Introduction to Programming with Python.

This course aims to introduce the basics of programming to biologists using the Python language.

About the Course

This course is intended for biologists without any skills in programming but strong motivation to learn how to write their own programs, or for advanced beginners who need to complement their skills with concepts.

At the end of the week, the student will be able to automate some repetitive tasks, and open a file, parse it, do basic computations and write the results in a file.

Although all exercises are based on biological data, this course will not be focused on how to analyse data. It will not cover the use of external bioinformatics tools.


In this course, you will encounter blocks containing code. It is important to realize that this code can belong to two completely distinct interfaces.

Lines prefixed with $ are meant to represent a command-line prompt in a Unix-like shell:

$ python3

Those prefixed with >>> are meant to represent the prompt of an interactive Python interpreter:

>>> print("Hello world!")

When you try those commands:

  • Type them in the appropriate interface.
  • Don’t include the prompt symbols ($ or >>>`).

Please note that commands are case-sensitive: The effect will be different if you use capitals instead of small case characters, or the contrary.


Although the support is in English, this course can be given in French, if all students agree.
To know the schedule of the next sessions or register to this course contact the “service formation”.


Indices and tables