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Help run DjangoCon!

Headed to DjangoCon this year? Do I have a terrific opportunity for you!

The organizing committee is looking for folks to serve as session chairs and session runners.

I love these volunteer opportunities because they allow you to make a huge difference for the conference, speakers, and attendees, while doing relatively little work. After all, you were probably going to attend a few talks anyway, right? 

Read on

Session runners and session chairs work together as gatekeepers of a terrific DjangoCon experience. You’ll help foster a supportive environment by welcoming guests, introducing speakers, and making sure folks get to where they need to be.

Session runners are the shepherds of the speaker room. Your job starts in the Green Room fifteen minutes before each talk, where you’ll meet your speaker and help them get ready by testing their laptop and briefing them on what to expect. Five minutes before their talk, you’ll walk with them to their session room and help them get their laptop set up. You’ll hand the speaker off to the session chair, and then relax and enjoy the talkYour job is done until 15 minutes before the next talk!

Session chairs are the moderators of the session. You’ll arrive in the speaker room 10 minutes before the talk starts. Meet your speaker and find out a few things: how do you pronounce your name? Do you want to take questions? How do you want us to count down time? At showtime, you’ll introduce the speaker to the audience, keeping it simple — their name, where they’re from, and talk title. During the talk, watch the clock and let the speaker know when it’s time to stop for questions. Mediate questions (if any), and let speaker and attendees know when it’s time to wrap it all up. After that, help the speaker disconnect the microphone and make any announcements.

Pretty cool, huh?

Sign up here!

If you’re on the fence, consider what I said earlier. You were probably going to attend a few talks anyway, right? Why not make a huge difference while you’re there? Thanks 🎉

I’ll be available on Twitter this week to answer any questions about session chairing and running this week, and am happy to help at the conference. (Yep, I love it so much I help run sessions, too!) Looking forward to seeing you there.

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A new adventure

Yesterday was a great day. It was my first day at Juice Analytics, where I joined the team as Director of Engineering.

That’s right — I got a new job!

In my last post about leaving Emma, I talked about my journey from passionate customer advocate to empathetic software engineer.

At Juice, I’ll manage a dynamic engineering team solving interesting problems, and help others in the organization feel connected to the work they do. If you’re curious, you can check out the full position description here. I am thrilled and thankful for this remarkable opportunity!

In the last week, I’ve felt warmly welcomed and embraced by an engineering leadership community that I didn’t even know existed! Folks at all levels have been offering kind, real, and honest words of advice and support.

So, please consider this my invitation to you to drop book recommendations, personal experiences, front line stories, and more about this journey we’re on. Because like the poster next to my old VP’s desk said:

Tie your shoes, pack a good lunch, and remember that we’re all in this together.

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PS: Juice has a great blog. Check out my favorite post here (especially if you like role-playing games). 🐉

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Thanks, Emma.

This is a post about gratitude…
… and doing hard stuff.

Last week I left my position as Software Engineer at Emma, Inc.

I joined Emma at the beginning of 2016 as a member of their support team. Now, if you know me as a developer, you might wonder: does she mean dev support? Nope. Support — answering the phone and pulling emails out of the queue.

When I interviewed with Emma’s visionary VP of Engineering, I asked to start in Support. He shared how he’d been on the front line in a past life, and how it was a meaningful part of his journey. We connected, because we both care about creating opportunities to feel connected, learn something useful, and provide value.

I also shared how, after six months, I’d want to move to engineering. My goal would be to take what I learned–the extensive product knowledge paired with a crystal clear sense of user experience–and use it to enhance and drive my work as a developer. Having developed close relationships with colleagues across sales, services, and operations, I’d work transparently to strengthen our connection and sense of shared destiny.

I am endlessly thankful that that’s exactly what I got to do.

