Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Re-doing the Three-Minute Pitch

It's time to revise Software Carpentry's three-minute pitch. Here's what I think I need to say; as always, comments would be welcome.

Opening slide: large logo, the title "Computing Skills for Scientists and Engineers", and a small block at the bottom with the date and license.

Our mission is

  • to help scientists and engineers be more productive...
  • ...by teaching them basic computing skills

The problem is

  • that scientists and engineers spend 40% or more of their time wrestling with software...
  • ...but more than 95% are largely self-taught...
  • ...so they spend hours doing what should take minutes...
  • ...reinvent a lot of wheels...
  • ...and still don't know whether their results are reliable or not

Our solution

  • combines short, intensive workshops...
  • ...with self-paced online instruction...

The benefit is

  • more confidence that computational results are correct
  • and significant increases in productivity...
  • ...a day a week is common...
  • ...and 10X isn't rare

Our workshops cover

  • the core skills a researcher needs to know in order to be productive in a small team:
  • using version control to manage and share information
  • basic Python programming
  • how (and how much) to test programs
  • working with relational databases
  • using the shell to do more in less time
  • Basically, everything you should know before you tackle things with "cloud" or "peta" in their name

Our online instruction

  • goes into these topics in more detail...
  • ...and continues with:
  • program design and construction
  • matrix programming
  • using spreadsheets in a disciplined way
  • data management
  • development lifecycles

Our content is

  • all available online...
  • ...under a Creative Commons license...
  • ...so you are free to re-use and re-mix it

Our work is supported by

  • The Sloan Foundation
  • The Mozilla Foundation

And has been supported in the past by

  • Michigan State University
  • Indiana University
  • Microsoft
  • Queen Mary University London
  • MITACS
  • SHARCNET
  • The Software Sustainability Institute
  • SciNet
  • The UK Met Office
  • The MathWorks
  • The University of Toronto
  • Enthought
  • The Python Software Foundation
  • The Space Telescope Science Institute
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory

We also depend on contributions from people like you, who

  • give us feedback...
  • ...create lessons and exercises...
  • ...and organize and deliver workshops

For more information, to get involved, or for help organizing a workshop, please

  • visit us online at ...
  • ...follow https://twitter.com/swcarpentry on Twitter...
  • ...or email admin@software-carpentry.org

Dialogue & Discussion

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