I recently had an email exchange with a Software Engineer working on one of our local telescopes.

Observatories on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i

When I asked him about what tools he and his team use to study the sky, his response was basically a lesson plan from this site:

What do you use for version control?


What operating system(s) are in use at your facility?

Linux (Ubuntu and Centos) for servers, Linux (Ubuntu) and Macs for scientific desktops/laptops. I think there are a few windows pcs in accounting and maybe a few laptops with it.

What text editors and/or IDEs do you use for development?

Most of us use emacs or another text editor. Once in a while one of us will try an IDE, but we’re kind of old school in that way.

What skills do you look for in interns or new hires?

Desirable skills that we frequently look for are python programming, scientific programming, version control, issue tracker experience, test-driven development, linux experience, sys admin experience, astronomy knowledge.

Real world programmers and researchers look for candidates who have experience with an entire computing environment, not just a language. Looking to further your career in scientific computing? Work on your Python skills, sure, but don’t forget Linux, git, and all the fun that comes with them.