Yesterday, I argued that computer programming should be part of basic instruction.
Today, I’ll talk about a particular group of people who need to learn to programme: scientists, even lab scientists.
Personally, one of the great draws of moving away from academia into industry (the good industry places, at least) is to be able to use decent tools. Code sharing is a solved problem (the solution is version control). CVS was released in 1986. That’s almost 30 years ago. In academia, use of this type of tool is not (yet?) widespread.
In this context, I have (for a long time now) been putting my effort where my mouth is and created a course called Programming for Scientists, which I have taught a couple of times.
Last week, at EMBL, I helped teach a course on Python. This was done on a tight schedule and still we were overwhelmed with demand (we sold out in about 24 after a single email announcement).
Software Carpentry is another great project to teach scientists about programming and computer usage.