By Niall Beard, myGrid, University of Manchester

On 9th and 10th November myself and Ian Dunlop (also myGrid, University of Manchester) taught at a Software Carpentry workshop for 12 NHS trust Informaticians. The workshop was a part of the MSc in Clinical Bioinformatics course led by professor Andy Brass at the University of Manchester. The workshop followed up a success of the same training delivered for was  for the last year's student cohort. This year as well, the feedback was very positive.

Ian and I had our first experience teaching and were both impressed by how enthusiastic and engaged the students were. In only two days, we got through a considerable amount of content such as file navigation and manipulation in the command line; mastering the basic Git workflow; parsing XML files; and writing tested and documented Python code. 

We asked questions regularly to keep our students engaged and were amazed to find they not only had the correct answers, but had more questions to ask us; which showed a great comprehension of the topics covered. Using VM images meant setup time was minimal and there was none of the unexpected environmental issues that trainers face when trainees bring their own laptops. We got our students to create new git repositories for every program they made and had them periodically push them to GitHub to reinforce the Git workflow. We thought it best to impress on them not just how to use Git, but when to.
Best bit: Pairing up students to try and make merge…

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By Aleksandra Pawlik, Training Leader.

Last month saw us run a special Software Carpentry course for students undertaking the MSc in Clinical Bioinformatics course at the University of Manchester. This combines an academic curriculum with a work-based programme.

The students are already qualified professionals and based at various clinical units throughout the UK, with teaching take place during short, intense training sessions.

The instructors at the Software Carpentry workshop were the Institute’s Aleksandra Nenadic, who taught for the first time, and myself. We were also supported by Mike Cornell and course leader Professor Andy Brass who acted as helpers.

After a few discussions with Andy, we decided to embed the regular Software Carpentry workshop into a week-long training program that aimed to teach the students best practice in programming but also give them a higher level overview to help them in their future careers. With this in mind, we included a module on unit testing to demonstrate alternatives to regression testing.

We also added a brief introduction…

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By Helen Jackson and Carl Reynolds, academic clinical fellow and CEO, Open Healthcare UK.

The NHS Hack Day (NHSHD) series was the brainchild of Dr Carl Reynolds, an academic clinical fellow in respiratory medicine and founder and CEO of Open Healthcare UK. NHS Hack Day, London Edition 2014, will take place in May with the final date to be confirmed very soon. This will be the seventh event in a very successful series of hack events with a healthcare theme. 

On how he had the idea, Carl says "I was whinging about broken NHS IT, and Tom [Taylor] told me about the recent hack day he had participated in at the Cabinet Office and said why not have an NHS Hack Day? It seemed like a good idea, so when we got home we decided to make it happen...".

Carl began by writing a one-page brief Can NHS digital services learn from the Cabinet Office?, and recruited friends including Ross Jones, Sam Smith, Nicholas Tollervey, Francis Irving, Wai Keong Wong and a handful of others to help organise the first NHS Hack Day, which took place in London in 2012. Since then, there have been events in Liverpool, Oxford, Cambridge and Cardiff as well, with the upcoming event marking the third visit to London.

From the outset the goals have been:

  1. Have fun. This is an opportunity for bright doctors, developers, and designers to meet and learn from people in other…
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