Introduction to Programming with Python

CQ University

Mar 5-6, 2020

9:00am - 4:00pm

Instructors: Jason Bell



To register – you must email Jason Bell ( to register for this event.

You must attend for the full day, unless otherwise confirmed with the instructor. With this training provided online using Zoom, places are very limited. With this in mind, if you register to attend and then don’t attend the full training, you may be banned from any other training provided by CQUniversity eResearch Support for the remaining of the year. Obviously, if there are extenuating circumstances, then they will be considered. If you cannot make this workshop for any reason, please inform the trainers 48 hours prior to the start of the workshop.

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: Virtual workshop taught over Zoom

When: Mar 5-6, 2020. Add to your Google Calendar.

Requirements: Participants must bring a laptop with a Mac, Linux, or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc.) that they have administrative privileges on. They should have a few specific software packages installed (listed below).

Contact: Please email or for more information.

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.


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

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey


Day 1

(Introduction to Programming with Python)

Before Pre-workshop survey
09:00 Running and Quitting
09:15 Variables and Assignment
9:50 Data Types and Type Conversion
10:30 Morning break
10:45 Built-in Functions and Help
11:30 Libraries
12:30 Lunch break
13:15 Reading Tabular Data into DataFrames
14:00 Pandas DataFrames
14:45 Afternoon break
15:00 Plotting
16:00 Wrap-up
16:30 END

Day 2

(Intermediate to Advanced Programming in Python)

09:00 Lists
09:45 For-Loops
10:30 Morning break
10:45 Looping Over Data Sets
11:30 Variable Scope
12:15 Lunch break
13:00 Conditionals
13:45 Writing Functions
14:45 Afternoon break
15:00 Programming Style
15:45 Wrap-up
16:15 Feedback
16:15 Post-workshop Survey
16:30 END


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...


To participate in a Software Carpentry workshop, you will need access to the software described below. In addition, you will need an up-to-date web browser.

We maintain a list of common issues that occur during installation as a reference for instructors that may be useful on the Configuration Problems and Solutions wiki page.


Python is a popular language for research computing, and great for general-purpose programming as well. Installing all of its research packages individually can be a bit difficult, so we recommend Anaconda, an all-in-one installer.

Regardless of how you choose to install it, please make sure you install Python version 3.x (e.g., 3.6 is fine).

We will teach Python using the Jupyter Notebook, a programming environment that runs in a web browser (Jupyter Notebook will be installed by Anaconda). For this to work you will need a reasonably up-to-date browser. The current versions of the Chrome, Safari and Firefox browsers are all supported (some older browsers, including Internet Explorer version 9 and below, are not).

Video Tutorial
  1. Open with your web browser.
  2. Download the Anaconda for Windows installer with Python 3. (If you are not sure which version to choose, you probably want the 64-bit Graphical Installer Anaconda3-...-Windows-x86_64.exe)
  3. Install Python 3 by running the Anaconda Installer, using all of the defaults for installation except make sure to check Add Anaconda to my PATH environment variable.
  1. Open with your web browser.
  2. Download the Anaconda Installer with Python 3 for Linux.
    (The installation requires using the shell. If you aren't comfortable doing the installation yourself stop here and request help at the workshop.)
  3. Open a terminal window and navigate to the directory where the executable is downloaded (e.g., `cd ~/Downloads`).
  4. Type
    bash Anaconda3-
    and then press Tab to autocomplete the full file name. The name of file you just downloaded should appear.
  5. Press Enter. You will follow the text-only prompts. To move through the text, press Spacebar. Type yes and press enter to approve the license. Press Enter to approve the default location for the files. Type yes and press Enter to prepend Anaconda to your PATH (this makes the Anaconda distribution the default Python).
  6. Close the terminal window.