Software Carpentry

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Software Carpentry is an international collaboration to teach researchers (which have minimal or no prior knowledge in computational skills) some basic software development skills in order to help them improve or speed up their research. 

As an official Software Carpentry Foundation Partner, we coordinate Software Carpentry activities in the UK by helping organise workshops for the UK research community. For more information about our collaboration with Software Carpentry or organising a Software Carpentry workshop in the UK, email us at info@software.ac.uk.

What is Software Carpentry

Software Carpentry Foundation is a volunteer non-profit organisation dedicated to teaching basic computing skills to researchers. Software Carpentry workshops are hands-on two-day training events during which the attendees gain practical skills and understanding how particular software development tools and methodologies can benefit their own work. Software Carpentry workshops started in the US in 1998 and have since gained international recognition being hosted by various institutions worldwide.

The core curriculum taught at Software Carpentry workshops includes:

  • automating tasks using the Unix shell;
  • structured programming in Python or R;
  • version control using Git;
  • and data management using SQL.

All training material is freely available online.

Why we are involved with Software Carpentry

Software Carpentry shares our vision of wanting to help researchers confidently and efficiently develop software that contributes to correct, reproducible and reusable research. 

We became involved with Software Carpentry in 2011 by developing online lectures in advanced shell tricks and systems programming in Python. In April 2012, we participated in the first general UK workshop, led by the Software Carpentry's creator, Greg Wilson, at the University College London. A fortnight later, in conjunction with the Digital Institute at the Newcastle University and SoundSoftware, we delivered the first workshop to be run entirely by UK tutors, independent of Greg Wilson's team. We have since instructed upon the majority of workshops run in the UK as well as helped to deliver workshops in Europe and the USA. We also wrote a comprehensive guide on how to run workshops.

In February 2013, we volunteered to coordinate Software Carpentry activities in the UK. We do this by helping promote Software Carpentry and helping researchers bring Software Carpentry to their institution, community or collaboration. In early 2015, soon after the set up of the Organisational Membership scheme, we became a Software Carpentry Foundation Partner.

"We are pleased to have the Software Sustainability Institute take over coordination of UK workshops. The Institute shares many goals and values with Software Carpentry, and we believe this partnership will benefit both organisations." - Greg Wilson, Founder of Software Carpentry and the (then) Executive Director of the Software Carpentry Foundation.

What we offer

We provide advice on the organisation and running of workshops. This includes possible adjusting of the syllabus, helping to recruit instructors and helpers for workshops from Software Carpentry's pool of volunteers, advising on publicity and providing support in all aspects of organising, or hosting, a workshop. For more on workshops please see:

Several Institute's staff members are also certified Software Carpentry instructors with extensive experience in teaching at workshops and helping set them up and run them on site.