Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

2015 Election: Matt Davis

In January 2012 I had the good luck to be in one of Greg Wilson's first workshops after he rebooted Software Carpentry in the current two-day format. I ended up as a helper in that workshop, and a month later I was in Toronto teaching Python as Software Carpentry's first volunteer instructor. Over the past three years I have:

  • taught at more workshops than I can remember
  • helped transition our materials from SVN to GitHub
  • written lessons and ipythonblocks
  • recruited and mentored new instructors
  • publicized Software Carpentry at conferences

Volunteering with Software Carpentry has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done and I'd be honored to continue helping as a member of the SCF Steering Committee.

In college I studied aerospace engineering and astronomy, but I dropped out of grad school in 2008 to become a professional programmer specializing in scientific applications. Since then I've worked for NASA, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and Bay Area startups. I'm currently a senior software engineer at Autodesk. I work outside of Software Carpentry's core audience of scientific academics, but I think my industry experience and connections can be valuable to Software Carpentry.

As a member of the SCF Steering Committee I'd like to focus on three related topics in addition to day-to-day responsibilities of keeping Software Carpentry running smoothly:

  • Continue improving our tools and processes. The less time we spend on administration and setup the more time we spend writing and delivering lessons.
  • Expand the types of Software Carpentry workshops. The current two-day, four-topic workshops are working well for us, but I think we could expand to other formats, especially shorter ones. More instructors could participate more often if they had opportunities to teach for an afternoon or evening.
  • Improve diversity within Software Carpentry and among attendees. Supporting a diverse Software Carpentry is important for many reasons, most importantly that it's the right thing to do. But in addition, having a diverse membership will help us expand into new disciplines where the skills taught by Software Carpentry are needed (especially social sciences); and a diverse membership will help keep Software Carpentry full of fresh ideas.

These ideas are all related to and important for the continued growth of Software Carpentry, and I'm excited to help lead that growth. If you'd like to learn more about me:

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment here or send me an email.

SOFTWARE CARPENTRY FOUNDATION · ELECTION 2015

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