NYC Tech Events: TestBashNY

— Load Impact is constantly on the hunt for the best meetups and conferences around New York City. In this new blog series, NYC Tech Events, we talk about some of the tech-focused events around the city that feature great speakers and promote the sharing of ideas from professionals and hobbyists of all skill levels.

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NYC Tech Events: PyGotham

— Load Impact is constantly on the hunt for the best meetups and conferences around New York City. In this new blog series, NYC Tech Events, we talk about some of the developer-focused events around the city that feature great speakers and promote the sharing of ideas from professionals of all skill levels.

The origins of Python date back to 1991, and the language has been widely adopted ever since thanks to passionate developers and people like the team at Big Apple Py.

One of the group’s most successful events is the annual PyGotham, which takes place Aug. 15-16 in New York’s AMA Executive Conference Center.

PyGotham brings the city’s Python community together to share their projects, learn more about the language they love and find potential career opportunities.

Celia La is a board member at Big Apple Py and co-organizer of PyGotham. She says people can accomplish a lot of things at PyGotham and other Python events. It just depends on what people are looking to find.

“A lot of it is helping people have the courage to stand up and talk about what they’re working on in front of a group,” Celia said. “We just want to give Python developers a place to come and connect with like-minded people.”

While a lot of meetups talk about networking and recruiting as a core function, Big Apple Py’s events: PyGotham, NYC Python Meetup and Flask-NYC have shown Celia and the other founders proof their events are connecting people.

That’s because both Celia and co-founder Paul Logston found their current jobs through Python events.

Another benefit the founders have seen is the feeling of inclusion among a diverse group of developers. Celia pointed out the demographic of the events are typically very mixed, and she pointed out having a woman on the organization's board of directors could have something to do with that.

If you’re looking to share, learn or search for a career that will utilize your Python skills, you can register for PyGotham here.

Here are a few talks that stood out to us:

Building Tools for Social Good

Eric Schles is a senior analyst in the human trafficking response unit within the New York County’s district attorney’s office. In this presentation, Eric will talk about the growing use of data science and tool-building that can help save people’s lives.

An Iterative Approach to Inverse Problems Using Python’s Numpy

In this talk by Katya Vasilaky, who has a PhD in economics from Columbia, is about improving past algorithms that focused on inverse problems in math, data science, image processing and tomography.

Docker Containers in the Cloud: Provider DeathMatch

Jeff Uthaichai is here to help developers determine which container provider is ing of the Python world. There’s no doubt containers have been eating the development world the last two years, so you know there are plenty of options out there to choose from. If this presentation is half as fun as its name, it will definitely be worth attending.

Teaching Python in Middle School

People often debate when and how children should learn to code — because it’s hardly a question of “if they should” anymore. Meg Winston Ray, a computer science teacher at Bronx Compass High School, uses this presentation to make the case for middle schoolers to learn Python. And bring your computer, class. Meg expects you to contribute to this collaborative session.

Fun fact: The programming language Python is named after the cult-classic comedy series, “Monty Python.” That’s because Guido van Rossum, Python’s author, was reading original scripts from Monty Python when he developed the programming language.

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Velocity NY Speaker Preview: Bryan Liles of DigitalOcean

— This is Part 1 of Load Impact’s Velocity NY Preview Series. Load Impact is chatting with some of the cutting-edge developers and executives who will be speaking at Velocity NY Oct. 12-14.

Bryan Liles of DigitalOcean isn’t looking to solve the diversity and inclusion problem in tech, but he knows he can leave the industry better than he found it.

Bryan’s Velocity keynote, The Darker Side of Tech, will explore the cognitive biases that prevent people from trying new software or new development processes and hiring from a more diverse pool of employees and executives.

“People’s biases are not allowing them to see the problems they are causing,” Bryan said. “It’s not just about diversity — it’s about inclusion.”

The problem of inclusion in tech (and many other industries) is systemic in the United States. It started with hundreds of years of people not getting opportunities based on race, religion and economic standing.

Bryan’s presentation at Velocity will relate operating system bias to racial bias — not something people might expect — but it makes perfect sense after brief examination.

As an example of how bias can hinder technical progress, Bryan will point to the genesis of Linux and how decision-makers’ bias blinded them from something amazing for years. While its beginnings are traced back to 1991, it took nearly two decades for many mainstream companies to understand the power and security of Linux and implement it.

As Jeffrey Hammond of Forrester Research said in 2010, “Linux has crossed the chasm into mainstream adoption.”

But why did it take so long for people to see the light on Linux, and how will Bryan compare that to inclusion in tech?

“People only know what they know, and we’re missing out on extremely smart people when our biases get in the way,” Bryan said.

So, it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about adopting Linux or hiring someone from an “urban” area with a “black” or “ethnic” name. Either way, decision-makers hurt their company by not giving every option and candidate a fair chance to succeed — even if they don’t know they’re doing it.

One of the barriers Bryan has encountered when giving this kind of presentation is it can make people uncomfortable, which is somewhat understandable. However, he knows that’s not a good reason to shy away from talking about it. Bryan’s seen plenty of people shuffle for the door when he’s started to make points about inclusion in previous talks, and that doesn’t help anybody.

“Whenever I’m saying this, I’m not saying that you personally are a racist,” Bryan said. “I’m saying the people who benefit from this aren’t doing enough to make it better.”

One of the promising things we’re seeing is technology has become more available for a wider demographic, and Bryan noted that can help break down some of the barriers people have to entering the tech industry.

Even then, it’s important to consider that schools like Stanford, MIT and Carnegie Mellon are incredibly expensive and still aren’t reasonably available for everyone. So, the deep roots of the problem will take time to remove.

Bryan is adamant that a couple of keynotes and editorials aren’t going to fix the problem, but again, he doesn’t want us to “solve” anything right now.

“All we need to think about is a bunch of little wins,” he said. “If we can make it better for this guy, or this girl, and they can pay it forward, we’ll be better off than we once were, and that’s all I’m trying to do.”

“I just want to leave the things I touched better off than how I found them.”

— Check out Bryan’s keynote and many more at Velocity NY. Use this coupon code — RAGNAR20 — for 20 percent off your pass. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

Contact us anytime on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn and let us know if you’re attending Velocity. We’re always happy to meet up and chat.

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