By Mike Jackson.
You might be interested in a Software Carpentry boot camp for your institution or research group. Although we think that a running a boot camp is one of the best ways to learn about software development, we realise that some people can't set aside the time, effort, or expense to organise one. Here are some alternatives you might want to consider.
1. Work through Software Carpentry's online lectures
Online lectures are available for many of the concepts covered on boot camps (e.g. shell, revision control, automation and make, program design, data management). You can work through these in your own time and at your own pace.
2. Set up a local study group
You could form an in-house study group where you and your colleagues work through the lectures together, discuss the material as a group, and explore (and solve!) the challenges around applying the knowledge to your own day-to-day work. This approach was suggested by Phil Fowler (who also wrote our top tips for hosting a software carpentry boot camp).
3. Arrange a follow-up consultancy visit
We regularly visit projects and groups to discuss research-related software development with them. One option is to work through the online lectures as above then arrange a visit from us to discuss how the concepts might be specifically applied to your research. If you'er interested in consultancy please feel free to get in touch.
4. Organise a mini boot camp
You could organise a day long mini boot camp consisting of one or two sessions from a typical boot camp, just for you and a small group of your colleagues. This minimises organisational and set-up overheads and you need only one Software Carpentry instructor. If you have a Software Carpentry instructor nearby, they may be willing to help out. If there are Software Carpentry instructors in your research community, they might be willing to help out if they are given the opportunity to present a seminar on their work or engage in some form of networking, or discussions on possible collaborations, while they are at your institution.
If you'd like to discuss any aspect of Software Carpentry, wish to seek out potential instructors to help, or find out more about our training services for software development in research, please feel free to get in touch.