Software Carpentry makes its debut in Manchester

Posted by m.jackson on 19 April 2013 - 7:21pm

Kilburn Building By Mike Jackson.

After last week's EGI Forum, I returned to The University of Manchester where I led a Software Carpentry boot camp alongside my Institute colleague Aleksandra Pawlik, and David Jones from the Climate Code Foundation. Both Aleksandra and David, who helped out at the Edinburgh boot camp in December, made their instructor debuts.

We had 24 attendees and covered the tried-and-tested topics of shell, automation and Make, revision control and Git, Python programming and testing, with a new session on searching for information on the web. Though there were specific concerns, mostly relating to the pace - we had attendees with a range of expertise - the attendees unanimously agreed that they had enjoyed the boot camp (“A good two days! Thanks :)”), found it useful, that they would recommend it to their colleagues, and that universities should offer them. One attendee commented…

…within my field…there are already lots of workshops covering the specific software packages but nothing to do with generally using computers to automate stuff so this camp filled a big gap in the teaching available to me.

…exactly the gap between learning to code and using specific packages that Software Carpentry is designed to fill!

Most attendees, who were from bioinformatics, expressed a desire for a bioinformatics-specific boot camp. Popular areas requested included R (an increasingly popular request from boot camps), the numpy and scipy Python scientific libraries, Pandas (a Python data analysis library) and BioPython.

One attendee suggested workshops where people bring their own projects that they can improve with advice - which is a service The Software Sustainability offers - get in touch if you’re interested. And, for more news on our involvement in Software Carpentry or if you want to get involved as a helper, instructor or organiser, check out our Software Carpentry web page or contact  us.