Good people made my journey possible, and to them I offer thanks:

  • Jason, VP of Engineering, who creates and guards Emma’s inimitable engineering culture
  • Clint, CEO, who I could listen to all day
  • Sarah M., who believed in me as a self-taught “woman in tech”
  • Kyle, my fearless and peerless Director of Support
  • Scott, the Yoda of Client Experience
  • Jean, my compassionate first engineering manager
  • Seth, my model of servant leadership
  • Jason Myers, for welcoming me as a first-time conference speaker at PyTennessee 2015, and for introducing me to the good and special people of Emmarica

I was lucky to get to work on an astonishingly high-performing and close-knit engineering team. We solved interesting problems, delivered real value, and liked each other enough that we played D&D/went on hikes/shared meals after work. Thank you Sarah S., Jackson, Parker, Megan, Kris, Lance, Evan, Adam, Josh C., Josh M., Scot, and Courey. And to all others — thank you. You made a difference.

This was a post about gratitude, and about doing hard stuff — because as much as anything, I want my life to be defined by both.

And on that note… very exciting news about what’s next, coming tomorrow!

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This is the beginning, February 2016

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Remember PokemonGo? July 2016

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That’s a conference room, October 2016

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We had a lot of fun, December 2016

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Letter from the CEO in honor of the anniversary of my hire date, February 2017

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Marketing United with Jackson, April 2017

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PyTennessee 2017

Hey y’all!

I’m back at PyTennessee for my third year!

PyTennessee, a regional Python conference, is special to me because it’s where I got my start speaking at tech conferences. In 2015, I was invited to give a talk on my experience learning to code and teaching others to cook, and sharing that very journey on this here blog. A year later I was invited back to give a keynote.

This year I’ll be talking about making the transition from a customer-facing Support team to an engineering role. In From Support to Engineering: Bridging the gap and growing together, I’ll share how working in customer support helps you grow empathy, communication skills, and the ability to troubleshoot. Transitioning to engineering gives you an opportunity to translate that empathy, communication, and troubleshooting.

To “bridge the gap”, I’ve got advice for both sides. In Support, how do you hire (or become) someone the rest of your engineering team can get excited about? I’ll give advice about developing a transition plan that honors the important work done on the customer side while supporting an individual’s longer-term career goals.

And in engineering? Attitude, as they so often say, is everything. I’ll share how elevating support and customer-facing roles in your organization benefits everyone, and give you some tips towards redefining pairing relationships and promoting transparency.

I’m speaking at 11am in Room 100, and I’m looking forward to seeing you!

Check out the rest of the great schedule here.

Now, for a quick FAQ – I have not yet heard if talks will be recorded, but if you’re curious, definitely follow PyTennessee on Twitter for updates.

See you soon!

 

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A few things I loved about DjangoCon

DjangoCon wrapped about a week ago. As an organizer, attendee, speaker, and community member, I wanted to take a few moments to share some of the things I loved about this year’s event.

Emceeing and session chairing 13 (!!) awesome sessions

As an organizer, I worked on bringing our docs up to speed this year so that the tasks of session chairing and session running were more clear for volunteers. I also had the privilege of emceeing thirteen terrific sessions!

It’s so hard to choose, but if I had to recommend a few I’d gladly watch again, I’d go with:

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Readability Counts” by Trey Hunner. Description here. Follow Trey on Twitter. I’ll add the video link when it’s published!

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The impact of women learning to code in developing countries: benefits and challenges” by Aisha Bello and Ibrahim Diop. Description here. Follow Aisha and Ibrahim on Twitter. I’ll add the video link when it’s published!

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Frog and Toad Learn About Django Security” by Philip James. Read the description here. Follow Philip on Twitter. Video “Safe-ish by Default” from DjangoCon Europe here.

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“Just Enough Typography” by Joni Trythall. Description here. Follow Joni on Twitter. Here are her Top 10 Typography Tips.

Making history & inspiring women at the FIRST Django Girls Philly workshop

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Becca, one of the organizers of Django Girls Philly, invited me to speak at their opening. I shared a shortened version of my “Bake the Cookies, Wear the Dress” talk which was originally given at ELA Conf last November and requested for OSCON and PyCon this year. It emerged out of remarks I made at the first Django Girls Atlanta workshop. Briefly, I share the story of how a major setback prompted me to get serious about learning to code, and how I experienced tragedy but chose to learn from it, move on, and grow into the developer I am today.

