PyDev of the Week: Sebastian Steins | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Sebastian Steins | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Sebastian Steins (@sebastiansteins) as our PyDev of the Week! Sebastian is the creator of the Pythonic News website. You can find out more about Sebastian by checking out what he’s been up to over on Github. Let’s take a few moments to get to know him better!

Sebastian Steins

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

I am a software developer from Germany and live close to the Dutch and Belgian border. The internet emerged when I was in school. I have always been fascinated by computers and wanted to learn to program. Unfortunately, this was not so easy at the time, and I did not have teachers who could have supported me in that matter. It changed, however, when I got my first modem. The internet opened a whole new world for me, and I started to learn HTML, Perl and later, PHP. I built CGI scripts and small web apps back then, and it was really fun. Eventually, I took programming as my career path, although I sometimes struggled with that decision. Besides my degree in computer science, I also heard lectures on economics and had a few positions in the finance sector early in my career. Now, I enjoy coaching teams of great software engineers in architecture matters and try to pass my knowledge to junior devs.

When I’m not in front of a computer, I like to ride my road bike, learn new stuff from audiobooks and would never say no to a night out in a good restaurant.

Why did you start using Python?

I started using Python when I needed a replacement for PHP, so it was very early on. It was in the very early days of the Python 2.0 release. I immediately liked it, because it was basically like writing pseudocode. This is what I still love about being able to “talk to a computer”: Expressing ideas and see results very quickly. Meanwhile, other languages have kept up and are equally expressive as Python. However, Python has become a little bit of my home base ever since.

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

I worked in different projects with many different programming languages like Java, C#, C and JavaScript.

Thanks for doing the interview, Sebastian!

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PyDev of the Week: Bob Belderbos | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Bob Belderbos | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Bob Belderbos (@bbelderbos) as our PyDev of the Week! Bob is a co-founder of PyBites. Bob has also contributed to Real Python and he’s a Talk Python trainer. You can learn more about Bob by checking out his website or visiting his Github profile. Let’s spend some quality time getting to know Bob better!

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

I am a software developer currently working at Oracle in the Global Construction Engineering group. But I am probably better known as co-founder of PyBites, a community that masters Python through code challenges.

I have a business economics background. After finishing my studies in 2004 though, I migrated from Holland to Spain and started working in the IT industry. I got fired up about programming. I taught myself web design and coding and started living my biggest passion: automate the boring stuff making other people’s lives easier.

When not coding I love spending time with my family (dad of 2), working out, reading books and (if time allows one day) would love to pick up painting and Italian again 🙂

Why did you start using Python?

Back at Sun Microsystems I built a suite of support tools to diagnose server faults. I went from shell scripting to Perl but it quickly became a maintenance nightmare. Enter Python. After getting used to the required indenting, I fell in love with Python. I was amazed how much happier it made me as a developer (Eric Raymond’s Why Python? really resonated with me).

Since then I never looked back. Even if I’d like to, now with PyBites it’s even harder to seriously invest in other languages (more on this later).

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

I started my software journey building websites using PHP and MySQL. I taught myself a good foundation of HTML and CSS which serves me to this day.

As a web developer, it’s important to know JavaScript, it powers most of the web! It definitely is not Python but the more I use it the more I come to appreciate the language. Lastly I learned some Java years ago but did not find a use case except writing an Android game. I am fortunate to be able to use Python for almost all my work these days and it’s by far my favorite programming language.

Thanks for doing the interview, Bob!

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PyDev of the Week: Miguel Grinberg | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Miguel Grinberg | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Miguel Grinberg (@miguelgrinberg) as our PyDev of the Week! Miguel is the author of Flask Web Development and the very popular Flask Mega-Tutorial. You can find out more about Miguel by checking out his blog or his Github profile. Let’s spend some time getting to know Miguel better!

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

I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Shortly after graduating from college with a Masters degree in Computer Science I was lucky to be offered a job in the United States, so I relocated to Portland, Oregon with my wife. We raised a family there and lived happily for several years. In 2018 we relocated once again, this time to Ireland. We plan to spend a few years on this side of the pond to be closer to my wife’s family and to be able to travel through Europe, but Portland is still our home and I’m pretty sure we will eventually return to America.

In terms of hobbies I have to say that by all standards I’m a fairly boring person. Outside of coding (which I do professionally and also as a hobby), what I enjoy the most is playing the Ukulele. I have a small collection of them, and I have recently expanded it with a Mandolin, which seemed appropriate now that I’m in Ireland. Everyone here seems to be in a band of some sort, so maybe one day I’ll join one as well, who knows!

Why did you start using Python?

