I am a 5th year PhD student in mechanical engineering. My research has been about utilising a commercial Finite Element software to model a complex phenomenon.
For my research, I had to write small python scripts for post processing, many matlab codes to implement topology optimization algorithms (available as ready-made functions). I also wrote few Fortran subroutines to implement two constitutive equations to my simulations which involved working around the syntax provided by the software guidebook.
My concern is that, none of the programming aspects of my research required any implementation of numerical methods or any high level of programming. It was just using an available inbuilt function and wrapping a program around it to serve my purpose. So, the only skill set required here was a knowledge of basic syntax, a bit of logic and an idea of the big picture.
The numerical bit of the simulation is done by the commercially available finite element (FE) code. It's not a black box to me as I know the fundamental theory behind it. But its actually just knowing which buttons to press.
However, while I was searching for some good and relevant postdoc positions, they all mentioned one thing; "Must be an expert in some high level programming language."
My question is, what is the expectation of programming knowledge in an applied work as my research area? And what should my strategy be for the next half a year to make myself suitable for those positions?