Organizers Becca, Clare, and Laura let me know that the women in attendance enjoyed the talk and were pumped to start coding after hearing from me and the others who kicked off the session!

I also gave a talk to close out the two-day workshop. “So you’ve done the workshop, hooray! But: where to next?”

I offered a few suggestions, from staying in touch with the community on Twitter to digging in with the official Django tutorial, Al Sweigart’s Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, and Michael Kennedy‘s (of Talk Python) “Python Jumpstart By Building 10 Apps“.

I also emphasized the importance of continuing to use git and track work with GitHub. If you need a refresher on how to do that, I recommend Daniele’s “Don’t Be Afraid to Commit” workshop. Finally, since folks loved Terian’s lightning talk about bots, I recommended her build-a-bot tutorial online.

Here are the slides from my closing talk, with resources.

Lightning talks

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Lightning talks were run by the amazing Kojo, who invited everyone in the community to participate and emphasized that: 1) lightning talks are a great way to get comfortable in front of audiences (true!), and 2) lightning talks can be up to five minutes but don’t have to be five minutes. Each day we had a full slate of entertaining, enlightening talks. Entertaining? Russell Keith-Magee literally sang and danced his talk for us:

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To the tune of “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General”, of course! Miss it in person? Here’s the recording!

I also gave two lightning talks. On Monday I kicked off lightning talks with an invitation to the community: rise to the challenge and meet an ambitious fundraising goal of $30,000 to Django Project by the end of sprints. I shared a bit about the work Tim and I do for Django Project and encouraged folks to speak with their teams about becoming corporate members.

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Full slides (and more Pokemon) from that talk here. I am thrilled to report that throughout the week we received $4,000 new dollars in corporate memberships, several solid leads for new corporate membership, $1000+ in private memberships, and we continued our JetBrains PyCharm partnership, which, when the final numbers are announced, will be big.

I also gave a talk on Wednesday explaining the “Your Django Story” interview series for the Django Girls blog and inviting anyone who is a woman or knows a woman to tell their story for our blog. We still need folks!

Please email me at story@djangogirls.org to start the conversation. Anna Schneider, CTO of wattTime, gave one of the most beloved (yet still highly technical!) talks at DjangoCon this year, and she got her start with Your Django Story:

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Slides for the Your Django Story talk here.

Working with a fabulous organizing team

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As co-chairs Lacey and Jeff humbly emphasized, DjangoCon was a team effort! Though I focused on updating docs, running sessions, and providing on-site support, I was proud to work with such a committed, dynamic, and kind group of folks to make it happen. For more about the community, check out my pal Saron’s Medium post: “That time I went to DjangoCon and fell in love with the community“.

On that note,

Meeting folks for the first time!

Oh, you know, just Tom Christie... the creator of Django REST framework...

Oh, you know, just Tom Christie… the creator of Django REST framework…

One of the great things about open source is that you get to work with people all over the world. You’ll email back and forth, build things together, occasionally Skype, but never have met in person. Until you do. And then, it’s magic.

This year I was thrilled to get to meet some folks for the first time, including Aisha, Ibrahim, Emily Karungi, and Tom Christie! I also got to spend some quality time with my dear friend Žan, who mentored me on my first real open-source project AND brought me beautiful pumpkin seed oil from Slovenia! Baptiste, Ola Sendecka, Ola Sitarska, Lucie, Erik and so many others were also in town… it was a party.

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Big special thanks to co-organizer Tim Allen, who not only ran the heck out of the conference and gave an amazing talk, but also hosted me in his home. I couldn’t have done it without you, Tim!

And, of course:

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 10.41.17 AMIt just so happened that DjangoCon coincided with the intense cultural phenomenon called PokemonGo.

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Ahem, what we were talking about?

Oh yeah: DjangoCon. It was great. Something something Eevee framework. #teaminstinct

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PyLadies ⚡ lightning talk ⚡ PyOhio

Tonight I’m giving a lightning talk at PyLadiesATL called “Five Things I Learned at PyOhio”, and I wanted to share it here in case you weren’t able to make the meeting, or are curious about what I covered!

