This week we welcome Amit Saha as our PyDev of the Week! Amit is the author of Doing Math with Python and Write Your First Program. Let’s take some time to get to know Amit better!
Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):
I am a software engineer (currently part of the API team at Freelancer.com, Sydney, Australia), doing mostly software development for backend services. I also take a keen interest in infrastructure that houses those services and trying to learn as much as I can about server configuration and management, monitoring and all things related. I love writing on various programming and Linux topics and my writings have been published in various Linux magazines and my second book “Doing Math with Python” came out recently.
Why did you start using Python?
I started learning Python (around 2005-2006) because I was curious about this “new” language. Funnily, I really wrote serious Python and learned a lot of what I know today only starting 2012 when I participated in the Google Summer of Code and subsequently joined Red Hat in Brisbane to work on the Beaker project. I love it, which is not a surprise.
What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?
I know C, a bit of C++, and for the past couple of months, programming in PHP in addition to Python. I am trying to learn Golang, but I think Python is my favourite so far because if I have an idea, Python allows me to implement it without standing in my way. I would have loved to write more Bash, but the syntax and quirks stands in my way.
What projects are you working on now?
I am responsible for Fedora Scientific and try to explore and learn various things (Linux containers, Web applications, etc) while working on my articles. I am also looking forward to the reviews of “Doing Math with Python” and think of new articles/posts that readers may find useful post reading the book.
Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)?
As a result of SymPy forming a core part of few chapters in “Doing Math with Python”, I think it has become a top favourite Python package of mine. Besides that, Flask and SQLAlchemy are two go-to packages when I want to write a web app and/or interact with databases and Sphinx of course for documentation. More recently, hypothesis and testinfra has caught my attention and I would want to play with them more.
Among the standard library modules, I find the “collections” module awesome and all the modules in the Numeric and Mathematical Modules section.
Why did you decide to write a book about Python?
My main goal in writing “Doing Math with Python” was to be a source for students/teachers in middle/high school to combine Python programming (which is already being introduced for first time programmers) and high school Math. This is basically for the students who may be wondering – “Why should I learn programming?” and tell them that programming can give moments that science experiments in laboratories can. To almost paraphrase what I wrote in the book’s introduction, some programs students write in the book will just be advanced calculators, but some programs will allow exploring things which would be impossible to do otherwise (like drawing fractals).
Is there anything else youâ€™d like to say?
A big thanks to all the amazing people involved in the Python ecosystem. Also, thank you Mike for the opportunity to be a part of your interview series.
Thanks so much!
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