“The Programming Café saves me hours, or even days, being stuck”

Researchers tell why they join the Programming Café of RDM Support 

The Programming Café is held every last Wednesday of the month between 3 and 5 p.m. at Utrecht Science Park. During this informal meet-up, researchers - both students and employees – come together to learn more about coding and programming. Researchers Pauline, Sophie, Femke and Jan tell you why they join the Programming Café. 

What happens during the Programming Café?  

Neha Moopen organises the Programming Café together with Jonathan de Bruin. Neha: “The Programming Café always starts with a short presentation. During the last editions, we talked about style guides and Git(Hub). Sometimes the presentation is given by a RDM specialist, other times a research or PhD student tells about his or her expertise. Afterwards, the attendees individually work on their research. Jonathan and I walk around to answer questions. There is also plenty of time to help each other with coding and programming challenges. Of course, at this 'café' drinks and snacks are available!”

Two PhD candidates behind a laptop, learning about Research Data Management
PhD candidates Pauline Kiss (left) and Sophie van Grinsven (right)  

Sophie: “I am currently working with a SPSS syntax that is five years old. Over the years, the dataset got bigger and bigger. A rewrite in R is long overdue. I came to the Programming Café to work on the new code. When I work on my own, it can take me a long time to figure out where things went wrong. Here I immediately get answers to questions that pop up. It saves me hours, or even days, being stuck.” 

Pauline: “Of course, you can always google the answer. But if you want to get a useful answer on your coding question using Google, you must ask the right question. That can be hard sometimes. At the Programming Café you can describe your problem with as many words as you want, and you’ll always get an answer you can work with.”

A professor gets advices from a research data manager during a walk-in hour.
Neha (left) and Prof. Femke van Esch, Professor of European Governance and Leadership of the European Union at the Utrecht University School of Governance (right) 

Femke: “At my department, the School of Governance, only a few of my colleagues can program. Coming to the Programming Café gives me the feeling of having a group of colleagues that I can ask questions and brainstorm with. A nice bonus: I like the crowd, the people are friendly and easy-going."

A PhD candidate is working behind his laptop on his research.
PhD candidate Jan van Acken researches human factors in cyber security 

Jan: “The benefits of the Programming Café are two-sided. During the first thirty minutes, there is a short presentation on a topic. Today I gained some new insights on style guides. During the last 1,5 hours I worked on my own research. Any practical questions that arise, I can immediately discuss with fellow researchers and/or the RDM expert present.”

Do you want to improve your programming skills, ask questions related to programming, or meet other programmers? Pick up your laptop and join us at the Programming Café! Wednesday 30th of November we will be at the Bucheliuszaal 6.18, University Library (Utrecht Science Park).  
Read more about the Programming Café on 30 November

Photos by Annemiek van der Kuil, PhotoA