Computer programming skills are a prerequisite for scientists and engineers, even bench scientists. Today learning how to code creates opportunities for scientists to pose questions the answers to which may be found in vast datasets—from questions about genomics to public health. Computer programing is a necessary tool for engineers—whether they are designing new materials or robots. Finally, it is likely a truism that for the rising generation of young people today, computer programing skills are a gateway to a majority of high-performing careers during their professional lifetimes.
This course uses Python to teach computer programming. Python is a dominant science and engineering language used today. Over the course of the year students learn logic, syntax, objects, functions, and other key elements of programming in Python. The course is designed to build upon these programming fundamentals at increasing levels of sophistication throughout the course of the year from various entry points for learning.
Once students master simple programming basics, they begin to apply their learning to fun programming projects. Instructors thoughtfully select and/or design specific projects to underscore different aspects of programming upon which they seek to broaden and/or deepen student understanding.
When students have sufficient programming competency, they apply their skills to analyzing datasets as a scientist would. At this juncture, interest in asking questions of datasets becomes the catalyst for expanding and refining student programming skills. Instructors prepare datasets to encourage specific learning objectives. Possible datasets may include public health, social media (e.g., Twitter), etc.
Students who will use their own laptops must bring them to the first session so that Ti2 staff members can install all programs. If a student does not have a Mac/PC, they will use a Ti2 laptop during class. Instructors have a strong preference to install programs onsite but will also provide detailed instructors before the start of class to those families who need to use third parties to install needed software.
Who Should Enroll?
Introduction to Computer Programming has been thoughtfully designed to remove obstacles that can become barriers to learning. It is designed for students who:
- may want to explore programming but have been turned off by the culture sometimes found in such courses
- are not necessarily interested in playing and designing electronic games
- want to be scientists and/or engineers but do not think that they can be successful at programming
The class welcomes both males and females. It also particularly encourages those young people to enroll who might think that computer programming is not 'for them.'
For a variety of reasons, female participation in computer programming advanced degree programs declined precipitously during the mid 1980’s. With so much opportunity in technology-intensive careers, it is important to reengage females, who are vastly underrepresented in these areas currently.
Students who have not had prior experience with coding should enroll. Please contact Ti2 staff members to discuss further at 617 340-9907.