Software Carpentry

CODATA-RDA Summer School in TriesteBy Mario Antonioletti, Research Software Engineer

Last week, thanks to the Software Sustainability Institute, I was lucky enough to go teach the R and SQL lessons from Software Carpentry at the The CODATA-RDA Research Data Science Summer School held near Trieste in Italy. The Summer School focuses on providing participants from all over the world, with six out of the seven continents represented, growing competence in accessing, analysing, visualising and publishing data. The School is open to participants from all disciplines and/or background from the sciences to humanities. The first week, which provides a basic framework, is followed by three applied workshops that focus on Extreme sources of data, bioinformatics, and IoT/Big Data analytics. So participants cover a lot of material over the two weeks of their attendance.

I was provided 1.5 days to do R and half a day to do SQL. This was done over three days. The typical modus operandi for the Carpentries is that you type and they follow, typing the same thing you do, as an instructor, to their own terminals. For R though, I previously found that it is hard to keep up and easy for the participants to lose contact with the commands…

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Library carpentryBy Julianne Schneider, Data Curator

This post was originally published at the Software Carpentry website.

In the space of a year, interest and participation in the Library Carpentry community has exploded like an amoeba who over-ate at an algae banquet and attempted one too many pseudopods.For Library Carpentry, though, this is a good thing; the pseudopods are propelling us forward across institutions, disciplines, and continents. The community, grounded in collaborative tools like Github and Gitter (I always want to type Glitter) is coalescing around lesson development and holding new workshops. Why is the buzz so strong? I think it’s a combination of relentless energy from people like Belinda Weaverand Tim Dennis (to name just a few), the acceptance and active encouragement of new people who want to contribute in some way, and the mutual recognition by all of us that in any one thing, we are all absolute beginners, and we all give each other permission to be terrible until we aren’t.

I am still terrible at Github and command line and use Tim’s Github workflow post every time I work with Github - seriously, this is Github workflow…

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CDT mapThe Software Sustainability Institute has gathered information on the Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) in a map, as some of them may require training in basic software development skills to help scientists improve or speed up their research, ensure that their results are more reliable and verifiable, encourage sharing code and collaboration with others and aid reproducibility overall. As the Institute already has multi-year training agreements with some CDTs relating to running and coordinating Software Carpentry (SWC) and Data Carpentry (DC) workshops, we were also interested to identify other centres, which may be interested in either helping with setting up regional training centres or setting up their own software training.

Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), also called Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs), are one of the several ways by which research councils in the UK provide support for advanced, high-level and increasingly interdisciplinary scientific training following undergraduate studies.

Go to the interactive map and find out more.


The Software Sustainability Institute, ELIXIR UK and the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford are jointly organising a Bioinformatics Software Carpentry workshop in NGS data analysis. 

The workshop will be held at the Medical Sciences Teaching Center (MSTC) over 3 days, 5th-7th December 2016. The first two days will cover the standard Software Carpentry curriculum (introduction to the UNIX shell, GitHub as well as programming and data visualisation in R). The third day will involve hands-on next generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis in R. The aim is to make the course accessible to beginners, however some prior bioinformatics knowledge/skills will be an advantage. 

Please visit the workshop page for further information. The workshop is completely booked. However, if you are interested in attending, please get in touch with Aleksandra Nenadic in the case there are some cancellations and late availability.

Instructor TrainingBy Steve Crouch, Software Sustainability Institute, with Karin Lagesen, University of Oslo, and Laurent Gatto, University of Cambridge.

Last month, we held a Software and Data Carpentry Instructor Training workshop at the University of Cambridge, sponsored by the R Consortium. The demand for Carpentry events in the UK, and trained instructors to facilitate them, has always been very high, and I found this to be a very enjoyable event to increase the instructor pool in the UK.

The main organiser of the event was Laurent Gatto, a Software Sustainability Institute Fellow who has delivered numerous Carpentry courses since becoming a certified instructor in 2014. We also had the able helping hands of Paul Judge and Gabriella Rustici from the University of Cambridge Bioinformatics Training facility, who assisted greatly with the event and helped us make great use of the sophisticated presentation systems present in the training room.