This was around 2008 or 2009, I think. I was working at a company in which my team maintained a large library written in C++ that was used by several products, both internal and from partners. This was a big company, with a proper Quality Assurance department, but the QA engineers complained that they did not have an easy way to test our library, since it was C++ code. We had a homegrown unit testing suite written in a combination of bash, make, C++ and diff that was painful to maintain, and that was it in terms of testing. So I came up with the idea of creating bindings for our library in a scripting language that our QA people felt comfortable using. After a survey, the two contenders were Python and Ruby. At the time I knew very little about Python, and I had some knowledge of Ruby, so funny enough my personal choice would have been Ruby. But as it happens, one of the engineers in my team was actually very experienced in Python from a previous job, so strategically we thought it would be to our advantage to go with Python because we had an expert in the team. So I have to thank my teammate for getting me into Python!

I always approach the learning of new things through personal projects, so as soon as the decision to go with Python was made I started to play with the language at home just for fun. A few years after my initial introduction to the language I was thinking in starting a software blog and was having trouble finding a blogging platform that I liked, so I’ve got the idea of writing my own blog. By then the Python bindings we created at work were a success and Python had won me over 100%. So I naturally decided to use a Python web framework to make my blog, and looking through the available options I finally selected this minimalistic framework that at the time wasn’t that popular, called Flask. That turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

Thanks for doing the interview, Miguel!

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PyDev of the Week: Martin Uribe | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Martin Uribe | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Martin Uribe (@clamytoe) as our PyDev of the Week! Martin helps out at PyBites. You can find him on PyBite’s Slack channel answering lots of Python related questions. You can also find out what Martin is up to via his Github or LinkedIn profiles. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Martin better!

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

I’m 46 and happily married with 8 kids. Born and raised in South Central L.A. I joined the California National Guard while I was still in high school. I went to Basic Training between my 11th and 12th grades; came back and graduated with honors and was gone within the month for Advanced Initial Training where they taught me how to fix helicopter radios. After a couple of years I decided to enlisted full-time in the regular Army and did a stint for another 8 years in Automated Logistics and got an honorable discharge as a Sergeant in 2001.

Before getting out, I got in a semester of full-time college as part of a re-enlistment bonus. I loved it and I hit the books pretty hard. I was so pumped to learn that I pushed myself to continue to grow when I went back to work. As a result, I was able to get my MCSE, MCP+I and A+ certifications which allowed me to get into the role that I still hold as a Senior Field Engineer for Fidelity. I’m contracted out to one of our many customers, PNC Bank, at their Dallas lockbox location. The title has changed over the years but it entails a lot of hardware and software support. In case you don’t know, a lockbox is where everyone’s checks go for processing when they make a payment over snail mail. Everything gets imaged front and back and entered into the bank’s system and the banks customers can access their documents through a secure proxy connection immediately. The money transfers are made the next day once the checks have cleared. At the end of the month, the banks customers images are placed on encrypted CD’s or DVD’s and mailed out to them.

To blow some steam I like to play Minecraft with my kids, edit movies, play Beat Saber, take online courses, and do some Python coding.

Why did you start using Python?

While in the Army I got into the role of maintaining the 4th Infantry Division’s logistics database. Once I figured out that I could automate most of my work, I was hooked! I had this report that I had to generate daily. That thing was a beast and took several hours to put together. After doing it a couple of times, I decided to record a macro and the next time, it only took several minutes! I went from macros, to editing the VBScript code itself, to writing batch scripts on the NT servers. By the time that I left, the only I had to do was make sure the tape was in the tape drive for the nightly backups!

When I got into the role that I have now, it was a whole new ball game. Up to that point I was only familiar with Windows NT and Windows 95. I was plopped in front of a terminal on a FreeBSD network and told to take care of it! Trial by fire as they say! I soon got the hang of it and since our whole platform runs on Perl, I started to dabble a bit with that. Pretty soon I was writing Perl and shell scripts to make my job easier.

At this point of my life, I was into a bit of everything. From pentesting, web development, database management, to 3D modeling/rigging/animation. I even got certified as a Macromedia Flash Designer! Boy was I wrong for betting on that platform… My interests where so scattered that I was good at a lot of things, but not an expert at any of them. I finally got fed up and decided that it was time to stick to one thing and become really good at it.

While pentesting I had come across several Python scripts and I was impressed with how easy they were to read compared to Perl and how powerful they were. I decided Python would by my train and I hoped on without a second thought.

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

While taking some college courses I learned Java, but I didn’t like it much. I know enough of the following to get things done: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Perl, SQL, and BASH. Python is my favorite; I use it pretty much every day even though my job doesn’t require me to code

Thanks for doing the interview, Martin!

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PyDev of the Week: Vuyisile Ndlovu | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Vuyisile Ndlovu | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Vuyisile Ndlovu (@terrameijar) as our PyDev of the Week! Vuyisile is a contributor to Real Python and a Python blogger on his own website. He is also active in the Python community in Africa. You can find out more about Vuyisile on his website or by checking out his Github profile. Let’s take some time to get to know him better!

VuyisileNdlovu
This Week’s Subject: Vuyisile Ndlovu courtesy of Mike Driscoll

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

I’m a developer from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. I have always been fascinated by computers so after I completed High School, I enrolled for an I.T Diploma program at a local community college that had programming as part of the curriculum. Unfortunately, my situation changed and I couldn’t graduate in the end. I switched to teaching myself computer science topics and programming through online courses and books.

