Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Three Years Later

It's not putting it too strongly to say that Software Carpentry changed my life.

That's where Software Carpentry came in. I had just about given up on learning to program, resigning myself to a lifetime of GUI-clicking and begging for help whenever more was needed. Then I got an email from a friend, forwarding some information about the course. Hallelujah! Finally, a course for beginners like me, which didn't assume any prior knowledge but also didn't talk down. The things I learned have opened countless doors for me. I can write my own code and understand code written by others, and I'm not afraid to learn new programming languages as needed. I even took a postdoc in a highly computational lab, which I would never have had the nerve to do if it weren't for Software Carpentry. Given my background and interests, I'll probably never be one of the really expert programmers in my field, but I don't need to be. I know more than enough to function independently, and more importantly, I know how to ask the experts for help, and I can understand their answers.

Acquaintances will tell you that I've become a bit messianic about promoting training in computer programming to psychologists. I think too many people in my field have given up on the idea of learning, like I did. To them I say, if I can do it, so can you! So thank you to all the talented people who have put their energy into the course. The program has a made a huge difference to my career, and I would recommend it in a heartbeat to anyone who needs this kind of training.

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