PyOhio is an amazing FREE conference that was held this year in Columbus, Ohio at the Ohio Union. The dates were Saturday August 1 and Sunday August 2, with sprints on Friday July 31 and Monday August 3. Thanks to the organizers and sponsors for making this unforgettable experience possible, and to each of the speakers for taking the time to prepare and deliver such thoughtful, helpful talks. Below, I highlight a few of them.

1) Diversity? You Gotta Want It

Stephanie Hippo’s talk “You Gotta Want It: Building Up Women in Computer Science” was possibly the most honest, critical, and at times damning talk I’ve ever heard about a group’s journey towards becoming more inclusive, welcoming, and ultimately, diverse. What I loved about Stephanie’s delivery was how very much she owned the fact that her group hadn’t been welcoming. It reminded me that the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. But to even be able to admit that problem, Stephanie had to critically look at the way her group was doing things – starting with the data – and have hard conversations with her colleagues about why things should change.

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It’s not enough to simply say that you want things to be different. Like Stephanie’s family’s motto: you gotta want it. When you realise that you don’t like the diversity distribution of a given team/organization/project, admitting you have a problem is only the first step. It must be swiftly followed by a commitment to examining critically how things got the way they did, and a resolution and plan to address the issues structurally. And hey, if you can find time to tell the rest of us how you did it, all the better! Thanks, Stephanie, for your amazing talk and actionable suggestions.

Stephanie wrote up her talk and shared it on Medium. You can also follow her on Twitter.

2) The Pomodoro Technique

I thoroughly enjoyed Ann Schoenenberger’s talk “Learning to Learn Python”. Ann covered the challenges and opportunities confronting the autonomous learner from a personal perspective and from many conversations with other women coming to STEM from non-traditional backgrounds. One of the most helpful takeaways I got from her presentation was the description of the Pomodoro Technique. Now, if you’re a Pomodoro devotee and I’m totally butchering it, I apologize in advance. But the gist of the technique, as I understood it, is to work without distraction for 25 minutes, and chase that work with a 5 minute break. Another 25 minute session can come next, with a 5 minute break after.

Ann shared how budgeting time like this had been really helpful in keeping on her track as she learns Python. And while 50 minutes a day of concentrated study isn’t going to turn you into a programmer overnight, over time – and with discipline – it can be a helpful step towards reaching your goal. I have been employing the Pomodoro technique since I learned it from Ann on a near-daily basis and have seen huge gains in my personal study.

Read Ann’s abstract and follow her on Twitter for more.

3) That cool project? It took a lot of time, and there were plenty of bumps in the road.

Learners suffer from a lot of ailments, and discouragement at slow progress can be right at the top of the list.

But the fact is, complex projects do take a lot of time, even for experienced developers. Doug Hellman’s talk “How I built a power debugger out of the standard library and things I found on the internet” was, as he said, less about the actual code, and more about the process of building his project Smiley. When he got started, he asked himself, where do I start? What do I do first? What do I want to accomplish? And then: well, what do I know? He emphasized that throughout the nearly two-year period of building Smiley, he continually checked in with himself about what he already knew and what he wanted – or needed – to learn to make it happen.

In Allen Downey’s book Think Python, he draws a comparison between the act of debugging and programming itself:

For some people, programming and debugging are the same thing. That is, programming is the process of gradually debugging a program until it does what you want. The idea is that you should start with a program that does something and make small modifications, debugging them as you go, so that you always have a working program.

In Doug’s presentation about building Smiley, I heard all of this. So whether you’re a Python expert building a power debugger out of the standard library and things you found on the internet, or a new coder trying to solve a Codecademy puzzle, follow this same process. Start with what you know, make a list of what you want to learn, and continuously be open to the dynamic process. And, importantly: be patient with yourself!

4) Data Science Resources

Since Atlanta PyLadies said they were really, really, really interested in data science topics, I tried to attend as many of these talks as possible. Michael Becker’s “Data Science: It’s Easy as Pyǃ” was one of the standouts. I wanted to include an image of his resources slide since I thought it might be of interest to our PyLadies.

