PyTN 2019 Meet Our Organizers: Aliya Gifford

Aliya Gifford is the sponsorship co-chair of PyTN 2019. Get to know her better and her opinions on the conference, Nashville, and more below:

I love to tinker with building small things such as a a cat door for the window or a simple shelf. However, I’ve recently undertaken a slightly larger project in deciding to attempt to build a sofa frame! You know, when you can’t find the one you want, build it! So right now it’s a lot of reading and learning simple wood building techniques.

What’s a way that you think the Python community has grown that you didn’t expect? Where do you think the Python community/ecosystem could develop further?

Interest in data science has grown so much recently, I can’t say I’m surprised to see how Python has been developed and used in this field but I sure am happy for it! One area I think Python could be used more is in academics. The use is definitely growing, but in my experience students are more likely to use Matlab or R than Python.

What are some of the learning resources you’d suggest to newcomers to the Python language?

Use online tools such as Code Wars [], Hacker Rank [] and Project Euler [] to become comfortable with language basics. By using very small “drills” to become better at the “little things” this really helped me not be bogged down thinking about how to make or manipulate things like dictionaries or about language syntax, and let me think more big-picture about the problem I’m trying to solve.

How hot do you like your hot chicken, and for how many meals are you going to eat it while you’re here?

3 tenders: 2 medium, 1 hot. That’s my usual. Maybe I’ll try 1 medium, 2 hot this time! Maybe. I sure am looking forward to some delicious fried chicken!!

Do you have any advice for getting the most out of a technology conference?

Say hi. Introduce yourself to new people. If there isn’t a talk you’re itching to see, don’t be afraid of the hallway! I often get as much out of conversations with people in the hallway about things they’re working on or learning, than I do in talks.

Have you ever been to Nashville? If so, is there anything you recommend first timers do while they’re here? If not, is there anything you’re excited to see or do while you’re here?

I lived in Nashville for 8 years and always loved exploring Percy Warner Park! If you like hiking, then Percy Warner has great trails and is a wonderful get-away with a few beautiful outlooks over Nashville. Though February might be a little chilly, it’s definitely worth it.