From Zero to Django Hero

Django, education, Learning, Python, software engineering, Teaching, Women in Tech
django girls regalia

Unicorn Colors

In November, I participated in my first Django Girls event.  At the time, I was learning Ruby on Rails.  I remember being astounded by the differences between Rails’ and Django’s design patterns.  Although I didn’t get to write much Python that day, I was hooked.  In four hours I was able to write and deploy my first Django blog.  I decided to write my capstone project for Ada Developers Academy using Django and React.

Since then, I have become more involved in the coding community.  I received the PyLadies scholarship to PyCon.  At the last monthly PuPPy event, I gave my first lightning talk about my experience at PyCon this year.  I have become friends with the fantastic founder of She’s Coding (Nathalie Steinmetz) and have volunteered at the Tech Women Rising and WIT Regatta.

As my five month internship at Tableau winds down, I have been realizing that I’ve been doing and learning a lot this past year.  So far, I have moved across the country, graduated from Ada Developers Academy, learned Python and Ruby, dabbled in AWS, started my career in tech, and run my first marathon.  That isn’t even all of it.

When I heard that there would be another Django Girls event.  I decided that it was time for me to give back.  I promptly told Nathalie from She’s Coding that I was interested in volunteering.

I’m here today and I was able to help a woman named Georgia on her coding journey.  With my assistance, she was able to complete her first blog in Django.  Congratulations, Georgia!  We started with some Python shell calculations and learned about data structures. It’s great that I have been able to come full circle and help someone else learn Django.

Learning and teaching Django

Learning and teaching Django

Nerding During Tutorials at PyCon

Learning, PyCon, Python, software engineering, Virtual Environment, Women in Tech

I arrived in Cleveland early in the morning… much earlier than I’m used to being awake.  After a coffee, I walked around downtown and enjoyed the scenery of Terminal Tower and the sculptures that adorn the city.

Fountain of Eternal Life in Cleveland, OH

Fountain of Eternal life in Cleveland, OH

This is my first PyCon, so I didn’t know what to expect.  When I arrived at the conference center, the booths were organized and I was easily able to find my badge at the registration desk.  As I continued down the escalator, I noticed that the conference center was deceptively large. It turns out that much of the building is located underground.  The pamphlet that I received from the information desk, the Guide app, as well as the many people on staff at PyCon made it easy to get around and find the locations of the tutorials.  

Roxanne being NerdyMy first tutorial was from Buck Woody of Microsoft and was entitled “The Team Data Science Process with Python”.  Data science is one field that I’m interested in pursuing. The Team Data Science Process (TDSP)  is broken down into its parts and we performed the tutorial with Jupyter notebook in Azure notebook. You can find the full tutorial here.

Another useful tutorial taught me a different way to make a slack app with using Python SlackClient and Python Events API Adapter.  The Slack API is http-rpc. We start by getting our virtual environment set up with all of the dependencies. Slack requires event requests be delivered over SSL.  We use NGROK to run a tunnel in order to get a https url.

Another phenomenal tutorial was “The Five Kinds of Python Functions” by Steven Lott.  This talk reminded me of some of the reasons that I love Python. Python makes writing functions simple and readable.  You can make generators that do work for you. Type hints exist! Functions are objects (you can pass them into functions).  I’d recommend watching this talk. I found an older version here.


Terminal Tower in Cleveland, OH

Terminal Tower, Cleveland, OH

I had a great first day at PyCon and will definitely attend the tutorials again the next time that I go.


Continuing Education in Software Engineering

Data Science, education, Learning, PyCon, Python, software engineering, Women in Tech

You’ve finished the classroom portion of your bootcamp.  Maybe you have a luxurious internship.  You’ve worked your butt off.  Time to sit back and relax… just kidding!

If you’re like me, the reason you got interested in software engineering is that the education on the subject is never ending.  There is always something new to learn, some path to go down, or maybe a mountain to climb.  The more I learn, the more I know of my Socratic ignorance.  In laymen’s terms, I am aware of the lack of my own knowledge.  Because of this, I strive to know everything I can about software engineering.

There are many ways to learn.  You can learn by listening, doing, seeing, and many more ways.  To learn by listening, you can listen to podcasts on your commute.  Find something that interests you so that you pay attention.  Software Engineering Daily, Code Newbie, and  Talk Python to Me are just a few that I listen to on my jog to work.  To learn by doing, you can use Coursera, EdX, Udacity, Udemy or even youtube.  Coursera and EdX are free, but you can find Udacity and Udemy courses for drastically discounted rates.  If you are more accountable when you put money into a course, they are great options.  If you’re a visual learner, join some local meetup groups.  They often have lightning talks to get you started on a subject, tutorials, and social gatherings.  In Seattle, I enjoy the PUPPY(Puget Sound Python Programming group, SeattleRb, She’s Coding Seattle, and Women in Data Science groups.  In addition to this, you can decide to go to and speak at conferences.  You can usually find a discount for local conferences through meetups or applying for a scholarship.  Being a speaker provides some perks (accommodation admission and sometimes more).  Another way to garner a free ticket is to volunteer at the conference.  The Tech Women Rising conference was extremely fulfilling.  I was able to meet astounding women and learn a lot.  Because of that I am volunteering at the Women in Tech Regatta.  I’m sure It’s going to be just as fantastic.  In May,  I’ll be attending PyCon in Cleveland.

There are always ways to learn and people that will help.  Good luck in your educational journey.