thought it would be worthwhile to write my own reference.

Submitting Parallel Jobs on a Cluster

Recently, I’ve been running simulations on our school’s computing cluster (JHPCE), which schedules jobs using the Open Grid Engine. Each simulation takes about half a day to complete, so I could run them sequentially and wait a week to get 14 simulation points. Or I could run them in parallel and get 14 simulation points in less than a day! In theory, running my simulations in parallel should be a very straightforward task.

Setting Up My Blog: Why I Chose Hugo Over Jekyll

I’ve been reading a lot of people’s blogs in the statistics/data science world lately and it made me start thinking about things that I wanted to write about and share. So here we are – my first post! Hello world! Before I could write anything, I had to decide on how I was going to build and host the blog. For my personal website, I already use Jekyll, so it seemed natural to build my blog as part of my website.