The Carpentries for Coding & Data Analysis

The Carpentries - formally Software and Data Carpentry - aims to teach digital and computational literacy to researchers, postgraduate students, and support staff in IT and the libraries through open access materials and methodologies.

About the Carpentries

The Carpentries, previously known as two separate organisations - Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry, have been working with South African academics since 2013 to develop digital and computational skills locally. Not only do they teach tools such as R, Python, version control with git and Github, but they also offer a train-the-trainer workshop.

Over the past six years, almost 30 digital and computational literacy workshops and three in-person train-the-trainer events in South Africa. Visit the official past and upcoming workshop websites to see the Carpentries’ global footprint. Local organisations that have hosted these events include:

  • University of the Western Cape
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Stellenbosch
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • North-West University
  • University of Limpopo
  • University of Venda
  • University of KwaZulu Natal
  • South African Earth Observation Network
  • PyConZA

Where does the funding come from?

Most of the events that were run in South Africa, have been funded jointly by several grants, individuals, companies, and other stakeholders. In some cases workshops require a registration fee to help cover costs.

Since 2016 the RCCP II has co-funded a large number of workshops and instructor training events. RCCP II will continue to fund these workshops in 2018. For more information, please get in touch. A full list of upcoming workshops and funding opportunities will be posted on the website shortly.

What do they teach?

All Carpentry materials are published under open licences and can be re-used in other contexts. For a full list of lessons, please visit:

Lessons typically include:

  • Using the bash shell for automation of repetitive tasks
  • R and Python for data analysis and visualisation
  • Programming in Python and R
  • Databases with SQL
  • Version control and collaboration with git and Github
  • More…

Feedback from past workshops in SA

There is a tradition of providing feedback to the community about workshops that have been run. Instructors and hosts are encouraged to participate in discussion sessions to share their experiences and lessons learned in order to prevent having to reinvent the wheel over and over again.

To this effect several of our instructors have written blog posts about their local workshops, but also about their experiences as instructors in other African countries:

How can you get involved?

Please email the African Carpentries Workshop Administrator at to request a workshop or get more information.

You can also complete the online workshop request forms respectively for Software Carpentry or Data Carpentry workshops.