My First Pycon And An Exciting Journey

Experience sharing of attending PyCon India 2019 in Chennai by a student participant and college mates who travelled almost 2,850 KMs (one way, from college to chennai) Coverimage courtsey: PyCon India 2019 landing page at https://in.pycon.org/2019/

My Story
Pycon2019 landingpage

This was the first time I attended Pycon India 2019 which was held between October 12 - 15 in Chennai. I was a bit skeptical about whether it will be helpful for me since I am interested / working mostly in the field of Web Development. But on the other hand, I was more excited to just attend and see what it is all about; mainly because it has become some sort of a tradition that every year, there is a group of students from our college (Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Katra, J&K) who attend the conference. So, finally, deciding to be amongst those who are torchbearer of this "annual tradition", I made up my mind to attend the conference. :)

Day 1 - I along with my collegues (9 of them from 3rd year and 3 of them from 2nd year) reached chennai on the evening of October 10th. We got to the hotel and just about relaxed after a long journey of 3 days (and traversed through India by train covering close to 3000 Kilometers / 1864 miles).

Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University (SMVDU) to Chennai
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University (SMVDU) to Chennai

What a journey it was!! I can now say, it was worth the efforts.. you get to see so much life all around. And when it gets boring, you would be forced to find yourself reading up or watching something or the other (movies, sitcoms, lectures, debates, etc) or striking up conversations with friends and fellow travellers around.

Day 2 - We had pre-planned the Day 2 for visiting the best of the places in Chennai. Accordingly, we visited famous temples like Kapeeleshwar Temple, Ashtalakshmi Temple, Guindy National Park and Marina Beach. Then, in the evening we came back to the hotel with some fun filled memories of the day. Now, onto the next two days of conference and the following couple of days at the workshops. We were very excited for the conference. Up until now, our entry passes for workshops weren't confirmed.

Day 3 - Yeah... It's the first day of conference and we reached the venue (Chennai Trade Centre) at about 7 AM. Yes, quite early in the morning. This was becuase all of us had to get ourseleves registered at the venue. We have done photoshoot with our college group along with our faculty member.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After that, at about 9 AM, the conference began with the opening address and the first keynote speaker of the day is Jake VanderPlas. He is an Astronomer by Training, Author of Python Data Science Handbook, Developer at Google. He gave his keynote narrating Python’s use cases that have changed over the decades and how the python frameworks are evolving. The keynote was really interesting.

History of Python and its framework's continuing rapid evolution - so much to understand & learn when one gets an historical perspective. Would you agree if I argued that history as a subject is so much more relevant even for us in technology & engineering field?

A privilege to sharing the frame with Jake VanderPlas

After the keynotes, there were parallel talks. In the parallel talks, there are two silent conferencing halls, which made it all the more intimidating as well as interesting. I attended the talk on "Working with Restful and Rest API" and also attended the Indeed Sponsored talk. The last keynote of the first day was delivered by Devi A S L. She is Staff Engineer, Razorpay. She described what had changed since the inception of PyCon in India and about gender equality in the dev community.

We also met some of our seniors who were now working in the various companies associated with this edition of the Pycon. It was like meeting our own familial elders. There is so much one gets to feel related when we meet an Alumni / Senior from our college at out in the real world context. It was very interesting chatting about their college days, and exchanging notes. Not only was it fun, it was also an opportunity to learn from them. :)

The event is sponsored also by some big companies like Microsoft, Indeed, AQR, Redhat, AWS, Thoughtworks, Deepsource, JetBrains and a lot many more corporates. In the course  of the day, I also met with some of them at the various booths and gained insights and knowledge on the technology they are working etc. Not to forget, there were goodies like T-shirts and stickers too that came our way.

As the day 1 concluded quite picture-perfectly, there was a sense of excitement to get to the day 2 of the PyCon India!! (photo courtsey R Narendran - PyCon India 2019 website) 

Day 4 -  

Here comes the second day of PyCon India.

JetBrains was running a quiz and created a lot of buzz among us all in the crowd. I solved some more puzzles from other booths to continue gathering some more goodies.. after all, this was the last day of conference and we had to maximize our collections / moolah.

Day 2 started with the keynote speaker Ines Montani. She is the co-founder of Explosion. In addition, she also put together spaCy where she was the core developer. She talked about AI and how spaCy works. Her talks were really interesting and inspiring. Then, after that, I attended other talks including the Microsoft sponsored talk in which they explained about plugins used in VS Code and new featues of VS Code.

I also got a chance to meet and talk to Ines Montani about her journey with SpaCy, Python and the current whereabouts of some of the technologies in terms of opportunities, potential, etc. I can say this from my personal experience of interacting with her, she is truly a fun person to talk to... Make sure you catch up with her if you find her in any future conference.

Great fun and learning off the dais, Yours Truly with Ines Montani & Matt Honnibal

I also met with the Indeed booth and gained some learning experience. And, then the time for the last keynote of the Pycon to be delivered by David Beazley arrived. He is the Author of the Python Essential Reference and Python Cookbook. The title of the keynote was “A talk near the future of Python” where he live-coded a web assembly interpreter, which wowed the audience. It was thrilling!! He is a nice calm personality to listen to... He was kind to oblige and spent a few minutes interacting with me... If and when you can, do make sure you catch up with him at any of these conference events. You'll benefit. :) 

Punit sharing the frame with the inspiring David Beazley

And, yeah, I am not going to make the mistake of glossing over the most important things - food --- the Breakfast and Lunch served during the confernce was really tasty & I can say, we were well-fed. Hallmark of the event as it concluded was that it helped me realize that I was a part of an energetic and equally aspirational community... And the proof of this feel is the Photoshoot of the whole PYCON community.

Sharing the frame with all the PYCON community

I have realized that these events and conferences were so very useful. And I am really glad I could be a part of this group that travelled all the way from our University to Chennai... It was so much fun to be with the friends from my college. And I must also THANK our University for their encouraging and permission to attend this event.

Not to be preachy, but let me tell you this from my personal experience: every developer must attend such conferences because this will make us realize the power of community and provide us with a chance to expand our horizons of knowledge. It doesn't matter which technology interests you or which technology you are working on... There is always something important you can learn, realize & take away from attending and listening to these exerienced people share their knowledge. The only other thing that matters the most is that you are a part of this community. :)

Thanks to the PyCon India team for pulling off such a grand event. I am delighted to be a part of this conference.

Thanks for reading the blog and giving your valuable time. I am there on @Punitbatra6

(Cover-image courtsey: PyCon India 2019 landing page at https://in.pycon.org/2019/)

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