culture

PyCon 2015: First Notes

Snakes are deaf. And so are some Pythonistas.
- Julia Evans introducing live captioning at PyCon 2015

I’ve been blown away by the attention to accessibility at PyCon 2015. Every talk has been captioned in real time, with screens beside every presenter streaming their words. PyCon has childcare, gratis, for anyone at the conference. 291 individuals received $200K in financial aid to help them pay for the conference, hotel rooms, flights, etc.

I’ve chatted with a woman who works for the Detroit Public Library system. She started teaching kids to code using Scratch (something she learned specifically to teach to others), and is now doing the same with Python. Her students thought Scratch was too elementary and quickly outgrew it - now they want more. It’s fantastic to hear about stuff like this popping up throughout the country and the community rallying around it.

PyLadies and DjangoGirls are also bringing Python to a wider community, teaching women who have never coded before how to build a Python program and/or web application from the ground up. And the Python Software Foundation is right there to support projects like those through their grant program.

The Foundation and the PyCon organizers have bent over backwards to provide opportunities for developers of all experience levels to jump into open source software. The OSS sprints will be led by several talks about introductory open source contributions, inviting any Python developers to jump in even if they’ve never contributed to open source before.

As a new PyCon attendee, I can’t speak highly enough about all of the ways they’ve made this conference accessible and welcoming. More to come as the talks continue!

If you’re reading this and at PyCon, I’d love to see you at the journalism and media open space in room 510D at 2PM today (Friday)!