When I’m not working on code, I like to work on woodworking projects in the backyard and taking my dogs for regular walks. Doing this allows me to take a break from tech, be creative in different ways and also get some exercise.

Why did you start using Python?

I was a core contributor to the Mozilla project for a few years and one of the teams I worked with used Python extensively for automating their work. I liked how simple and intuitive Python looked so I started learning it. Compared to C++, which is what I was used to, the Python syntax was easier for me to understand and I loved that it could be used for Web Development, which is an area I have an interest in. As I learned more about the language, I realised that it has an amazing community and since then I’ve made a lot of friends from being a part of the Python community and this is one of the reasons that reinforced my desire to keep using Python.

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

I don’t have a favorite language yet because I haven’t been programming for a long time and I know that different languages are suited for different things. I’m learning JavaScript and back in college, I took C++ and Visual Basic classes. I teach programming classes at a High School using VB.Net because I find that using Visual Basic makes building GUIs in a Windows environment easy and the language is relatively simple to teach to beginners.

The work projects I work on are web projects and I enjoy using Python and Django to build those out.

Thanks for doing the interview, Vuyisile!

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PyDev of the Week: Joannah Nanjekye | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Joannah Nanjekye | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Joannah Nanjekye (@Captain_Joannah) as our PyDev of the Week! Joannah is a core developer of the Python programming language. She is also the author of Python 2 and 3 Compatibility. You can find out more about Joannah on here website. Let’s take a few moments to get to know her better!

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

I am Joannah Nanjekye, I live in Canada, Fredericton but I am originally from Uganda in East Africa. I am a CS grad and doing research related to Python in one of the Python IBM labs at UNB. I went to University in Uganda and Kenya where I studied Software Engineering at Makerere University and Aeronautical Engineering at Kenya Aeronautical College respectively. I am also the Author of Python 2 and 3 compatibility, a book published by Apress. I do not have any serious hobbies but I love flying aircraft. Very expensive hobby heh!!

Why did you start using Python?

I started to use Python because I had to in my first programming class in 2009. Like any CS class Python is simple but some professor decided to make the class so hard. After failing a few assignments in the course, I managed to read my first programming book cover to cover which was a Python book– how to think like a computer scientist and managed to pass my final exams. Nevertheless, my real significant use of Python was in 2012 where I worked on a Django project. I continue to use Python because of its simplicity that allows me to focus on solving the problem at hand.

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

I have good command and proficiency in Golang, Ruby and C. I would say my favourite would be C because I write more C code in general.

Thanks for doing the interview, Joannah!

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PyDev of the Week: David Fischer | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: David Fischer | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome David Fischer (@djfische) as our PyDev of the Week! David is an organizer of the San Diego Python user’s group. He also works for Read the Docs. You can see what David has been up to on his website or check out what he’s been up to on Github. Let’s take a few moments to get to know David better!

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

I am one of the organizers of the San Diego Python meetup and I’ve been doing that since early 2012, but my hobbies nowadays mostly involve spending time with my 3 year old daughter. I also really enjoy games of all kinds from in-person board and card games to computer games and my daughter is just about the right age to start introducing this stuff.

I have a bachelor’s degree in applied math and despite the name that involved a lot of programming. Mostly I learned Java in college which outside of some Android development I’ve barely used since.

For work, I previously worked at Qualcomm, Amazon, and a beer-tech related startup (how San Diego!). I currently work on Read the Docs. I’ve had the opportunity to work on lots of different things from web apps, mobile apps, technical sales/marketing, scalability, security, and privacy. I don’t want to rule out working for big companies, but the small company life seems like a better fit for me.

Perhaps this comes out of some of my security and privacy work, but I try not to participate much on social media. I was surprised to be contacted to do this interview because I think of myself as having a pretty low profile in the Python community outside of San Diego. I’m happy to do it, though.

Why did you start using Python?

I first learned Python in a college class where we had a project in a new programming language every 3 weeks or so. We also learned JavaScript, a Lisp-like language called ML, and Prolog. My opinions on programming weren’t very well formed back then but I remember really liking Python relative to the others. I think I was using Python 2.3 or maybe a 2.4 beta version. The Python docs were much more brightly colored back then.

I didn’t do any Python after that for around 4-5 years but I came back to it when I needed to create something that ended up like a bad version of mitmproxy (although mitmproxy didn’t exist yet). I really enjoyed working on that project and in Python and this is probably the only time this has happened to me but I remember looking up from my work and it was after midnight. I hadn’t eaten dinner and everybody else at work had gone home hours ago. I was hooked and I’ve been doing mostly Python ever since.

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

It’s been about a decade now, but I was a professional PHP developer for a few years. Sometimes, the language gets a bad reputation in the Python community but I always thought it was alright and it does have some areas the Python ecosystem could learn from. Today, I mostly work in Python with some JavaScript. Python is definitely my favorite.

Thanks for doing the interview, David!

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