Budding ecologist here; suggestions/advices please?

I will be joining a Masters Ecology in Fall 2020. Since I have a year off and a confirmed admission, I wanted to invest my year-long time in improving/building skills that would help me in the future. I am largely interested in plant ecology, pollination ecology, species distribution and biodiversity change. My long term plan is to become a professor at a good university and this requires me to have strong research skills among others.

I have a fair idea of softwares I need to know (R, QGIS, Maxent, MATLAB, etc) and have had a good amount of experience in using QGIS (2 years) and MATLAB (3-4 months). It would be of immense help if information regarding (preferably free) courses that teach these softwares were suggested.

Please let me know if there are any courses, softwares, or anything else that I will have need/find useful.

Many thanks 🙂