Software Carpentry

Helping scientists make better software since 1997

Our Target Audience

Some graduate students at the University of Toronto have asked us to run the course for them later this fall or during the winter. There’s an obvious selection bias (if they were expert programmers, they wouldn’t need this course), but I think they’re pretty representative of scientists at their level:

01. Name 39/39 100%
02. Email address 39/39 100%
03. Level of study
MSc 12/39 30%
PhD 27/39 70%
04. Primary programming language
MATLAB 16/39 41%
Python 2/39 5%
Other 6/39 15%
None 15/39 39%
05. Knowledge of primary language
Don’t know how to use it 28/39 72%
Understand basic commands 10/39 26%
Can program competently 1/39 2%
Expert 0/30 0%
06. What other languages do you know?
HTML 11/27 41%
R 4/27 15%
Other (VB, Java, Perl, etc.) 10/27 37%
No answer 12/39
07. Would you like pre-class tutorial on
programming basics (loops, files, if/else)?
Yes 36/39 92%
No 3/39 8%
08. Do you have a laptop?
Yes 39/39 100%
No 0/39 0%
09. Preferred OS
Windows XP 14/39 36%
Windows Vista 12/39 31%
Mac OS X 7/39 18%
Linux/Unix 9/30 0%
10. Do you have a MATLAB license?
Yes 9/39 23%
No 30/30 77%
11. Which topics are you interested in?
Databases 16/39 47%
Functions and Modules 14/39 41%
Debugging 10/39 29%
Image Processing 10/39 30%
Object-Oriented Programming 10/39 30%
Web Application Programming 9/39 26%
GUI Programming 8/39 23%
Web Client Programming 7/39 21%
Computational Complexity 6/39 18%
How Web Servers Work 6/39 18%
Regular Expressions 6/39 18%
XML 6/39 18%
Automated Builds 5/39 15%
Sets and Dictionaries 5/39 15%
Unix Shell Scripting 5/39 15%
Binary Data 3/39 9%
Empirical Software Engineering 3/39 9%
Quality Assurance 3/39 9%
Unit Testing 3/39 9%
Version Control 3/39 9%
Software Development Lifecycles 1/39 3%
Other (please specify) 10/39 30%
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Written by Greg Wilson

2009/11/01 at 14:04

Posted in Toronto

2 Responses

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  1. Out of curiosity, do you have demographic information about what the degree programs are (e.g., physics, biology)?

    I suspect favored programming language varies greatly by domain. I’m interested to know which fields are using MATLAB these days. I know EEs love it, but no clue about who else is really using it.

    Sad but not surprised to see things like “quality assurance”, “unit testing” and “version control” score so low as topics of interest.

    On the other hand, nice to see interest in R, which is a wonderful language for scientists to know.

    Lorin

    2009/11/01 at 15:23

  2. @Lorin Most of these students are in the life sciences (broadly construed); can’t be more specific than that.

    Greg Wilson

    2009/11/01 at 16:57


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