Are you a techie who has recently moved to Ireland? Keen to meet new people, both personally and professionally? If so, Python Ireland’s monthly meet-up might be for you! Since a huge number of businesses rely on this programming language for their day-to-day activity, a community of enthusiasts decided to form a monthly get-together. This, in turn, led to the creation of an annual Irish event, PyConIE, nine years ago. We caught up with Nicolas Laurance, Chair of Python Ireland, to find out more.
By Techies for Techies
“12 years ago,” Nicolas begins, “the Python Ireland meet-up was very informal. It gradually grew into a community, who thought it would be nice to develop a small-scale conference.” For Nicolas, it’s this grassroots ethos that makes the group so attractive. “What’s remarkable about PyCon Ireland is that it’s a non-profit company,” he says. “I’m the Chair this year, though none of us receives any payment – we even buy our own tickets! This makes us one of the largest organisations in the industry that’s completely run by the community itself. There’s no commercial interest behind it.”
The 2018 PyCon event recently took place in Dublin city-centre, with over 400 eager tech fans in attendance. As Nicolas explains, the theme this year was ‘Education’. “It came to my attention that Ireland was introducing Computer Science for the Leaving Cert,” he explains. “I thought this was very interesting. Since Python will have an important role to play in the course, I thought Education would be a nice theme for this year’s conference.”
A Stellar Line-Up of Speakers
There were an impressive 100 submissions to speak at the conference, with 25 experts being eventually selected. “We had Dr Suzanne Little from DCU’s School of Computing,” says Nicolas. “She has a wealth of experience teaching Python to college students. Another speaker, software engineer Miguel Grinberg, has made a major contribution to the community, having written a huge tutorial on how to build a website. We also had Brett Becker from UCD’s School of Computer Science who is in charge of teaching computer science to second level teachers and collecting and sharing best practice internationally. So, between secondary school, higher and further education, we covered a lot of ground.”
Want to get involved? Simply pop along to the next monthly meet-up. “We’re always looking for more contributors,” says Nicolas, “people who are keen to share their knowledge and expertise relating to Python. We’re in contact with lots of companies who are looking for employees, so if you have a decent skill set in Python, there are lots of professional opportunities there.”