Twenty Twenty-Two

Year in Review

So I have this blog here which doesn't get quite as much love as it should. But here we are, end of the year, and a perfect opportunity to look back and ask: What the hell just happened?

Validation

Early in February, I got an email from the Python Software Foundation (PSF) stating that my tutorial proposal had been accepted. I remember feeling a sense of excitement and extreme fear!

Tutorial Acceptance

It was my very first attempt at submitting any sort of proposal to any sort of conference, and it felt sort of like a fluke!

I buckled in and worked hard to build something of value that I could be proud of. Would I do a couple things differently in hindsight?

Of course.

But it still doesn't take away from the huge sense of honor I felt, as well as a little validation that the work I've put in to learning Python has been well-spent.

(My PyCon tutorial was titled Goodbye, "Hello, World." Hello, Functional FastAPI Web App!)

More recently, I was encouraged by Jay Miller to submit a proposal for DjangoCon US in San Diego, and that one was also accepted.

In spite of my trepidation speaking at an event dedicated to a topic I knew very little about, the experience was both humbling and inspiring.

My DjangoCon Talk

I know I'll continue having my insecurities about where I fit in the context of the larger developer community, but being considered as a valid voice in the context of these conferences has been a huge boost of encouragement for me.

Technical Achievements

When I built this site, I thought I might spend a little more focused time on the tech stack I used to build it, looking to hone my skills in some of the tools I chose to use.

Instead, I started a plethora of side projects, usually with the intent to learn a new tool. There are always a million other things to learn, but one tool that I really enjoyed learning was pdm.

When I started reading about Python dependency management tooling, it seemed like I was biting off more than I could chew, but being able to take a tool and use it (even if just scratching the surface) is very satisfying.

Also, I created my first pull-request and had it merged to a useful little library called jinja2-fragments, useful if you want to use htmx fragments in your web application. My contribution was adding support for FastAPI.

And lastly, for my DjangoCon talk in San Diego, I created a slide show web application using Django—a library I had never used before, which had always intimidated me.

It's proved to be pretty useful, so I plan to use it in the future.

People

One of the most fulfilling aspects of the past year has been getting to know people from the Python community. Although I followed some of them online, it wasn't until I had the opportunity to meet them in person that I was able to fully appreciate how awesome they are.

Taking a note from Jay Miller's Jaysies, I also want to point to a few people who made my last year very meaningful.

Loren Crary - I got a chance to meet Loren at PyCon US after I saw a tweet asking for help setting up the PSF booth. From the get-go, it was easy to see her passion and excitement and I must admit, it was quite contagious.

I could tell that she had been working tirelessly to represent the PSF to the PyCon community at large, and even though she was working hard, she still had time to be friendly and attentive.

If you're at the next PyCon. Volunteer! But also, go and meet Loren, she's awesome.

Loren (right) and Deb (left) Posing With Deb and Loren

Jay Miller - Okay, so I've mentioned him a couple of times already. When I met Jay IRL also at PyCon US, he was warm, welcoming, and encouraging right of the bat.

He prodded me to submit a talk to DjangoCon and we had the chance to catch up there as well.

Jay has a focus on inclusiveness and acceptance within a tech space that can sometimes feel hostile to newcomers or people on the outskirts. It was wonderful meeting up at DjangoCon, and hopefully we continue to connect into the future.

Jay (right) and Anthony (left) Posing with Anthony Shaw and Jay Miller

Eric Matthes - Meeting Eric at DjangCon was such an enlightening experience. I know that's an odd way to describe meeting someone, especially since we weren't meeting in a typical student/teacher kind of way.

But in addition to learning about his project, django-simpledeploy, I was also able to absorb a sense of calm from his friendly demeanor and sincere curiousity.

He is spending a lot of time into a library dedicated to beginners, or people who may not otherwise have time to learn a variety of deployment platforms. That should tell you about the kind of person he is, and how dedicated he is toward making Django (and Python) more accessible for everyone.

Selfie with Eric Selfie of Mario and Eric

Others - I also had the opportunity to meet a lot of other great folks in the community, both at PyCon and DjangoCon, so maybe I should do this more often!

Looking Forward

I never really considered myself a public speaker of any sort, but the I challenged myself this past year to jump out of my comfort zone.

What I have found is that this pushed me into the awesome Python community and forced me to focus on things I may not have spent much time thinking about/learning in the first place.

In that vein, I can say that I finished 2022 with a look into the future. I submitted proposals to a few CFPs, and all in areas that would push me from my comfort zone.

One thing I've come to understand recently is that there is no such thing as "I've arrived." There may be a lot of false starts along the way.

That's okay.

The important thing is to continue striving, starting over if needed, and embracing the challenges along the way.