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Here are those links:

5) It’s okay to bring exactly who you are to the experience of writing Python

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My dear friend Anna recently asked me for a quote about why I love the Python/Django community for her sure-to-be-amazing upcoming DjangoCon talk. There’s so much to love about this community, but perhaps my favorite thing is that we can bring exactly who we are to the experience of building software together. From a non-traditional background as a cook, I’ve felt nothing but enthusiastic welcome from each of you. And I’ve also seen this diversity modelled in my colleagues, who play e-bassoons – like Lars pictured above – sew quilts, bake cupcakes, bring their families to conferences, and more.

It’s important to me that we don’t just have lives beyond our work, but that we share our lives *within* our work. To me, that makes all the difference.

When I was invited to give my first talk at a Python conference – PyTennessee – I knew that I really wanted to bake cookies and have them available before my talk. When I mentioned this to a friend, she discouraged me, saying that I shouldn’t. She was worried that I wouldn’t be taken seriously, or that it would somehow make me look bad.

I know she meant well, but after thinking on it a moment, I decided that I would bring eight dozen cookies. And not only would I bring them, I’d wear a flouncy Betsey Johnson dress while giving my talk. And you know what? Aside from my outrageous nervousness, it could not have been a better experience! I met amazing people, and we ate cookies and talked Python together. What more could you want?

So, please feel invited to bring exactly who you are to this activity. If the recent #ILookLikeAnEngineer debacle taught us anything, it’s that you can look like an engineer, no matter what you look like or what you do in your spare time! And don’t let anybody tell you differently – especially if cookies are involved.

Bonus Round: PyLadies are Everywhere!

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Okay, so this one was mostly just for fun. But I wanted to share this image to illustrate that we PyLadies are all over, and we’re doing good things in our community to help women learn Python.

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Python in Atlanta: resources for PyLadies

So, tonight I’m giving a talk at PyLadiesATL about doing Python in Atlanta. My goal is to share information that’s relevant to newcomers and experienced developers about what we currently have going on, so that we might all dream together about what we want.

Since a lot of folks won’t be able to make it, but might benefit from having the info available here, I decided to write up my thoughts. For anyone who has ever asked to pick my brain on doing Python in Atlanta: here ya go. This is what I know. Hope it helps – and: please? Help me out by lending your own suggestions. We’re all in this together, after all!

Our current resources

PyATL – a welcoming Meetup for all

PyATL is Atlanta’s Python Meetup that meets on the second Thursday of every month. It is convened by Doug Hellman, a super awesome guy who works on OpenStack and is a prolific open source contributor. He is well known for his work on virtualenvwrapper, a set of extensions to virtualenv. (Virtualenv is what we use to create isolated Python environments to work on our projects – it’s something you usually encounter very early in your Python-learning journey and end up using all the time). Doug is a great resource for all things Python, so follow him at and say hello at PyATL.

I attended PyATL for the first time in January and had such a great time that I’ve been back every month (except for June, when I was at DjangoCon Europe). I even gave a talk on PyLadies there in May.

Unfortunately, not a lot of women attend the Meetup. The first time I attended, there was only one other woman there, and in subsequent meetups there have never been more than three or four women in a room that sometimes inches towards fifty.

And since people don’t wear “beginner” tags on their shirts, it is easy to assume that everyone there is some kind of Python expert, and is so much further along than you. This can be intimidating if you are a new coder.

This was the case the first time I turned up in January, and I was accordingly nervous. I didn’t really understand the talks. But I did sit at a table with others and forced myself to talk about my interest in and growing experience with Python. Yeah, it was intimidating, and I felt like an imposter, but folks were really nice and I’ve actually become good friends with one of them.

If you’re serious about learning and using Python in Atlanta, you owe it to yourself to give the Meetup a try. Right now, it is our most established regular gathering for Python users in Atlanta. It’s a great way to meet others using the language, hear who’s hiring, and of course, learn from excellent talks.

My favorite thing about PyATL is the high quality of the monthly lectures, and of the speaker-educators who give them. Apart from that very first meeting, there hasn’t been a talk since that I felt went completely over my head, no matter how technical, because the speakers are so good at explaining even complex topics in accessible ways. Newcomers may be pleasantly surprised at just how well they follow along.

