This past weekend, PyTennessee 2016 was held at the Nashville School of Law. It’s one of Nashville’s top tech conferences of the year, with over 400 people in attendance- some of them traveling from California, Oregon
and even Washington State. Jason Myers, Denise Myers and William Golden have built this conference for the last three years, and never fail to provide excellent learning and outreach opportunities.
Outreach from PyTennessee was twofold- the organizers, in tandem with keynote speaker Lars Lohn (who provided the art), held an art auction to support PyLadies, a branch of the Python Community whose mission is to teach women and girls how to code in Python. PyTenn also held their annual Young Coders Conference, where students learned how to import & manipulate modules. They were also each given a brand new Chromebook to take home!
I considered this year’s keynote speakers to be “world class”. The initial keynote was from Lars Lohn, a major architect for Mozilla. In his speech, he blended together baroque music, learning to ride a Motorcycle, the parallels between software, nature & Calculus, and the impact teachers can have. He is a true story-telling artist! We were also able to hear from Katie Cunningham, a Python & Open Source education activist, as well as several other excellent speakers.
It’s not just the learning aspect that sets this conference apart from others. PyTenn creates a warm & welcoming environment for women and families. The opening remarks by Jason Myers focused on the PyTennessee Code of Conduct. He let attendees know that if the Code was violated by anyone, they could face immediate expulsion from the conference. By doing so, he created a safe environment for our female creatives in attendance. It was refreshing to see the support for our female coders and programmers.
PyTenn was also able to demonstrate community support through the auction and Young Coders conferences. Their care for families even spilled over to the after party, hosted by Emma, where conference attendees were able to enjoy board games, pizza and root beer floats. There were also old school video games, Jinga, Catan, Corn Hole & more.
The Python community in Middle Tennessee is a treasure. They create educational opportunities and support accessibility for their members and the greater community. This conference is a delight to attend, and I’m already looking forward to next year.