Practical Git

We believe:

  • Git is essential for anyone who writes code.
  • Git doesn't need to be complicated.
  • If you're struggling with Git, it's because you haven't been offered the correct training.

Git for Scientists is a Git and GitHub training course designed for scientists who code. It's been developed with the help of scientists from the fields of Earth Observation and Climate Change Mitigation.

You'll learn practical, real-world Git skills to quickly improve your productivity and ability to collaborate.

"It's very, very good. Git for Scientists is something that scientists who write code should do. A brilliant training on working collaboratively and with traceability of ideas and code."

Alastair Graham
Alastair Graham
Scene From Above Podcast | Geoger

"I feel much more relaxed when using Git now! Before, I'd do things but I wasn't really 100% understanding what was going on, and now it looks like I know what I'm doing."

Milana Vuckovic
Milana Vuckovic
Analyst - HiDALGO, ECMWF
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What is Git?

Git is a version control tool.

You can use Git alongside a hosting provider like GitHub, GitLab, or BitBucket, to unlock cloud back-ups and a set of powerful collaboration tools.

Everyone who writes code regularly should use Git - even if you don't consider yourself a software developer. Learning the basics of Git gives you and your colleagues a massive productivity boost.

What's the point?

Git lets you work quickly and efficiently with code. Whether you're working solo or as part of a team, Git will make you more effective.

Version Control

Have you ever tried to make a quick change to a piece of code, only to realise an hour later that you've broken everything?

There's only so many times you can press UNDO before you go insane.

You could try creating a copy of the file before you work on it.

But that's how you end up with files called "doc_v1_final_amended_FINAL". We've all seen it. If you keep it up, you're left with a spider web of folders each containing almost identical files with almost identical names. Which one do you want?

Git prevents this.

Git keeps a record of every change made to every file in your codebase. There is only ever one copy of your file at a time. But if you need to, you can access every previous iteration of your files by rewinding your changes.

Git History

Every time you make a change to your code, you leave a message explaining the change. This is one of the most powerful features of Git: the Git history.

Have you ever looked at a line of code and thought "why on earth is it doing that"?

The Git history tells you.

The Git history also tells your entire team and any future collaborators. Learn to use the Git history to build knowledge into your code.

Effective use of the Git history is the best way to make your code maintainable.

Peer Review

Hosting providers like GitHub provide powerful collaboration tools. The most important one is peer review.

Peer review is the process of having your code checked by a colleague.

Peer review is an exceptionally valuable learning resource. You learn from your colleagues and transfer knowledge across your team more effectively.

Mistakes are caught during the review process before they become a problem. You get twice the brain power for far less than twice the effort.

The review discussion serves as a second form of Git history: it's accessible by anyone on your team. When you need to understand why a decision was made, you can look back and see the original decision-making process.

In Summary

  • Code without fear: every change you've ever made is at your fingertips
  • Build knowledge into your code
  • Learn faster and write higher quality code with peer review
developer activity

"Git for Scientists was a great learning experience that has helped me with version control of my own code and collaborating on code with others! I liked how simply things were stated. I know there is a lot of information about Git, but I didn't feel like I was overloaded in this course."

Mackenzie Mazur
Mackenzie Mazur
Postdoc, Gulf of Maine Research Institute

"Thank you for the training course. It is very clear and well done! From now on I will know what I am doing and not just try some commands. The support was very prompt and helpful!"

Polly Schmederer
Polly Schmederer
Graduate Trainee, ECMWF

What will you learn?

You'll learn practical command line Git and the basics of GitHub.

Git Basics

Clone and commit, push and pull, remote and local repositories, and a simple one-person Git workflow. You'll learn to move quickly when using Git and how to problem-solve if things go wrong.

Working Together

Branches, pull requests with GitHub, and a collaborative Git workflow. You'll learn to use your Git history to make knowledge accessible to your team.

Jupyter Notebooks

Jupyter notebooks are an extremely common tool used by scientists. They need a little extra help to work well with Git. You'll learn to use both together.

Forking Repos

Forking and how to keep multiple remotes in-sync. This is an important skill for Open Source or cross-team development. You'll learn an Open Source Git workflow.

Advanced Git

You'll learn extra practical tips and tricks so you can really get the most out of Git.

How will you learn?

The course is a mix of online lessons and practical exercises which let you work at your own pace.

Online Lessons

Each lesson is a short 10-20 minutes. They're a mix of text and video lessons.

We'll cover one or two practical Git concepts with a mix of diagrams and real-time screen sharing. You'll be able to follow along and see how Git reacts to the commands we use.

Practical Exercises

Each section contains practical exercises to solidify your understanding.

The practical exercises will often drop you into a Git repo where something has gone wrong. Once you've completed a few your confidence will soar. You'll be able to use Git knowing that if something does go wrong, you'll be able to figure out how to fix it.

Once you know how to solve these problems, the problems themselves seem to appear less often!

Unlimited Support

You can email us any time you have a question or problem with Git.

Someone from our team will get back to you within one day.


"So many thanks for all your support.

Git for Scientists was really useful and I feel much more confident now working with GitHub."

Estibaliz Gascon
Dr Estibaliz Gascon
Scientist - Evaluation Section, ECMWF

"Git for Scientists is an excellent course and their support has been second to none; I finally feel like I am using Git effectively. The lessons help you fix problems before they occur during development, and the cheat sheets at the end of each segment have become indispensable."

Sam Morris
Sam Morris
Research Scientist, Oxford Biotrans


What's the difference?

The most common question we're asked is "What's the difference between Git for Scientists and all of the cheap/free Git courses out there?"

  • Git for Scientists comes with a year of support for every student. Other courses have no support.
  • Git for Scientists has real-world practical exercises. Other courses have nothing.
  • Git for Scientists is specifically designed to cover all of the Git skills a scientist will ever need (and nothing more). Having it all in one place saves you from wasting your time trying to piece your own Git training course together from fragments dug up on search engines.

If you've got lots of time on your hands for trial-and-error learning, you can probably get by using freely available resources. You run the risk of wasting time on low quality content and picking up bad habits.

Use Git for Scientists if you want to learn Git once and learn it right.

Why command line git?

  • It's portable. You can use these skills in any environment.
  • It gives you a proper understanding of how git works. Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) often obscure the workings of Git.
  • It's faster than a GUI and the learning curve is no steeper.

Why GitHub?

GitHub is the most widely used Git platform, meaning the skills you learn are the most transferable.

The workflows you'll learn are not GitHub-specific and can be applied to other popular platforms such as GitLab or BitBucket.

Why Online Training?

Scheduling is a huge challenge at any large organisation. Important training often gets delayed or postponed indefinitely just because it's so hard to get everyone in the same room at the same time.

Our Git training course lets you work at your own pace and to your own schedule.

Git for Scientists is designed for scientists working at organisations with a meeting-heavy working culture. Our lessons fit nicely into those annoying half-hour gaps between meetings.

An added bonus: online training prevents the spread of pandemic disease.

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What's Included

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  • Text content
  • Video content
  • Practical exercises
  • 1 year of email support
  • Priority support
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What's Included

  • All future updates
  • Text content
  • Video content
  • Practical exercises
  • 1 year of email support
  • Priority support
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