Likewise, PyATL is also a welcoming place to get practice speaking. Right now, there is a high demand for women to speak at programming conferences on technical topics. But if you’re not a student, you might not get a lot of opportunities to practice. PyATL can be that opportunity, and wants to be. The organizers are very welcoming to and supportive of new speakers. Some of the folks who are really good speakers are great, Doug told me, in part due to the fact that they’ve been giving talks at PyATL over the years and improving each time.

I used my May lecture at PyATL to prepare for giving two talks at DjangoCon Europe in May and June. It definitely helped me sort out some of my nerves!

If you’d like to get practice soon, opportunities are just around the corner. August is PyLadies month at PyATL, and they’re looking for women who’d like to speak. If you’re interested, please let me know ASAP, as they like to announce the schedule a couple of weeks in advance. You can also ask me about available speaker mentor resources. There are a few local, experienced speakers and Python developers who are available to help you practice and work on your talk.

Similarly, September is “beginners” month at PyATL. The talks will be either by or for beginners, and as always, all are welcome – though it’ll be particularly relevant and helpful for new coders.

PyATL Jam Session – a place to code together

PyATL’s format is lecture: you attend and hear talks by local developers. In contrast, PyATL’s jam session is an informal gathering where PyATL members gather to write Python together. You can choose to bring a hobby project or work with a new friend on something else. If you’ve ever stayed for the “sprints” after a tech conference, the jam session will feel familiar. It’s open to anyone who wants to write Python – all experience levels welcome.

The group is very helpfully convened by JR Rickerson, a local Python and Django expert who writes code every day at his company Red Rivet Studios. JR is a huge supporter of Python in Atlanta and is key to making our Django Girls happen in September as a coach (Django Girls? more on that in a moment).

Information about upcoming Jam sessions can be found at the main PyATL page. The next one is Tuesday, August 4 at 7pm, here at Pindrop. You can learn more and RSVP here.

Conference opportunities: PyTennessee, PyOhio, Curly Braces

Conferences are for new coders and experienced developers alike. You don’t have to have written Python for years to get a lot out of a conference: you can network with other developers, learn about new tools and new ways of approaching old problems, and participate as a volunteer.

It’s been my experience that organizers of Python and Django conferences work very thoughtfully to select a variety of speakers and talk topics that reflect the diversity of its audience and will reach folks no matter where they are with Python. I found this to be the case when I attended PyTennessee back in February. I attended a particularly good talk on security by Ashwini (@ashfall) and Chris (@radix) that was great for beginners. Even the talks that stretched my current understanding of Python didn’t go completely over my head. Again, as with PyATL, this speaks to the quality of developer-educators we have in our community.

If you’re curious what its like to attend and speak at a conference as a learner, I wrote up my experience at PyTennessee here and at DjangoCon Europe here.

Several Atlantans are heading up to Columbus Ohio to attend PyOhio later this week. After PyOhio, the next regional Python conference will be PyTennessee in Nashville in February. You are highly encouraged to keep an eye on the official PyTennessee Twitter for more info as it becomes available, and to mark your calendars for February 6 – 8, 2016.

And though not strictly about Python (or any particular programming language), Curly Braces Conf is coming up at the end of November, here in Atlanta. It is a free, local, welcoming one-day conference about the intersection of computing with arts and sciences. Anyone is welcome to pitch a ten-minute talk about something they’ve found exciting, surprising, or delightful about programming or computing. Learn more here.

Learn online with fellow PyLadies at PyLadiesRemote

Deepen your involvement with the global PyLadies movement by attending a PyLadiesRemote event or helping out as a TA. PyLadiesRemote is the Remote chapter of PyLadies. While it was founded to reach the needs of those who doesn’t have access to a local PyLadies chapter, the workshops are free and open to anyone. Follow on Twitter to learn what’s next.

If you have more experience with Python, you can help out as a TA. I had a great time TAing Katie Cunningham‘s Intro to Python class. Since then they’ve had intro to JS and Intro to Django with Emma Delescolle – the latter, just this past weekend.

