Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hollywood Hackathon Report

A few weeks ago, specifically June 18, 2011, two Python groups, Pyladies LA (since they are now global) and the local Southern California Python Interest Group joined forces with Border Stylo to put on hopefully the first of what I have styled the 'Hollywood Hackathon'.

Anyway, let's get down to some serious business. The event was exciting, eye opening, and I hope it happens again.

So why was this event special?
  • Out of the 55 local attendees, about 60% were female. Both genders had a wide range of skill levels and interests. 
  • 30 more people participated from around the world.
  • Numerous attendees, male and female, contributed to open source for the first time.
  • The waiting list for tickets was long.
  • The PSF and Python Sprints jumped at the chance to help out.
  • Code got submitted to various open source projects built using stuff like Python, Django, Pyramid, Bottle, Learn Python the Hard Way, and more.
  • The turnout was awesome. Imagine if there had been months of lead time and a dedicated conference site? Pyladies Con anyone?
What I did at the event

I did what I could to help set things up, presented at the end, and gave Python advice to those who needed it. Most of my Python advice was helping those stuck on setting up their system or trying to find a particular module to do a task.

The best thing about helping out people at an event like this is that people start figuring out things themselves. Yeah, you help them, but they do the thinking and they do the coding. All you do is provide that initial little bit of help and then they go off and make their world better. How cool is that?

Raise your hand! 

I'm guilty of this too, that I don't want to feel stupid by asking questions.

This is crazy!

If you ever come to an event like this, where a dozen people are giving their free time to walk around to mentor, then raise your hand. Otherwise it is by luck that someone will help you. Maybe we'll see you stuck on the same few lines of code or maybe we'll hear you curse exclaim in frustration. Or maybe mentors won't see you in trouble and you'll never get help.

So please, if you have any questions or problems, don't hesitate to raise your hand!

Closing bits

I have some advanced notice that the Pyladies organizers (regardless of opinion I am not a Pyladies organizer) is putting together a kit so you can open up a Pyladies club in your city. Yup, they are going global and I'll be helping spread that message in a future blog post.

If you wan to know more about what happened, Pyladies has an excellent writeup.

The Future of Python is women making up 50% or more of the community

The Future of Python

No comments: