Thinking about going to PyCon for 2013? Here are arguments to make for yourself and/or for your employer to go to PyCon this year.
Because you’re new to Python
This year’s PyCon is all about education. The Program Committee is making an effort to include talks that cover all levels of experience; this includes talks, tutorials, and posters. Need I remind you, the conference’s tag line is:
Change the future - education, outreach, politeness, respect, tenacity and vision
Beginners will probably get more benefit from tutorials than talks, and it’s perfectly okay to just sign up for tutorials. If you’re hesitant, take a look at 2012’s schedule. If there are even a couple of talks that seem interesting to you, you can be certain that similar subject matters will be spoken about for 2013. I also want to point out that talks and tutorials, while key to the conference, do not make the whole conference. Spending hours in the Exhibit hall, talking to companies that use Python, learning about community outreach programs or open source projects are what makes the most out of a PyCon experience. Many companies will be recruiting, and perhaps that is intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. Talk to them about the steps it takes to succeed at their company; find out what they’re looking for in an engineer. This information can help you set goals for what you want to get out of learning Python.
Because you’re a veteran to Python
There will be plenty of talks & tutorials on the other side of the spectrum: intermediate, advanced, and extreme/deep dive. Python is ever evolving, always improving, so best not to quit learning. There will be many challenging subjects spoken about, brilliant people holding conversations over their posters or post-talk/tutorial. Not to mention sprints. Either join with the core language, or other Python projects that interest you. Or perhaps this will give you the time and focus to code out that project you’ve always had on your todo list.
You’re convinced, but your employer might not be
It’s cheap. Tutorials are $150/200 each (early bird/on site) for 3 ½-4 hours of intense learning. The conference is $450/$600/$700 (corporate prices, early bird/regular/on site). Comparatively, these huge conferences often go for far more than that. You will learn more in 9 days of tutorials, talks, and sprints than a year of reading books. Not only will you be exposed to trends, new technologies and ideas not yet written about, you have the opportunity to talk with other Python devs. Another company had the same deployment issues you folks are having? What about managing real time data? The hall way track presents many opportunities to have those conversations and knowledge transfers.
A relavent tweet to part on:
CFO to CEO: What happens if we invest in developing our people & then they leave the company? CEO: What happens if we don’t and they stay? — Christina Haxton (@ChristinaHaxton) September 29, 2012