Pycon Canada is the biggest Python event in Canada every year. Numerator has significantly benefited from the Python ecosystem as Python powers much of the work we do.  This year we sent six developers from Numerator’s Ottawa office to Toronto to attend PyCon Canada 2019, it was a chance to learn, share, and meet fellow developers from around Canada.

The Canadian PyCon has a diverse and inclusive community that was evident throughout the event. Speakers with a broad range of backgrounds and expertise had their keynotes and technical talks. It was wonderful to learn and meet everyone that we could. There were a wide variety of lectures to attend that included very technical things, data science topics as well as business and fun talks. There was something for everyone.

The Trip to Toronto

Numerators’s office in Ottawa is 400km north of Toronto, the most convenient way to get a group to Pycon was by train. The train ride provided time to chat, review the talks, and plan what kind of activities we wanted to do in the evenings.

Numerator employees rented a house for the duration of the event, and having everyone staying under one roof created an opportunity for some great discussions.  Of which, were amongst colleagues and teams that don’t often get to interact, and some of these chats had us laughing late into the evening.

The Pycon Conference

There were many wonderful talks to attend. In particular, the PyData track focussed on data science-related discussions, including sessions on Deep Learning, Data Visualization, and Natural Language Processing. Lots of lessons here and insightful ideas to try with our own big data.

Bringing it Home

To make the most of this trip, we not only got to learn from, share with, and meet other Pythonistas. We also were looking forward to sharing what we learned over the weekend with the rest of our teams.

We scheduled a lunch and learn in the kitchen with our fellow developers at the Ottawa office when we got back. The team took turns discussing our favorite sessions from the event.  For example, Obaro, a developer working on the Pricing Intel Team, preferred the sessions that focused on teams and teamwork. In particular, he enjoyed Adrienne Lowe’s talk, which explored how the zen of python could be applied to improving a team’s working relationship. A related talk by Chris Wilcox titled, The blameless post mortem: how embracing failure makes us better, discussed the right attitude to have when dealing with developer errors on the team. Matt, who is a developer and working on the Pricing Intel team, reminded us of a particular statement from one of the sessions. Instead of stating a developer wrote a script that brought down the production database, which can come across accusatory, simply say that a script brought down the production database. The second statement frees the specific developer from blame and allows the team to focus on fixing the current issue as well as how to prevent problems from occurring in the future.

The good news is Numerator's Engineering Teams already practice this culture, so it was both encouraging to know we worked in a healthy environment and a strong reminder for us to continue developing it.

The event inspired another developer to start creating and sharing Jupyter notebooks within the Digital Shelf team. Jupyter notebooks are a great way to mix documentation, code, and visualizations that help to explore the data we have.  They show and share ways to use things we have built and help existing employees get new employees engaged. Pycon also exposed the team to a new tool currently being developed by Mozilla called Iodide.  Iodide essentially runs Jupyter notebooks entirely within a browser environment, which, when combined with some other useful features, makes sharing code and results between teams easier than ever before.

It’s pretty cool to have the opportunity to engage with the Python community this way and go with colleagues for a weekend of learning and fun. Pythonistas are some of the friendliest and diverse community of developers there are!

PyCon 2019 Presentation Videos

If anyone wants to check out some of the presentations for themselves, videos of the talks can be found at https://www.youtube.com/pyconca?mc_cid=da420da19c&mc_eid=77f89eb9d8.

Numerator is hiring!Firstly we would like to thank the organizers of Pycon Canada for putting on a great event! The food, keynotes, technical talks, sponsors, and organization was excellent. Secondly, we’d like everyone to know that Numerator is looking for curious Python full-stack and backend developers as well as many other roles. For information about specific openings check out www.numerator.com/careers