Introduction to Python

Macquarie University

3-4 Dec 2019

9:00 am - 4:30 pm

Instructors: Richard Miller, James Tocknell, Nishen Naidoo, Rhiannon Rasins

Helpers: Grant Sayer, Fergus Harrison, Lei Han

General Information

Software Carpentry aims to help researchers get their work done in less time and with less pain by teaching them basic research computing skills. This hands-on workshop will cover basic concepts and tools, including program design, version control, data management, and task automation. Participants will be encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems.

For more information on what we teach and why, please see our paper "Best Practices for Scientific Computing".

Who: The course is aimed at graduate students and other researchers. You don't need to have any previous knowledge of the tools that will be presented at the workshop.

Where: Active Learning Space, 14SCO 163 (E7B), Macquarie University, Sydney NSW 2122. Get directions with OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.

When: 3-4 Dec 2019. Add to your Google Calendar.

Requirements: Participants will need to bring a laptop with a macOS, Linux, or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc.) that they have administrative privileges on. They will need an internet browser installed (Chrome recommended). Participants must also sign-up for a GitHub account if they don't already have one.

Code of Conduct: Everyone who participates in Carpentries activities is required to conform to the Code of Conduct. This document also outlines how to report an incident if needed.

Accessibility: We are committed to making this workshop accessible to everybody. The workshop organizers have checked that:

Materials will be provided in advance of the workshop and large-print handouts are available if needed by notifying the organizers in advance. If we can help making learning easier for you (e.g. sign-language interpreters, lactation facilities) please get in touch (using contact details below) and we will attempt to provide them.

Contact: Please email or for more information.


Please be sure to complete these surveys before and after the workshop.

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey


Tuesday, 3 December 2019 (Day 1)

09:00 Getting Started (RM)
10:30 Morning break
11:00 Starting with Python (RR)
12:30 Lunch break
13:30 More Python (RR)
15:00 Afternoon break
15:30 The Unix Shell (RM)
16:30 End of Day 1

Wednesday, 4 December 2019 (Day 2)

09:00 Version control with Git (JT)
10:30 Morning break
11:00 Continuing Python (NN)
12:30 Lunch break
13:30 Yet More Python (NN)
15:00 Afternoon break
15:30 Even More Python (NN)
16:30 End of Workshop (Post-workshop Survey)


Programming in Python

  • Using Libraries
  • Working with Arrays
  • Reading and Plotting Data
  • Creating and Using Functions
  • Loops and Conditionals
  • Defensive Programming
  • Using Python from the Command Line
  • Reference...

Version Control with Git

  • Creating a Repository
  • Recording Changes to Files: add, commit, ...
  • Viewing Changes: status, diff, ...
  • Ignoring Files
  • Working on the Web: clone, pull, push, ...
  • Resolving Conflicts
  • Open Licenses
  • Where to Host Work, and Why
  • Reference...

The Unix Shell

  • Files and Directories
  • History and Tab Completion
  • Pipes and Redirection
  • Looping Over Files
  • Creating and Running Shell Scripts
  • Finding Things
  • Reference...

Pre Workshop Setup

Before attending the workshop, you will need to ensure you have:

All the workshop materials are available in the follow in GitHub Repository: