Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Congratulations to Data Carpentry

In case you missed the announcement last week, our sibling organization Data Carpentry has received funding from the Moore Foundation to support its activities and growth, and Dr. Tracy Teal (a long-time contributor to Software Carpentry, and one of the founders of Data Carpentry) has accepted a position as Data Carpentry's project lead. We're very excited by both developments, and are looking forward to continuing to work with them.

Like us, Data Carpentry runs intensive two-day workshops for researchers in science, engineering, medicine, and related fields. However, their focus is data analysis rather than programming: where we teach version control, for example, they show people how to get data out of spreadsheets and into tools that better support reproducible research.

Another significant difference is that Data Carpentry's curriculum assumes no prior programming experience, and that's going to help Software Carpentry get back to its original mission. When we relaunched in 2010, our goal was to teach scientists who were programming badly how to program better. What we found, though, was that a lot of people who had never programmed before at all were coming to our workshops because it was the only training they could find. It has been difficult to develop curriculum for, and teach to, that broad spread of prior knowledge; now that Data Carpentry exists, we hope that both flavors of workshop will be more consistent, and hence more effective.

We plan to work closely with Data Carpentry (I'm on their board, and Tracy Teal is on ours). In particular, we hope to share teaching materials where we can and put people through the same instructor training (though we'll probably each supplement that in different curriculum-specific ways). If you'd like to help them out, please get in touch.

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