PyDev of the Month: Peter Damoc

This week we welcome Peter Damoc as our PyDev of the Week! I first came across some of Peter’s work in the wxPython source code. Let’s spend some time getting to know him better!

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

I’m 39 and I’m the oldest of five. I have three sisters and a brother that’s 20 years younger than me. I finished BioMedical Engineering with a degree in BioInstrumentation and most of my working experience has been in a plastic surgery clinic. I’ve used Python to implement a distributed patient management software for internal use and a series of softwares for breast implants selection, the most famous of them being BioDynamic Breast Analysis which got distributed internationally by Allergan. For the past 4 years I’ve been in an extended sabbatical exploring a career in coaching and training. My main hobby for the past 3 years has been Argentine Tango.

Why did you start using Python?

When I started with the plastic surgery clinic, I inherited a huge photo database organised together with some text files in folders. I very quickly grew tired of hunting for patient files and decided to automate the process. I kept hearing about Python and decided to give it a try. I was instantly hooked by the lack of compilation (it was my first scripting language) and immediate feedback.

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

I learned Basic, Pascal, xBase and C in high school and I did my university thesis in C++. I’ve worked in Java for a while around 2002-2003. For more than a decade, Python has been my go to language but in the last few years I’ve become very curious about functional programming and after a failed attempt at learning Haskell I ended up learning Elm. Elm is a very young but lovely functional reactive programming language that compiles to JavaScript and that I think will become a very well known tool in the years to come. Elm is my favorite language right now.

What projects are you working on now?

My last Python project was a Dash docset generator for the Elm documentation. My current plans are to expand the Elm Challenges project that I did when I decided to learn Elm and to create a system that will help me teach programming to kids. 


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

wxPython was what I used to implement the UIs of all my GUI projects. I am forever grateful to Robin Dunn (its main maintainer) for all the effort he put into that community. 

sqlite3 is the best way to store information for a program locally. I’ve learned this the hard way going through various inefficient alternatives. Once I switch to it, my life became way, way more easier with local data. Now, if I my programs need to remember anything between executions, sqlite is always the tool used.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Learning is fun at any age. It doesn’t matter if you’re 6 or 66 you will always be able to learn new skills and build new things and that’s very cool. Most of the work done by man becomes digital and so, I think it makes sense to invest one’s learning in this area but remember, if it’s not fun it’s not sustainable so, make your learning fun. I would like to end with a few resources that I wished someone would have given me back when I started learning to program.

1. Mindstorms by Seymour Papert – I wish more people learned about Seymour. At least watch Seymour Papert — inventor of everything TEDTalk.

2. Code by Steven Petzold – It demystifies the internal workings of the computer in a very accessible way. 

3. Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. I’ve watched these 20 videos way, way to late in my career. Mind opening stuff there.

4. Simple Made Easy by Rich Hickey. This is one of my favourite technical talks.

5. The work of Bret Victor, especially his essays but also the fun stuff like The Future of Programming.

Thanks so much!