This week we welcome Brianna Laugher as our PyDev of the Week! Brianna is the organizer behind her local PyLadies chapter in Australia. She has a very interesting website that displays her work. You might also find her Github profile illuminating. Let’s take some time getting to know our fellow Pythonista better!
Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):
I’m a software developer living in Melbourne, Australia. I like cycling, linguistics, free software, feminism, board games, film festivals. I’ve found I need to take care to regularly exercise otherwise spending all my time at a computer makes me sore and grumpy – the last couple of years I did triathlon, at the moment it’s yoga and pilates.
I’m quite a “joiner”, so since university I’ve been involved in several online and offline tech communities, and been lucky enough to see a good many cities around the world by way of conference attendance.
While I was at high school, the WWW started to be a thing. I taught myself basic HTML and CSS so I could make X-Files fan sites. I did a programming class in high school, but I had kind of romantic ideas about mathematics. At university I did a BA/BSc with Mandarin and mathematics, and filled in the gaps with some linguistics and computer science. (And a lot of no-credit Wikipedia editing.) Over 5 years I slowly realised the programming was a better idea than the maths. When I was finished I wasn’t sure what to do, so I started an Honours year, but at the end of first semester I panic-procrastinated and failed a subject and left.
I was extremely lucky to hear about a job from a friend, for a small company doing R&D in rules-based machine translation. (This is probably a quaint idea now.) I worked for a couple of years using Prolog to encode the grammar of the language Tagalog. After that I worked at the Bureau of Meteorology on natural language generation. I used Python to automatically convert weather-related statistics to brief English descriptions.
That project ended in 2014. I had been learning Spanish for a few years and I was keen to put it into practice, so I took part in a program called ‘Auxiliares de Conversación’, where native English speakers can work as assistants to English teachers in schools in Spain, for a stipend. It was an amazing experience and I loved the ability to ‘hop over’ to Brussels in a mere two hour flight! I was there for 10 months.
Now I am working at Planet Innovation, a consultancy focused on product development and commercialization. I’m using Python to work on web software that talks to medical devices.