Going to PyCon for the First Time
And I'll Be Teaching a Tutorial!
This time last year, I didn't really know there was such a thing as PyCon. My mind at the time was pondering the plausibility of making a little blog about what I was learning, but somewhat unsure if I could even do it.
In fact, it wasn't until late March last year that I pushed my first commit to GitHub for Python By Night. That was back when I was learning how to do it with Flask. And yet here I am a little less than 60 days out from my PyCon presentation in Salt Lake City!
From Here to There
Let me start by stating how thrilled and honored I am that the Python Software Foundation (PSF) (specifically the Tutorials Committee) decided to grant me this awesome opportunity.
With that said, I must admit that I was very surprised to receive the notification that my proposal had been accepted. I mean... What?!
So I thought I would take this time to reflect a little bit on all of this.
What Do I Know?
I continue to be tempted to go down to the land of impostor syndrome, even when I know it proves unproductive. It should be common sense that there will always be those who know more—a whole lot more—than I ever will.
But you know what? That's okay.
I also have to accept that I have a considerable amount of knowledge that I've picked up on, and it could very well be useful information for a lot of people who are on a similar path/journey as the one I'm taking.
I need to keep reminding myself of this.
Yet, as I prepare for my presentation, both of these contrasting thoughts bubble up constantly.
There is a lot that I don't know, which in a way is inspiring, because there's much yet to learn (and I like learning).
But also, I actually have a relatively large cache of information that I'd love to share. As a matter of fact, even though I've been given 3 hours at PyCon, I know I'm going to have to be very choosy as to what I'm able to fit in.
This is actually a very exciting problem to have.
This Time Last Year
As I mentioned in the intro, last year around this time, I only had a vague idea of what this site would be. I even may have thought to scrap the project altogether.
(I have a penchant for abandoning projects for shiny new things.)
Fortunately, I can also be kind of stubborn. And, I actually enjoy coding and figuring things out. Although I had no experience with full stack development, I wanted to find out (the hard way) if it was possible to go through the process from start to finish.
At this point in my journey, I was fairly comfortable somewhat advanced Python concepts. I had created some automation scripts (for Excel files) with varying degrees of success.
Prior to that, I had dabbled with web scraping and working with some NLP concepts.
However, I had very little experience and knowledge about how to organize a package, how to approach configuration, and how to interact with persistent data (database), and how to serve that up to the void (or Internet).
That's what drew me to build a web application, which ultimately transformed into this website.
The Journey Is the Destination
As I dove deep into these concepts, I realized that there was an unending wellspring of things to learn.
Yes, sometimes that can be disheartening.
But I realized that, in the context of what I was learning, I could inhabit this space where I'm learning and adapting. It didn't matter as much to me actually finishing my project.
I do have to interject here to highlight that I am currently not working as a developer. Maybe that has something to do with my excitement. All my deadlines are self-imposed and fluid (or non-existent).
While it is important to have incremental goals, I feel like I have the luxury to enjoy the journey of learning. I can spend time in the details and feel at liberty to get sidetracked.
I believe I saw the Call for Proposals (CFP) for PyCon on Twitter. I clicked over to the website and started reading about PyCon and about what they were looking for in a presenter.
Something that stood out is the welcoming and inclusive language used in the CFP.
I had just launched my blog and instead of asking, should I? I preferred to ask, why not?
I decided to submit a proposal that addressed the very things I had struggled with as I was getting started with this blog.
Certainly, I had a lot of doubt that I would get it right the first time around, but at the very least, I knew I could modify my proposal topic into more content for this site.
So a couple of weeks ago, when I found out that my proposal had been accepted, all the aforementioned competing emotions bubbled up immediately.
But one thing that gives me confidence is that part of the reason (I believe) that I had a positive response to my proposal is that I actually cut down on the material I initially wanted to submit.
This helped me to focus and really refine my topic. Additionally, since I was doubtful that I would have a response, I spent a lot of time fleshing out my submission in lieu of presenting it on this site.
So, if you've made it this far, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about.
In case it isn't quite obvious from reading this, my topic will be around how to go about building a web application, with an emphasis on app structure, configuration, and dealing with a database.
I know. Big surprise.
The title of my tutorial is Goodbye, "Hello World." Hello, Functional FastAPI Web App.
I'm looking forward to it! Hopefully, so are you.