PyDev of the Week: Lynn Root

This week we welcome Lynn Root (@roguelynn) as our PyDev of the Week! Lynn is an organizer for PyLadies and PyCon 2017. She was doing some of the master of ceremonies duties when I was attending PyCon this year.  She is also a speaker at various Python Conferences including Pycon, EuroPython, and DjangoCon, among others. You can see what she’s up to over on her website. Let’s take some time getting to know her better!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

I have a bachelors degree in business, focusing on economics and finance. But I got sick of Excel spreadsheets and learned to code instead.

I work at Spotify in New York as a Site Reliability Engineer, which basically means I either break our entire service, or get paged to fix it when others do. In actuality, an SRE at Spotify means backend development for infrastructure, writing & maintaining services that others use daily. I also evangelize Free and Open Source Software internally and help fellow engineers release their projects.

Work and programming in general is a big part of my life, but outside of that, I dabble in watercolor painting, knitting, and swimming.

Why did you start using Python?

I didn’t really choose to use Python; it sort of fell onto my lap as I was starting out. I was learning to code in 2011 through Harvard’s CS50 class where the majority of assignments were in C, maybe a little of PHP. It was horrific. But then I went to a local hackathon where folks were writing Python. It blew my mind! I could understand it!

The rest of my learnings were focused in Python, which got me involved in PyLadies and the Python community at large. I wanted to learn to program, not necessarily learn a particular language. But I really lucked out that the language happened to come with a supportive and inclusive community.

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

My team and I joke around that we’re actually JavaScript SREs; we find ourselves writing UIs for our products more often than we’d like.

Despite learning C & PHP from Harvard, I wouldn’t say I know it. I’ve picked up bits and pieces of Java and Ruby from current and previous jobs. Being an SRE has forced more Bash knowledge onto me than I would have normally sought out. I’ve been briefly exposed to Rust, which has piqued some interest for future side projects.

The next language I learn deeply will most likely be Golang with our heavy use of Docker and the growing general popularity of Kubernetes.

What projects are you working on now?

Right now, I’m leading a project that will effectively change our entire DNS infrastructure at Spotify. We are just starting development of an event-driven DNS service that sits in front of a cloud DNS providers, the first being Google Cloud DNS. I’m super excited about this project because it’s the first my team is developing in the open from the start.

Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)?

There are a few that I use regularly that I don’t give much thought to, but couldn’t live without: pytesttox, and coverageattrsis an under-appreciated library that makes my life easier when writing and designing software. I have a lot of fun with scapy; more for side projects than anything. And I absolutely love Jupyter – I wish I had more occasions to use it.

My team and I use Pyramid for larger API-based web services, and Flask for smaller ones. We’ve started using Click for our CLI-tools, moving away from argh just due to preference. I love asyncio, which was the “nail in the coffin” for Python 2.7 on our team (finally!!1!).

Where do you see Python going as a programming language?

I think Python will only continue to grow in popularity in the data & academic world. But in terms of infrastructure, web development, and services in general, I fear it’s losing its popularity to faster, typed languages like Golang. But that doesn’t make it any less important or popular in my heart!

What impact are you seeing PyLadies bring to the Python community?

In 2015, I did a quick and dirty look at how the advent of PyLadies has positively affected the community on a local level. Then if you take a look at the increasing number of women speaking and attending Python conferences, I can’t help but think that PyLadies had something to do with that.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Write tests and documentation. Always use a VPN. And don’t look at your computer on the weekends.

Thanks for doing the interview!

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