Hi Biostars community,
tl;dr : What programming tasks do biologists who are novice programmers often need to learn / look for tutorials about? What goals are they frequently trying to achieve where they need programming?
I'm a recent PhD in computer science education. Specifically, I research and design new ways for novices to learn programming. I also was a CS-MCB double major in undergrad, with a focus on bioinformatics.
I have just started a postdoc where I am developing a purpose-first approach to learning programming. This approach supports learners as they learn common code patterns in a domain that they care about. Instead of starting with a language's syntax and semantics, which can be demotivating and a bit of a slog, learners start by assembling and tailoring common code patterns in my interface. I have evaluated this system for web scraping tasks, with positive results.
Now I am exploring new domains to implement this approach. In my experience, molecular biologists sometimes need to use a little code for particular tasks (e.g. analysis of results from a certain program, specific types of tree generation). However, it's been too many years since I did this myself, and I can't recall exactly which tasks --- plus, new GUIs may replace what used to be done with code.
What specific coding tasks do you think biologists often need?