Commit bc8304f6 authored by Toby Hodges's avatar Toby Hodges

added a little more intro to the language itself, and some description of the target audience.

parent 2cead84a
......@@ -11,8 +11,14 @@ The course materials are divided into sections. You can use the links below to v
4. [Nested Data Structures](http://nbviewer.ipython.org/github/tobyhodges/ITPP/blob/v2/4_NestedDataStructures.ipynb) - an introduction to creating and working with more complex data structures
5. [Plotting Data With Bokeh](http://nbviewer.ipython.org/github/tobyhodges/ITPP/blob/v2/5_PlottingDataWithBokeh.ipynb) - creating interactive plots with the `bokeh` library
###### The Language
Python is a high-level programming language, which is highly versatile, relatively accessible, and extremely well-supported. If you've never programmed before, Python is a great language to start with. A couple of the big reasons for this are: by the standards of programming languages, it is easy for humans to read; and, instead of spending a lot of time worrying about defining rigid types and arranging things in multiple files, it is quick to get started with actually _doing things_ with Python. This course focuses on handling tabular data and creating plots, but, after learning some of the language, you could use Python for a huge range of other tasks, such as: automate repetitive tasks; generate web content; process images; create cross-platform GUI applications; or write programs to quickly perform complex analyses. These are just a few examples of the possibilities.
###### The Course
This course provides an introduction to programming with the Python language. The course material is suitable for complete beginners, with no previous programming experience or knowledge required or assumed.
The course was first written for a target audience of life scientists, and this is reflected in the simplistic example dataset used for the plotting exercises, but the material itself is designed to be accessible also for people with no scientific background, and the skills taught can be applied to a _much_ wider range of disciplines. Some knowledge of foundational mathematics is assumed.
The materials are split into broad sections, which we call worksheets, containing exercises for you to try and most of the information that you will need to complete them. The material covered is far from exhaustive. Instead, we try to provide enough information and tasks to get you started and we hope to get you quite quickly to a level where you are then capable to continuing to use Python for your own projects.
These materials are free to use. If you would prefer to attend a course in person, these are run in the Department of Biology at the [University of York](http://www.york.ac.uk/biology/technology-facility/bioinformatics/bi-tf-courses/), UK. For a similar introduction to programming (as well as other essential computing skills), check out [Software Carpentry](http://software-carpentry.org).
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