Archive of My Online Course Embrace the Command Line
Blog article by Jeroen Janssens.
Mar 23, 2023 • 17 min read.
Embrace the Command Line was a three-week cohort-based course, created
to help developers and researchers getting started with the command
line. It was roughly based on my book Data Science at the Command
I had the pleasure of running the course twice in 2022, with students
from all over the world. During the course, I really got to know the
students and their situation, allowing me to better help them. Both
times were rewarding yet time consuming.
It was scheduled for a third time in April 2023, but because I joined
Xomnia as a full-time employee at the
beginning of the year, I didn’t have enough time left and needed to
cancel it, unfortunately. I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to run
another cohort. If you and your colleagues are interested we could talk
about organizing an incompany training.
The course was hosted on Maven, which provides
many great tools to manage the course material, keep in touch with
(potential) students, and organize online sessions. I participated in
their rather excellent bootcamp, which really helped me to think about
the course structure and write the landing
Should the landing page go down, below is most of the copy together with
a few screenshots for archival purposes. The video shown in the first
screenshot, How Researchers and Developers Can Benefit from the Command
Line, can be watched on YouTube:
In this hands-on course you’ll learn to use the command line to
automate tedious tasks, work with data quickly, and create your own
It’s amazing how fast so much data work can be performed at the
command line before ever pulling the data into R, Python, or a
database. Knowing it well makes it easy to take back control of your
computer and to translate questions you have of your data to real-time
This course is for you if… You’re a developer looking to streamline
your workflow and take back control over your computer. You’re a
researcher looking to become more efficient and productive at working
with data. You feel intimidated by the power of the command line but
understand the benefits it brings.
A new way of working: Run and string together small but powerful tools
to accomplish and automate tedious tasks. Integrate seamlessly with
your existing workflow.
Be more efficient: Parallelize and distribute your data-intensive or
compute-heavy tasks to multiple cores and machines.
Data science skills: Easily obtain, inspect, transform, and visualize
data coming from various sources (including APIs, server logs,
spreadsheets, and databases).
Build your own toolbox: Turn ad-hoc commands into reusable
command-line tools and even convert your existing code (including
Hands-on experience: We’re actually going to get our hands dirty in
this course. Through workshops and exercises you’ll quickly become
comfortable working at the command line.
Be part of a great community: You’re not alone in this. You’ll
surround yourself with like-minded people who want to grow alongside
Solid foundation: It’s impossible to cover everything the command-line
has to offer. Instead, I’ll make sure you know how to keep on learning
after the course.
The command line is a powerful piece of technology available on
Windows, macOS, and Linux.
The Unix or Linux command line, sometimes referred to as the shell or
the terminal, is as powerful as it is intimidating. By typing
commands, you can rename thousands of files, process large amounts of
data, and work on remote machines with ease. But make one mistake and
everything will explode!
At least, that’s what many think when they first encounter this stark
and unforgiving environment. I can’t blame them, the command line just
doesn’t look very inviting. Still, the fact remains that the command
line successfully enables thousands of developers and researchers to
be more efficient and productive at work. All they had to do is
In this three-week cohort based course, I’ll help you embrace the
command line so you can also become more efficient and productive.
Great workshop! Very well done and very useful information delivered
in an excellent and interactive manner. Jeroen anticipated very well
on the different knowledge levels within the group. I would highly
recommend this course to anyone that is interested kickstarting their
As a seasoned UNIX command line adept, I didn’t expect to learn much.
I was wrong! Over the years, many new tools have become available that
I didn’t know about, and that can be combined with traditional tools
in new ways. I have been able to simplify and improve the efficiency
of many of the scripts I use on a daily basis.
Besides demonstrating a good knowledge and experience in command-line
tools for data science, Jeroen had very good training skills, clear
communication, and managed to adapt the level of the training to the
level of the audience, which is not always easy!
I found Jeroen to be a wonderfully welcoming, knowledgeable, and
patient instructor. He covered content at a very nice pace, and made
the workshop feel like a welcoming space where any question was fair
game. Thanks to our small class, I really appreciated how he took
interest in what each participant wanted to get out of the class.
