Tech Learning Collective

Technology education for radical organizers and revolutionary communities.

  • December 5, 2021 1:30 PM (-0500) December 5, 2021 3:00 PM
  • Remote
  • Status: CONFIRMED


  • Privacy Defender tickets are the recommended ticket type for those who can afford to help fund the digital security and online privacy advocacy communities with their financial resources, are attending the workshop with the support of their employers or other backers, or have other resources available to them. Purchasing tickets at this level makes it possible for us to offer reduced price tickets to those in need.
  • General Admission tickets are the regular ticket type intended for members of the general public.
  • Reduced price workshop tickets help offset systemic biases prevalent in society and in the technology sector especially.

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Thank you for purchasing a ticket to our upcoming “Getting the Right Stuff: Introduction to Data Files, Spreadsheets, and Databases” webinar. Please allow several minutes for delivery of your webinar access credentials to the email address associated with your payment processor account. Remember to check your spam folder, as well!

If you still don’t receive your webinar access credentials after one hour, please contact us and we’ll help you get it sorted.

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Event description

Learn how to collect, generate, and manipulate data of all kinds so that you can make decisions and meet the challenges you’re facing. You’ll see how simple, text-based data files and command-line utilities have been and are still being used in all sorts of applications today, what spreadsheets have to offer, and how all these tools differ from Relational Database Management Systems (RDMSs) like MySQL/MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Oracle, or Microsoft SQL Server. This workshop will also touch on Web scraping, form building, mail merges, data cleaning, and other techniques you need to know to make automating the boring parts of your day possible.

Workshop Description

If knowledge is power, what is knowledge? On a computer, knowledge comes from data. By collecting data relevant to the problem you’re trying to solve, you can scrutinize it in various different ways until you’re able to draw meaningful conclusions from the dataset; you turn data into information, and from that information you gain knowledge, which gives you power. But this is all much easier said than done, especially if you are not already familiar with how to work with digital data.

This workshop introduces you to the concepts and techniques you need to know to collect, generate, and manipulate digital information regardless of the specific application or problem domain you’re working in. Ever since the dawn of computing, data has been a central element in computer use. After all, what good is a computer without data to compute? Early databases took the form of stacks of physical punch cards. Later on, databases were created out of structured text files (and many of these still exist on your computer today, whether you realize it or not). With the advent of “personal” computing in the 1980’s, digital spreadsheets in applications like Lotus 1-2-3 brought enterprise automation solutions to the masses—or it would have, if more people had the opportunity to learn how to use these powerful tools.

Today, massive datasets with billions or trillions of records are often stored in Relational Database Management Systems (RDMSs) and are accessed using specialized computer languages such as the Structured Query Language (SQL). These databases are thus the crown jewels of every company or organization conducting business online. Everything that matters to them gets stored in a database of some kind, from email subscriber lists, customer records, call logs, and purchase orders, to social media postings, blog comments, personal photos, and much more. Practice working with different kinds of data to learn the foundations relevant to all data exploration and transformation tasks in this introductory workshop that will help you ensure you can get the right stuff to construct successful solutions to any problem.

As this is a remote/online-only event, there is no physical class space, but attendance is still limited to 15 students, so purchase your ticket now to reserve your spot.

To participate in our webinars, you will need access to a modern Web browser such as an up-to-date copy of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. You will also need a reliable Internet connection. We recommend disabling Wi-Fi and plugging your computer in to a hard-wired Ethernet network cable for the duration of the webinar, if possible.

If you would like to share your video screen or appear on camera, you will need to have and activate your own camera, such as the one built-in to many modern laptops. Similarly, to speak with the rest of the webinar participants, you will need a microphone. If you do choose to activate your microphone, we ask that you please plug in headphones/ear buds or use a headset in order to help reduce audio feedback loops that can degrade the webinar experience for other participants.

Please refer to our workshops and webinars FAQ for additional tips and advice before you join the video conference.

As with all Tech Learning Collective events, racism, queerphobia, transphobia, sexism, “brogrammer,” “manarchist,” or any kind of similarly awful behavior will result in immediate removal from class without a refund. Please refer to our lightweight social rules for details on our strictly enforced no-tolerance policy against bigotry of any kind.

About Tech Learning Collective

Tech Learning Collective is an apprenticeship-based technology school that trains politically self-motivated individuals in the arts of hypermedia, Information Technology, and radical political practice. We offer unparalleled free, by-donation, and low-cost computer classes on topics ranging from fundamental computer literacy to the same offensive computer hacking techniques used by national intelligence agencies and military powers (cyber armies). For more information and to enroll, visit

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