PyTN 2019 Meet Our Organizers: Josh Stephens

Josh Stephens is the speakership chair of PyTN 2019. Get to know him better and his opinions on the conference, Nashville, and more below:

I have quite a few things that I have been working on. My biggest project is trying to fix up my old house that my wife and I purchased about a year or two ago. When that is not consuming most of my time I like to sit down and learn some of the CS concepts that most self taught developers miss. Things like data structures, algorithms and design patterns. I have also discovered a really cool book called YNAB and decided to try and build my own budgeting software as a fun side project.

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?

I believe that Data Science was a field that I didn’t expect python to grow into so much. This year we say a very big jump in the number of data science talk submissions. I have also heard about R for data science but have been pleasantly surprised that python has also moved into this space.

I would love to see more python in the security space. I feel like python is conquering the web development space, and now the data science, so I think security would be a great next space for python to go. I have seen a few people using python as a tool in their toolbox for ethical hacking but I feel it is not as widespread as it could be.

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

For individuals that are starting out my two favorite python books are Automate the Boring Stuff and Learn Python 3 the Hard Way. For those that have become more intermediate to advanced I would recommend Fluent Python and Serious Python

Lastly I recommend tons of projects and reading code. I feel like after I hit a wall, those two tasks are helping me further my knowledge faster than reading more books. Try and steer clear of using a tutorial because they are doing the steps for you. This forces you to have to design your app from scratch, make mistakes along the way and recover from those mistakes.

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

My work team loves to go to Hattie B’s at least once a week. I don’t really do hot food very well, gives me incredible heart burn, so I normally stick with the mild to medium. However I must say the chicken is really good. The spice level is just right.

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

The power of networking is probably one of the most missed opportunities. You are getting to meet people who are a driving force in the python community and conferences are a great place to meet these people and learn from them.