PyDev of the Week: Maria McKinley

PyDev of the Week: Maria McKinley

This week we welcome Maria McKinley (@twiteness) as our PyDev of the Week. Maria is a Senior Software Engineer at the Walt Disney Company and will be a speaker at PyCascades 2019. She is also teaching the Python Certificate Program at the University of Washington Continuing Education. Let’s spend a few moments getting to know her better.

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

I have a BS in Physics from the University of Washington, and taught myself how to code while working in Neuroscience labs at the same University. I got to work on some amazing research projects, while discovering how much I enjoyed writing code. In October 2015 I started working at the Walt Disney Company as a Senior Software Engineer. I also teach Python, both at the University of Washington and within Disney. And I’m a mom. All of that keeps me pretty busy, but I also try to set aside time for reading, exercise, playing boardgames, and art.

Why did you start using Python?

While I was working in the Neuroscience labs, I often did both software development and system administration. A few years ago, I was running a mail server, and trying to automate some administrative task related to spam. It wasn’t a terribly important or frequent one, so every once in a while I would work on automating it with a Bash script. After a few months, someone told me Python was good for sysadmin, so I tried it. In five minutes, I was able to get a script running, doing the task that had alluded me for so long. I was hooked.

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

Python is my favorite, and I’ve ben using it pretty exclusively for the last five years or so. I have used Matlab, Javascript, C, C#, C++, Actionscript, Igor, and PHP enough to have a basic understanding. I wouldn’t say I know them all anymore, but I did at one point to varying degrees. Just like a foreign language, if you don’t use it you lose it. I can still read them all, though, so there’s that. I taught myself basic when I was young, and I still remember having to change a bunch of the goto statements when I wanted to add something in the middle. That was hell. Python is better.

Thanks for doing the interview, Maria!

from The Mouse Vs. The Python

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