Software Carpentry is a "how to program effectively" boot camp for scientists and self-starters. Course notes are all online, and are even available as one monster page of concise insights.
The focus is on "the 20 percent of ideas that account for 80 percent of real world use...about putting an extension on the house, rather than building the Channel Tunnel." Beyond programming itself, the authors imbue their lectures with insights on design, what not to do, and the spirit of elegance - the kind of experiential knowledge that differentiates dilettantes from pros.
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