Anytime that I have to learn a new technique, anytime that I have to study something I have never heard before anytime that I have to learn how to use a new program…but I love when, after hard work, I feel as if I have become a little expert on the new thing.
On a day to day basis, the biggest challenge is to design experiments well: sometimes when you get a new idea it’s tempting to rush straight into an experiment, but it’s always worth sitting down and thinking about it properly first, to make sure the experiment you’re going to do will really answer the question. Otherwise you end up wasting time.
On a longer timescale, a very big challenge is to do work that’s important enough to be published in really good scientific journals. Not only is this important in its own right (of course I want to do work that’s important) but it also impacts on your ability to get funding in the future.
Understanding complex parts of signal processing – I often need things explained to me several times, and even then I don’t necessarily get it! However, most scientists are happy to talk you through things in a simplified way – as long as you ask nicely enough!