2023 ECR Python Workshop

Modern astronomy is increasingly reliant on cutting-edge software. In particular, much data processing and analysis is performed using python, possibly the most widely-known and user-friendly open-source language. However, most early career researchers (ECRs) do not receive any formal training in critical software engineering skills. According to polling by the ECR chapter of the Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA), development of intermediate/advanced software skills is a priority amongst the Australian ECR community. The ASA ECR chapter steering committee therefore proposed to collaborate with ADACS to run an intensive workshop to address this knowledge gap.

ADACS worked with the ECR chapter to identify a range of topics that would address the knowledge gap. The workshop was run in Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney over three different weeks with online and in person participation. A new development for ADACS workshops was suggested by the ECR chapter in which the participants are invited to bring or build their own project throughout the workshop as a way to solidify many of the lessons that were being learnt along the way. The workshop schedule thus incorporated afternoon sessions that encouraged people to work in groups on their projects.

Topics for the workshop included:

  • Programming best practice
  • Project structure (files, directories, functions)
  • Coding style
  • Python packages and environment management
  • Version control, branching, and git workflows
  • GitHub, pull requests, code review, and GitHub actions
  • Testing, documenting, and debugging
  • Benchmarking, optimisation, and parallel computing methods
  • SQL, databases, and Pandas

As usual, the entire workshop syllabus has been created in the software carpentries style. This means that participants have detailed instructions and background during the workshop, but can also explore the content in a self paced manner after the workshop has completed. See the link below to access the workshop materials for yourself and get in contact with ADACS if you would like to see this content delivered again or adapted for your needs.