Data Carpentry Instructor Certification
for Software Carpentry Instructors

Already a Software Carpentry instructor? Become a Data Carpentry instructor too!

This post originally appeared on the Data Carpentry website

Data Carpentry has been growing over the last year, and now with the addition of Maneesha Sane as Program Coordinator, we have the chance to run even more workshops in more domains. To date, we have used some great instructors from the Software Carpentry community as teachers; what we would like to do now is put that on a more regular footing.

We want to update the instructor records to see who’s interested and qualified to teach Data Carpentry, so we’ve created a ‘Data Carpentry Instructor FastTrack’ certification. If you have already taught a Data Carpentry workshop, you’re registered as a Data Carpentry instructor and don’t need to go through the FastTrack certification process. If you are currently a Software Carpentry instructor and would like to teach core data wrangling skills to people who are new to computing, this program is for you!

This program is just for people who are already Software Carpentry instructors. The Software Carpentry Foundation will continue to train new instructors, and we’re working together on the pathways to becoming both Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry instructors. If you’re going through Instructor Training right now or in the future, we’ll make sure you know how to become a Data Carpentry instructor.

To become a Data Carpentry instructor through the FastTrack program, you should have:

  • Demonstrated teaching experience for Software Carpentry or with another organization or university
  • Enough knowledge to teach at least two of our core topics (introductions to data organization, R, Python, SQL, or OpenRefine)
  • Demonstrated interest and ability to teach people new to computing

If you are interested and meet these requirements, please apply!

Data Carpentry Instructor FastTrack Application Form:

Application deadline is Saturday, November 21 at midnight Pacific time. The shorter deadline is so that we can start scheduling workshops. If you need an extension because of mitigating circumstances, please let us know.

We’ll be reviewing the submissions and let you know the status of your certification by November 30. We will then have online meetings with the new instructors to provide an overview of Data Carpentry and the teaching materials. Once you’ve attended one of these meetings, you’ll be set to teach!

If you have questions about Data Carpentry or what we teach, please see the FAQ below or send us an email at Our Executive Director, Tracy Teal, will also be running information sessions during the Instructor Retreat on Saturday, November 14th.


What are Data Carpentry workshops?

Data Carpentry workshops are focused on data analysis and management skills for people new to computational work. Our focus is on working with data, and going from good data organization practices to getting started with data analysis and visualization in R or Python. Workshops are domain specific and use the same data set from start to finish to work through the full process of an analysis. We know that we can’t teach everything in two days, but we can teach foundational skills to help people get started and know what’s possible.

What domains are you teaching in and what skills do you teach?

We currently have lessons in Ecology and Genomics and are developing lessons for Spatial data and Social Sciences. Ecology workshops cover data organization in spreadsheets, OpenRefine for data cleaning, SQL for data management and R or Python for data analysis and visualization. Genomics lessons cover data and project organization, the command line for automation and bioinformatics analyses, working with cloud computing resources and R for data analysis and visualization. Spatial data lessons will focus on understanding spatial data and conducting data analysis and visualization on this data type in R or Python. Social Sciences will cover similar topics as Ecology but with relevant datasets and will include a text mining lesson.

Data Carpentry is a sibling organization of Software Carpentry. We use the same teaching approaches and workshop format, and the same collaborative strategy for lesson development. The Software Carpentry Foundation runs the instructor training program, but people who go through the training can be certified to teach either kind of workshop. Data Carpentry was developed to create lessons and deliver workshops focused on domain-specific data analyses for people new to computing. This was outside the Software Carpentry scope, so it was founded as a separate organization. However the organizations work closely together with members of the Steering Committee on each other’s committees, shared sub-committees and infrastructure.

  • Data Carpentry is currently designed for people with little to no prior computational experience, so no prior knowledge is assumed. Data Carpentry is for any researcher who has a dataset between them and the question they want to answer.

  • Since Data Carpentry is focused on data, our lessons are developed around the type of data that a researcher will work with. This means that for each domain, the dataset and the skills we’re teaching are tailored to that domain.

  • Data Carpentry teaches the introduction to programming with data analysis in mind. That means we teach dplyr and ggplot2 in R and pandas and numpy in Python, because that’s what we as researchers are using in our own work.

I’m a new instructor and haven’t taught a workshop yet, but I have other teaching experience. Can I be certified through the FastTrack program?

Yes, please do apply and let us know of any of your other teaching experience. We’ll be sure to pair you with an experienced instructor for your first workshop. The key is that you have some teaching experience and interest and perspective on teaching people new to computation.

I’m a new instructor and haven’t taught a workshop yet, and I don’t have other teaching experience. Is this program for me?

For the FastTrack program we are looking for people with some experience teaching already. We are however developing a short program for Software Carpentry instructors brand new to teaching that you can go through to get Data Carpentry certified.

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