The workshop was held on 19th and 20th of September, with myself and Karin Lagesen as instructors. We were delighted with the very high level of engagement from the 25 trainees - this was very much the kind of group we hope…

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SoftwareCarpentryNewcastle.jpgSoftware is of fundamental importance to most research, but many of the next generation of researchers will lack the skills they need to exploit it. A good understanding of software, and the confidence to develop it, allows researchers to get more work done in less time, and produce results that are both reliable and reproducible. The Software Sustainability Institute is an EPSRC-approved supplier of training for the Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT). 

Since 2012, over 1000 students have benefited from the training we deliver together with Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry - initiatives that have been developed for researchers from all disciplines. The Software Carpentry training covers a series of practical software engineering techniques and practices that provide the skills needed to harness the power of software and develop robust and maintainable code. The Data Carpentry training focuses on effective data management, analysis and sharing to support reproducible research.

Why Software and Data Carpentry?

The Software Carpentry initiative was founded in 1998, and is run by Software Carpentry Foundation. It has the backing of many leading figures in the scientific software community, and over 6000 students worldwide have benefited from the training. In 2012, we were made the UK…

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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

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…

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Thanks to generous sponsorship from the R Consortium, Software Carpentry is running a two-day R instructor training class in Cambridge on September 19-20, 2016. If you are active in the R and/or Software and Data Carpentry communities, and wish to take part in this training, please fill in this application form. We will select applicants, and notify everyone who applied, by June 30, 2016; those who are selected will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation. If you have any questions, please mail

Please note that as a condition of taking this training:

  1. You are required to abide by our code of conduct, which can be found at

  2. You must complete three short tasks after the course in order to complete certification. The tasks are described at, and take a total of approximately 2 hours.

  3. You are expected to teach at a Software Carpentry or Data Carpentry workshop within 12 months of the course.

This news was originally posted on the Software Carpentry website…

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Data Carpentry ( seeks to hire a full-time staff member to direct its assessment activities. This person will design, implement, monitor, analyze, and report on a comprehensive system of metrics to help the Data Carpentry project and its sibling organization, Software Carpentry (, evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the training they offer, to both learners and instructors.

Data Carpentry is a not-for-profit organization developing and teaching workshops on fundamental data skills needed to conduct research. Its mission is to provide researchers high-quality, domain-specific training covering the full lifecycle of data-driven research. Data Carpentry lessons are intentionally domain specific, and span the life, physical, and social sciences. Data Carpentry workshops create an environment friendly to learners who have little to no prior computational experience, and are designed to empower researchers to apply the skills learned to data driven discovery in their own research.

The Deputy Director of Assessment position is initially funded for 2 years through a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The incumbent will be hired and paid as a contractor of NumFOCUS, Data Carpentry’s fiscal sponsor and grant funds administrator. Review of applications will begin May 20, 2016, and the position will remain open until filled.

For a full description, including instructions on how to apply, please see

By Aleksandra Pawlik, Training Leader

Last week the Institute in collaboration with the North West UniversityCape Town University and Talarify helped run the first face-to-face Software and Data Carpentry Instructor Training. 23 new instructors from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya attended the event. After the workshop the Institute's work was also presented at the Association of South African University Directors of Information Technology (ASAUDIT) Autumn General Institutional Meeting. 

The Instructor Training started off on Sunday, 17th April in the evening with a short ice-breaking session of lightning talks during which the participants talked about "The coolest thing about their job" for 2 minutes. The experience in chairing similar sessions during the Institute's Collaborations Workshop turned out to be invaluable!

On Monday we introduced the participants to the Mozilla Science Lab Study Groups. The goal of this session was to create foundations for collaborative, peer-to-peer environments in which researchers can share their knowledge and skills.  After lunch we moved on to the Instructor Training curriculum. All participants were very engaged during the group exercises and were eager to discuss effective approaches to teaching and the practical applications of educational psychology theories. One of the most…

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