Few languages have instilled a healthy curiosity about the relationship between humans and technology as well as Python has, with its pithy commands, and eschewance of the skewed view of programming as a "black art" for a privileged class of information workers and engineering buffs. Now, after getting some experience, and after PyBay, I can ask myself honestly, how can I make the world better by programming? Because, now I have no excuse. - Anaconda, Bokeh, Boto - Python brings the world to you through helpful packages you can use to leverage the strength of the computer, and process and output information in a universally intelligible way, like charts or graphs. This access and ease of use make it possible to change your life, and by association that of others.
Coming from a liberal arts background, I had little idea of what I was getting into when I embarked on learning Python to understand programming and text processing in the context of AI, leading then-confused me into haphazard, meandering research. On a trip back home to Los Angeles to the Viterbi school, where I was enthralled with the level of intellectual effort and complexity involved in NLP. . I found nerds who loved language and math, but still I didn't have the background or interest in pursuing research through formal training, yet.
I later stumbled on one blog, coindcidentally of a Viterbi alum, a great access point for me to understand Machine Translation (I asked myself, where is the translation industry going and am I going there with it?) - this process led me initially to see how computers "understand" language through the NLTK package. I went on to learn some basics: C++ and more at CCSF Computer Science Dept. I soon after joined the SF Python Meetup a healthy group of teachers and students, all working together finding out how to share our enjoyment of the science and art of programming with the world.
Native and novel Python packages, comprise the most incredible software ecosystem I have ever seen. What this does is allow users to create a personal workbench to practice programming for any purpose they may have. It has made everyone's lives better, because we are not only distracted from the horror of groundhog days, we are enriched through this distraction, and we propagate a sense of wonderment about the world, and that is engaging beyond the software programming world. and apparently making us more productive, faster.
The only impediment to success is the amount of options you have at your disposal and the number of goals you have in mind for the processes and data you want to weave together and visualize. However, at any conference, I find it is more about channeling the energy of the speakers and using what bits you know to figure out what you don't know, following a path toward success, whether for you that means pure fun or utility, or something in between.
I am coming to realize that programmers touch many fields in their journey, as they encode information from the physical world - this information is diverse. This access affords some privilege and responsibility perhaps as some assert that now, a programmer has a strange moral obligation to write code for humanity, help squash poverty, support democracy..
Here is one way. PyBay scholarships give the underserved equal access, equal chance, because this is a critical part of equal access to education today. The community has set a higher standard for what equal access to education is. I think by extension, this means access to the open software community itself..
Even though I am not a programmer by trade I am made to feel welcome in the Python community, because students matter, as much as teachers or professional programmers, because at the end of the day we are all students. We all write and rewrite, correct ourselves, correct others - it is what it means to be human since a long time ago. By writing we research ourselves, push our mental limits, open our minds to the world as we find words to decipher it, nowadays through the keyhole of the computer.
What does PEP 20 mean to you?
"Programming changes the way we think." Would you agree with this statement by Jessica McKellar? Why or why not?