PyLadiesRemote is organized by the amazing Anna who also writes the Django Girls “Your Django Story” series on the official blog. More on that below! She has always been a huge help and inspiration to me and I can’t recommend her work with PyLadiesRemote more highly.

Further your study with PyLady Lynn Root’s Newcoder.io

It’s great to get started learning Python with tutorials at Codeacademy, Learn Python the Hard Way, and Coursera. But once you’ve finished these, you may find yourself looking for more of a challenge. Fellow PyLady Lynn Root’s newcoder.io might be just the ticket. Designed to help you go beyond tutorials into building projects, you’ll really get a change to flex your growing Python skills. Tutorials on data visualization, APIs, web scraping, networks, and GUI can be worked sequentially and grow in difficulty. Bonus: your confidence as a Python developer is certain to grow as you earnestly work through these.

Need a job in Atlanta? – Companies that use Python – that might want to hire you!

MailChimp is one of our Meetup sponsors and provided the food and drink we’re enjoying tonight. MailChimp helps folks send better email by providing efficient and innovative ways to manage contacts, send messages, and track results.

They’re currently seeking moderate to advanced Python uses in a variety of positions. You can see what they have available here.

Pindrop Security provided the space for us to meet tonight, and is already well-known in the Atlanta Python community for fostering goodwill by providing a place for the PyATL jam session to meet. They have extended the opportunity to PyLadiesATL to meet here long-term.

Pindrop provides solutions to protect enterprise call centers and phone users by combining authentication with anti-fraud detection technology to verify legitimate callers while detecting malicious callers. They’re hiring in a variety of Python positions. Go here to see what’s currently available.

I have friends who work at MailChimp and Pindrop and they seem pretty happy with it!

Kabbage is the #1 online provider of loans to small businesses. Its concept is revolutionary: it allows users to draw against their lines of credit, as frequently as once per day, for anything they need to grow their businesses. Unlike traditional lenders, who rely heavily on credit scores for decision-making, Kabbage approves small business loans by looking at real-life data.

Kabbage seems like a pretty wonderful place to work, and they were featured in “Best Places to Work” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Check out careers here.

The Weather Channel is a household name, and they’re hiring. Employees of the Weather Channel regularly attend PyATL as active participants and nearly every month they mention that they are hiring. Check current positions here.

Local recruiters for Python jobs: A representative from Choice Technology Group, Sandy, recently attended PyATL and is interested in speaking with folks who are looking for Python jobs. CTG is located on Auburn Avenue and has a referral program. For more info, check their website.

Some thoughts: can I get a job as a developer without a CS degree?

So you’re teaching yourself to code because you’re interested in it, you wake up thinking about what you want to build, you crave collaboration on open-source projects. And maybe you’re perfectly content to build pet projects to make your personal life easier, or build a blog using Django to highlight a non-technical interest, and so on. But there may come a time in your life where you’re interested in getting a full-time job as a developer.

I have personally heard many success stories of people transitioning from non-technical careers or educational backgrounds into coding full-time. It is a lot of work, but if you are passionate, you can make it happen. While these women aren’t necessarily from Atlanta, it’s worth it to check out the “Your Django Story” blog run by my friend Anna of Django Girls. She regularly highlights women from a variety of backgrounds, often non-technical. These are women who taught themselves languages, tools, frameworks, and ended up building careers for themselves doing what they love. There’s a good chance you’ll find it very inspiring!

And there are plenty of women in Atlanta who have taught themselves to code and found great success. One very inspiring story come from the Ruby community: Kylie of RailsGirlsATL is now giving her “Amelia Bedelia Learns to Code” talk all over the US! And while my friend Melissa does have a degree in CS, her commitment to learning Clojure is hugely inspiring (and I not-so-secretly hope we work together to bring ClojureBridge to Atlanta!).

If you’re a woman who taught herself to code and has found success in the industry, please do speak up at our Meetups. We want to hear your story and learn from it. Just as there were probably loads of folks who helped you on your way, we hope you can do something similar for Atlanta’s PyLadies. Remember, we all rise together!

