Hi, I’m Matt Harrison. I’ve been nominated for the Python Steering Council by Raymond Hettinger.
You may have heard me on a Python podcast, attended one of my tutorials at PyCon, or on Twitter.
I’m not a core developer. What can I offer to the steering council? One of my favorite movies growing up was Tron. This is a silly movie, not as silly as Monty Python, but it is a movie in which the protagonist is sucked into a computer. They meet Tron, another character who claims he “fights for the user". You can think of me as the “Tron” candidate. I fight for the Python user.
In my professional capacity, I sell snake oil… not literally, but I teach people how to use Python and how to be an effective developer or data scientist by leveraging Python and some of the over 250,000 packages you can leverage on the platform.
I realize I come from a position of privilege, and I hope to give back to the community and ecosystem that has given so much to me. I studied and worked in Silicon Valley for almost 10 years. During that time, I started using Python and haven’t looked back.
That was over 20 years ago. Since then, Python has transitioned from being a secret weapon for startups to being the goto language used across enterprises for many domains. I have worked as a full stack developer doing “data science” from small startups to larger companies during that time. I’ve written many books on Python and data science, spoken and taught at many conferences, and have transitioned into running my own company providing consulting and training around Python and Data Science.
One of the mandates of the steering council is to “Maintain the quality and stability of the Python language and CPython interpreter”.
I have a vested interest in doing this as my professional work revolves around helping others leverage Python professionally.
Another mandate is to “Make contributing as accessible, inclusive, and sustainable as possible.”
I realize that contribution is more than code. I ran the Python User Group in Utah for five years and understand that while code is important, there is a lot of work behind the scenes that goes into community building.
I also have a daughter who is currently studying CS. I want her to be able to enjoy computing communities that are accessible and inclusive, be they inside of Python or otherwise.
I lived in Colombia during the 90’s for a few years, which opened my eyes to the world at large. In the past few years I’ve been able to attend PyCon in Colombia. Endowing individuals with technology and the skills to leverage said technology is one way to empower others. I would want to ensure that the council is not only concerned with professional users located in Silicon Valley, but also practitioners and students from around the world.
My first computer was a Commodore 64. My brother and I would read off Basic code from Compute! magazine. It was eye-opening to create something out of nothing. I want to preserve that magic for others and I think Python is a great tool for that. I’ve worked with my local elementary school to teach students basic Programming and Data Science.
When we learned programming in school, we leveraged tools like Logo. I’ve tried to provide a similar experience for learners by teaching them Python using the turtle module. The students could create triangles and shapes. To make this even more real, I adapted a library for programming a drone and students were able to take their turtle code, change an import, and to fly a drone instead of drawing a line. Watching students grasp concepts by seeing it live was awesome. I want to enable educators to have similar experiences. Supporting educators is essential to the vitality and growth of the language.
I hope you will consider me as a steering council member that will represent the users and the future ==of the Python language.
Thanks Raymond for your nomination, I respect and admire your work.
To the Python Core developers thank you for your consideration.
Matt Harrison (@mharrison)