Jeroen is a great coach. Because he is able to tailor the course to
the business challenges of the participants, the learning curve goes
straight up! Jeroen quickly switches to the knowledge level of the
participants, so that everyone is guided in a tailored manner.
This training was very enlightening. I discovered that most of our
tasks could be achieved using simple tools, without the need for
heavyweight & complex software. This training not only got me data
science skills with simple tools, but I also felt very confident as a
command-line power user.
Meet your instructor Jeroen Janssens, PhD
Hi there, I’m Jeroen. I’m a data science consultant and certified
instructor. My expertise lies in visualizing data, implementing
machine learning models, and building software using Python, R,
In 2014 I wrote the book Data Science at the Command Line (O’Reilly
Media). Since then I’ve helped hundreds of developers and researchers
embrace the command line. Recently I finished the second edition of
I run Data Science Workshops, a training and coaching firm that helps
organizations such as Amazon, eHealth Africa, Schiphol Airport, The
New York Times, and T-Mobile to upgrade their skills and knowledge. I
hold a PhD in machine learning from Tilburg University and an MSc in
artificial intelligence from Maastricht University.
Designed for both researchers and developers. While my book is aimed
at data scientists only, this course will give you command-line
knowledge and skills that are useful for doing research and developing
Absolutely hands-on. It’s one thing to read a book. To try it for
yourself is a different story. During the live sessions, you’ll get
hands-on experience in a safe environment, making you well prepared.
Taught by an experienced, certified instructor. I’ve trained and
coached hundreds of students in the past eight years. My approach is
practical and casual, but also sustainable. I’ll be able to give you
the personal attention you need.
More fun and effective. Because you’ll be embracing the command line
with other researchers and developers. You’ll be part of a welcoming
community of like-minded people.
01 Essential concepts of the command line: Run command-line tools;
Combine command-line tools; Redirect input and output; Work with files
and directories; Get help.
02 Making the Command Line Less Scary: Customizing your prompt and
environment; Creating aliases for rm and mv; Setting up a “recycle
04 Parallel processing: Introducing GNU parallel; Looping over files
and lines; Logging and output; Distributed processing.
05 Working with Text: Data Search through text; Extract values; Clean
up messy data.
06 Working with JSON: Data Introducing jq; Reformat; Extract values;
Convert to CSV.
07 Working with CSV: Data Introducing xsv; Select rows and columns;
Run SQL queries on CSV.
08 Editing Files: The basics cat and echo; Introducing nano; What
about vim and emacs?
09 Creating Command-line tools: From Bash; From Python; From R.
10 Exploring Data: Inspect data quickly; Create visualizations;
Viewing images on the command line.
11 Automating Things: Set up build pipeline; Deploy software; Make
12 Version Control: Introducing Git and GitHub; Staging and
committing; Branching and merging; Pulling and pushing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to have experience with the command line? You don’t need to
have any experience with the command line, Unix/Linux, or even
We’ll start at the beginning and steadily go into more advanced
topics. The only prerequisites are a computer and the willingness to
Will I be able to do this next to my regular job? Absolutely. I have
designed this course such that you can do this next to a full-time
job. In fact, nearly all of the people who have already signed up have
a full-time job.
When will live sessions be held? 6 two-hour live sessions will take
place over a period of three weeks on each Monday and Thursday at
11:00 PDT / 14:00 EDT / 18:00 UTC / 20:00 CEST. You’ll receive
calendar invites for all sessions once you’ve signed up.
Do I have to attend all of the live sessions? It’s okay if you have to
miss a session or two. Every live session is recorded and made
available for you to replay, at your convenience. With that said, I
strongly recommend you make time for them so you can ask questions
directly to me and join productive breakout discussions.
Is there a community to interact with others? Yes! We’ve created a
private community space for students of the Embrace the Command Line
course. There you can share your progress, get feedback, ask for help,
Is this course also available as a corporate training? If you have a
couple of colleagues who are interested in this topic, then an
in-company training might be worthwhile. Visit my company Data Science
Workshops for more information.
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