Stay in touch with Atlanta’s tech community on Slack

Have you heard of Slack? Slack is basically a bunch of chat rooms organized by topic. Private groups and direct messaging is also available.

TECH404 is a group of chat channels for Atlanta area developers, designers, marketers, business people, and other professionals involved in technology. It’s a common space where folks talk about technologies they’re using, successes and failures, job opportunities, and use lots of emojis.

You can find me in the #all-the-nerdy-ladies channel created by Pamela Vickers (@pwnela) of RailsGirlsATL. I’ve also heard and the #jobs and #gigs channels can be helpful for those looking.

Other social/networking opportunities across languages and tools

A simple search on Meetup will reveal lots of different types of tech meetups in Atlanta, from Clojure to Women Who Code. I compiled a list of a few of them and when they meet in this post “Geeky in Atlanta.”

So know you know what’s out there… what do you want from PyLadiesATL?

Seriously – in this talk/post, I wanted to give you ideas of existing resources here in Atlanta for starting or continuing your Python journey. I’ve covered our other Meetups, job opportunities, remote learning resources, and some personal advice.

But I also want to hear your dreams for Atlanta’s Python community. What’s missing? How can we make it better? Do you want our Meetup to focus mostly on talks from local developers? Do you want us to run a concurrent track of tutorials or workshop series? Please, let me know!

We have a few ideas to run by you:

Demystifying Computers: they’re Not Magic

“Computers Aren’t Magic” is a series of workshops by local developer Shawn Boyette of Curly Braces Conf. These day-long workshops cover computer hardware, the internet, Linux, and programming. This series will be held as a collaboration with PyLadiesATL, so keep an eye on our Meetup page for more details as they emerge. The first one on hardware was held on March 21, and will be reprised.

Using git and Github

Do you have a Github account? Do you use it? Are you familiar with these words?

Github is a powerful tool for sharing your own open source projects so that others can work on them. It also gives you access to the open source work of others. You use git on the command line in order to make changes and do loads of other things.

I’ve used Git and Github to manage my own projects and to contribute to others’. They’re critical tools for open source contributors, and lots of companies use Github to track their work.

At DjangoCon Europe I attended a workshop by Daniele Prociada called “Don’t Be Afraid to Commit”. It’s a workshop and tutorial for Python/Django developers who want to contribute to projects, but need grounding in the tools required to do so. It takes participants through the complete cycle of 1) identify an issue in a project; 2) writing a patch with documentation; and 3) submitting it, using git on the command line and Github.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in learning, please let me know! I would use Daniele’s curriculum for this workshop, and it would last about a day (food provided).

Django Girls in Atlanta!

Django Girls is a 501c3 non-profit that empowers women all over the world to host workshops that teach women to fall in love with programming. The curriculum is entirely free and open source and available online. Check the tutorial out here. I am organizing Atlanta’s first instance of Django Girls to be held – fingers crossed & we secure our location! – Friday, September 25 and Saturday, September 26.

If you identify as a woman, know English, and have a laptop, you can apply for the workshop. You don’t need any prior technical knowledge. This class is for absolute beginners.

As a workshop attendee you will:

  • participate in a one-day Django workshop (with installfest the night before) during which you will create your first website
  • meet people from the industry and learn more about programming
  • be fed by us – all meals provided during the workshop

The workshop is free to apply and attend, but we only have space for thirty people, so please follow us on Twitter at @djangogirlsATL for the latest news. The official Atlanta Django Girls website will be up on August 1, and applications will open soon after that.

Do you use Django or Python for work or fun? If so, please be a Django Girls coach! You do NOT have to be a Django expert in order to help out as a coach. You must simply be willing to work through the tutorial with 2 – 3 attendees. If you’re interested in helping coach, please let us know at atlanta (at) djangogirls (dot) org.

We are also looking for sponsors. Sponsors are prominently displayed on the Django Girls Atlanta website. If your company agrees that the IT industry can greatly benefit from bringing more women into technology, and you want to be an active part of helping more women learn to program, please contact us at atlanta (at) djangogirls (dot) org.

What else?

I’m sure you have other ideas – let’s hear ’em! And let’s work together to make Atlanta a Python community worthy of women.