Software Carpentry: Considering the Future

When Software Carpentry became part of the merged Carpentries this January, outgoing Software Carpentry steering committee members Rayna Harris and Christina Koch were tasked with continuing the work of the steering committee. For the past several weeks, we’ve been working together with a small group to determine what Software Carpentry needs as a sub-community to grow and thrive in the future, and we have identified two primary goals.

One first goal is a restatement of Software Carpentry’s mission. The Carpentries are growing by leaps and bounds, so this seems like a timely moment to stop and think about what Software Carpentry is doing as a branch of the Carpentries and why. This exploration of mission and identity isn’t just so we can have a nice tagline, but to provide direction and a reference point for future decisions that impact the community.

Our second main goal is to improve the support for maintaining and curating the lessons we already have.

But we can’t do these things alone! We’re looking to the community to help us achieve our goals. This has already been happening for our second goal, as Erin Becker (even before the Carpentries merged) has been building up the community of lesson maintainers and recruiting new lesson maintainers. Most recently she opened applications for a Software Carpentry curriculum advisory committee that will be a resource for individual lesson maintainers (see the blog post by the Carpentry curriculum advisory for more information).

We’d like to now take action to make our first goal happen. Moving forward, over the next 6-8 weeks, we’d like to invite all members of the Software Carpentry community to join us in thinking about our identity and what we are hoping to accomplish as Software Carpentry lesson developers, maintainers, instructors, workshop organizers, learners, and champions. Whether you’re a newly trained instructor, have commented on the lessons many times, or are just organizing your first workshop – we want to hear from you; all are welcome.

Ideas, suggestions and concerns from the community will be gathered in two ways. The first way is to talk with us “in person” by joining one of the hour-long calls that we’ll be scheduling. If you don’t have the time for a call, we will also have a form with suggested questions to fill out.

We know that this is a bit of an ask – everyone is busy (who wants another meeting or form to fill out?). However, based on my past experience in workshops, trainings, and the mentoring-hosted discussion sessions, I always leave a conversation with fellow “carpenters” with new ideas, new connections and a lot of hope about the world. This is an invitation to give that to yourself by joining the conversation, with the added bonus of helping us craft a summary of this community’s mission and values that truly reflects its members.

Action Item

Sign up on the agenda to attend a call or fill out the form. We look forward to hearing from you!

We plan to be receiving community feedback from now until the end of April. We will review these community contributions and present them to the community some time in May.


Community Software Carpentry Steering Committee