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    TurboPy Coding Boot Camp


What is TurboPy Coding Boot Camp? 

Python is an open-source programming language used in many research disciplines, and over time, NRL has identified students’ skill gaps in both Python coding and software engineering best practices.

The TurboPy Coding Boot Camp is an eight-week immersive, combined synchronous and asynchronous experience. First-year interns participate in an intensive five-week “Fundamentals of Python and Software Engineering Boot Camp,” and they apply their new skills to developing documentation and tests for existing NRL scientific computing software hosted on GitHub beginning in week three.

Returning (i.e. second-year and later) interns and those with experience in Python, participate in an intensive two-week “Advanced Python and Software Engineering Refresher” and then apply their new skills to develop scientific computing applications, modules, and/or scripts (“projects”). These projects may include on-site experimental “hands-on” work for paid NRL interns.


TurboPy interns and mentors gather for a group photo after taking a tour of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2021. (U.S. Navy photo by Sarah Peterson)


How did the TurboPy Coding Boot Camp get its start?

The TurboPy Coding Boot Camp expands upon the very successful inaugural virtual TurboPy Internship carried out in the summer of 2020 in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Building on this success, the Office of Naval Research funded expansion of the program in the summer of 2021. The curriculum used in the summer of 2020 can be found on GitHub.


What are some successes of the program?

Some statistics from the 2021 program:

  • Coding boot camp participants: 30 students, 4 staff, and 17 mentors
  • Project participants: 11 students, 6 mentors, and 9 projects
  • Seminars: 12
  • GitHub “pull requests” (homework and project submissions): 121
  • Mentee-mentor contact hours: 300

How do I participate?

If you are an existing or prospective (paid) NRL intern or staff member, ask your mentor or supervisor about our boot camp. You might be able to get paid to participate.

The program is able to scale by rotating software engineering administrative roles within the cohort of first-year interns and giving returning interns leadership and management roles for the overall internship program. This reduces the workload on mentors and staff, freeing them up to provide valuable mentee-mentor contact hours, while providing interns with valuable experiences. The software engineering, leadership and management roles are cited by interns as among the most valuable aspect of the TurboPy experience. Also, the option for a 100 percent virtual boot camp experience enables engagement with students from across the country in rural and under-represented communities.

If you are a mentor of an intern at NRL or elsewhere, and you would like to participate (or have your interns or staff participate), please drop us a line!


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