Intro to SQL

University of California, Santa Barbara


Nov 4-5, 2021

9:00 am - 11:00 am

Instructors: Jon Jablonski, Kristi Liu, Greg Janee, Amanda Ho

Helpers: Ian Lessing, Kat Le, Conner Levenson

Registration for this workshop opens on Friday, October 8 at 8:00am PST

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General Information

Software Carpentry aims to help researchers get their work done in less time and with less pain by teaching them basic research computing skills. This hands-on workshop will cover basic concepts and tools, including program design, version control, data management, and task automation. Participants will be encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems.

For more information on what we teach and why, please see our paper "Best Practices for Scientific Computing".

Who: The course is aimed at graduate students, SEEDS fellows and other new Data Scientists. You don't need to have any previous knowledge of the tools that will be presented at the workshop.

Where: This training will take place online. The instructors will provide you with the information you will need to connect to this meeting.

When: Nov 4-5, 2021. Add to your Google Calendar.

Requirements: Participants must have access to a computer with a Mac, Linux, or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc.) that they have administrative privileges on. They should have a few specific software packages installed (listed below).

Accessibility: We are dedicated to providing a positive and accessible learning environment for all. Please notify the instructors in advance of the workshop if you require any accommodations or if there is anything we can do to make this workshop more accessible to you.

Contact: Please email for more information.

Roles: To learn more about the roles at the workshop (who will be doing what), refer to our Workshop FAQ.

Code of Conduct

Everyone who participates in Carpentries activities is required to conform to the Code of Conduct. This document also outlines how to report an incident if needed.

Collaborative Notes

We will use this collaborative document for chatting, taking notes, and sharing URLs and bits of code.


Please be sure to complete these surveys before and after the workshop.

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey


Day 1

09:00 Zoom Carpentry Intro and Setup
09:20 Data Management with SQL
09:55 BREAK
10:00 Using DB Browser
10:10 Selecting Data
10:30 Sorting and Removing Duplicates
10:45 Filtering
11:00 Projected End Time

Day 2

09:00 Review
09:10 Combining Data
09:45 Calculating New Values
09:55 BREAK
10:00 Missing Data
10:30 Aggregation
10:45 Programming with Databases - Python
11:00 Projected End Time


To participate in a Software Carpentry workshop, you will need access to software as described below. In addition, you will need an up-to-date web browser.

We maintain a list of common issues that occur during installation as a reference for instructors that may be useful on the Configuration Problems and Solutions wiki page.


DB Browser for SQLite

For this workshop, please install the DB Browser for SQL. The software can be downloaded from the DB Browser site. There are specific versions for Windows and Mac users.

If you are familiar with the command line, the instructions for installing "Git Bash" and "Sqlite" are further down the page.

  • For a current Windows environment, the 64-bit Standard windows installer will be most appropriate
  • Download the executable file and open the installation wizard
  • Select all the default options in the wizard. Once the installation is successful, the application will automatically launch.
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) for SQLite. For a current MacOS, the 3.12.2 DB Brwoser for SqLite will be most appropriate
  • Download the executable file and open the DB.Browser.for.SQLite-3.12.2.dmg file. Then drag DB Browser for SQLite to Applications folder.
  • DB Browser for SQLite - Download link
  • Select all the default options in the wizard. Once the installation is successful, the application will automatically launch.

The latest Linux release of DB Browser is available as an AppImage, Snap Package, and distrubution specific package.

  • In case of problems: register for an account at
  • Download the files under the Data for Workshop tab
  • Click on files and upload
  • Click on dashboard and Choose new console bash


The Bash Shell

Bash is a commonly-used shell that gives you the power to do tasks more quickly.

  1. Download the Git for Windows installer.
  2. Run the installer and follow the steps below:
    1. Click on "Next" four times (two times if you've previously installed Git). You don't need to change anything in the Information, location, components, and start menu screens.
    2. From the dropdown menu select "Use the Nano editor by default" (NOTE: you will need to scroll up to find it) and click on "Next".
    3. On the page that says "Adjusting the name of the initial branch in new repositories", ensure that "Let Git decide" is selected. This will ensure the highest level of compatibility for our lessons.
    4. Ensure that "Git from the command line and also from 3rd-party software" is selected and click on "Next". (If you don't do this Git Bash will not work properly, requiring you to remove the Git Bash installation, re-run the installer and to select the "Git from the command line and also from 3rd-party software" option.)
    5. Ensure that "Use the native Windows Secure Channel Library" is selected and click on "Next".
    6. Ensure that "Checkout Windows-style, commit Unix-style line endings" is selected and click on "Next".
    7. Ensure that "Use Windows' default console window" is selected and click on "Next".
    8. Ensure that "Default (fast-forward or merge) is selected and click "Next"
    9. Ensure that "Git Credential Manager Core" is selected and click on "Next".
    10. Ensure that "Enable file system caching" is selected and click on "Next".
    11. Click on "Install".
    12. Click on "Finish" or "Next".
  3. If your "HOME" environment variable is not set (or you don't know what this is):
    1. Open command prompt (Open Start Menu then type cmd and press Enter)
    2. Type the following line into the command prompt window exactly as shown:

      setx HOME "%USERPROFILE%"

    3. Press Enter, you should see SUCCESS: Specified value was saved.
    4. Quit command prompt by typing exit then pressing Enter

This will provide you with both Git and Bash in the Git Bash program.

Video Tutorial

The default shell in some versions of macOS is Bash, and Bash is available in all versions, so no need to install anything. You access Bash from the Terminal (found in /Applications/Utilities). See the Git installation video tutorial for an example on how to open the Terminal. You may want to keep Terminal in your dock for this workshop.

To see if your default shell is Bash type echo $SHELL in Terminal and press the Return key. If the message printed does not end with '/bash' then your default is something else and you can run Bash by typing bash

If you want to change your default shell, see this Apple Support article and follow the instructions on "How to change your default shell".

Video Tutorial

The default shell is usually Bash and there is usually no need to install anything.

To see if your default shell is Bash type echo $SHELL in a terminal and press the Enter key. If the message printed does not end with '/bash' then your default is something else and you can run Bash by typing bash.


SQL is a specialized programming language used with databases. We use a database manager called SQLite in our lessons.

  • Run "Git Bash" from the Start menu
  • Copy the following curl -fsSL | bash
  • Paste it into the window that Git Bash opened. If you're unsure, ask an instructor for help
  • You should see something like 3.27.2 2019-02-25 16:06:06 ...

If you want to do this manually, download sqlite3, make a bin directory in the user's home directory, unzip sqlite3, move it into the bin directory, and then add the bin directory to the path.

SQLite comes pre-installed on macOS.

SQLite comes pre-installed on Linux.

If you installed Anaconda, it also has a copy of SQLite without support to readline. Instructors will provide a workaround for it if needed.