This week, I gave my first talk at a local Python meetup group. Granted, it was just a lightning talk, but I’m pretty happy with how it went. (I even remembered to smile!) As the topic of the meetup was Python for Beginners, I shared some advice and resources that I’ve found useful in my own journey as I’ve been learning to code.
The group is in Barcelona, Spain which added an interesting element of language to the event. It’s pretty reasonable to expect people to know two or more languages; Catalan, Spanish, English are the top 3 most common languages, and programmers especially are more likely to know English, as much of the documentation and terminology used in Python is in English. There are many immigrants in Barcelona from other parts of the world, and like most of Europe, English is used as the common language when it’s a mixed-nationality group. For this reason, at PyBCN meetups, presenters are given the option to present in any of the 3 primary languages, as long as the slides are in English. While that policy is fine for an audience that already is comfortable with their programming skills and through programming skills comfortable with English as well, this is a fine policy. However I’m not sure it’s appropriate for beginners, who have less programming knowledge to draw from to infer things they don’t understand, and are more likely to get discouraged. Through my involvement with PyLadies, lurking in OpenHatch discussions, and other groups that are especially attuned to creating learning environments that are welcoming for beginners, choosing what language to speak for the presentation weighed heavily on me. However it was impossible to know the language composition of the audience ahead of time, and as it was my first such presentation, I decided to do it in my own native language, English. Additionally, the theme had never been clarified as to whether it was for beginning programmers, or for people who already program in other languages and learning Python as an additional programming language.
As it turns out, the majority of the audience was in the latter category, learning Python as an additional programming language, so perhaps my presentation was too rudimentary for most of them, but hopefully at least a few people came away feeling a little less lost as to how to find help, especially when they’re working on their own projects.
You can view my slides from the presentation here:
And for those who are interested in learning more about getting involved in Open Source (per my recommendation on the last slide), I am also sharing this video presentation where Aaron Patterson goes into more detail about the why and how of contributing to Open Source technology.