Meet Software Carpentry.
On a volunteer basis, members of this company teach basic software proficiencies to scientists in any field, including biology, physical sciences, engineering and medicine. They also provide a large amount of training tools, e.g. videos, online, all for free! This company walks the talk about open-access material for self-paced instruction in software skills. Moreover, their products are professional. Software Carpentry carries loads of experience gained since their 1998 founding, and from their current participation in the Mozilla Science Lab. This provides for a professional and rich infusion of computer science literacy into the scientific community.
I recently began working through Software Carpentry’s tutorials, and I must say that I am amazed by the work of this organization. Already after less than a week of training I am seeing benefits, including greater awareness and the means to use my computer and other computational resources more efficiently in my research. As a result, I highly recommend Software Carpentry. [More coming soon.]
Check them out and let me know what you think!
On a related note, I have also been working on command line and programming skills found in the book, Practical Computing for Biologists, by Haddock and Dunn. Working with this book on and off over the last year, I have also found this to be an excellent resource.
If you don’t have much time, you can at least use resources like Software Carpentry’s first few tutorials, and the first few chapters of Haddock and Dunn, in order to understand the very basics of practical computing skills for researchers. For example, with just a few days with these resources (or less!) you can learn tools for version control, working in the shell, and basic grep commands that you can use for super find and replace moves.