PyDev of the Week: Débora Azevedo

This week we welcome Débora Azevedo (@pydebb) as our PyDev of the Week! Débora is active in the PyLadies and DjangoGirls groups as well as teaching Python at PyLadies workshops. Let's spend some time getting to know her better!

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

I’m an educator. I love teaching, and I’m working now as an English teacher in my state’s public network. But I have also taught Python in some PyLadies workshops. I’m doing my master’s degree in Innovation in Educational Technologies. For the past months, I’ve been working on developing educational software to assist deaf children in their literacy process from a bilingual perspective, considering that here in Brazil they learn Brazilian Sign Language and also written Portuguese. In my free time, I like to invest in the community (which has invested so much in me). From meetings online to translating blog posts and managing social media profiles, one thing worth pointing out about me is the involvement in the Python community here in Brazil, especially with PyLadies Brazil, which I contribute the most to. My most beloved hobbies are reading (love both Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), playing guitar and singing. I also write sporadically in my blog (in Portuguese).

Why did you start using Python?

Well, that’s a funny story. I started using Python when I was in my Computer Networking technical course. I remember that, back then, I chose to do this specific course because I thought there would be no programming involved. In this course, we had 3 programming classes, and all of them were taught in Python! We studied structured programming, object-oriented programming, and web development with Django. It was a milestone for me, especially with all the difficult background I had with programming. During high school, I went through a mix of not having a computer, writing Java code in my notebook, and wanting to break the school’s computer down whenever I saw something was not compiling. With Python, there were no traumas, no hard feelings. Python showed me I could actually build things, I was capable. It was extremely empowering.

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

When I first started to learn to code in high school, we used a language called Portugol, which had their commands and reserved keywords in Portuguese, and then some Java. At the university, I got to learn some C and C++. Of course I'm not a master in any of these languages but my favorite is definitely Python.

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

I loooooove Turtle graphics! When I had my first Python classes, my teacher used to teach us how to make geometric shapes with the turtle library and it was so much fun. Turtle was part of the original Logo programming language, and it is also implemented with Python in its latest version. It’s a very popular way to introduce programming to kids.

What projects are you working on now?

My main project right now is the development of my master’s educacional software. I’ve been working from the conception, pedagogical approach, designing the screens, interactions, and (haven’t started this part yet) writing the code. Apart from that, I do a lot of open source projects, especially with the PyLadies community. Lately, I’ve been serving as part of the PyLadies Global interim group, trying to figure things out for the first PyLadies global council election, doing outreach with localing the website and participating in some lives. Regarding PyLadies in Brazil, I’m currently helping with the communications team, and also the Python study group we are trying to start (in a national level due to the pandemic)

What do you like best about the PyLadies and Django Girls groups?

I could spend hours talking about the importance of being part of a community such as PyLadies and Django Girls. But what I like the most about it is the sense of belonging I feel about being a member of these communities. Your background, your experiences, your area of study, they are all enriching to the construction of our community. Having diverse people, in all sorts of ways, is what makes being part of a community so fulfilling. It’s a matter of knowing we have a voice to be heard and a safe space to occupy. And I say that being a person that doesn’t work with software development for living. For a long time, I myself felt that the space I was occupying was not for me. But at the same time, I was in events, I was organizing meetups, I was giving talks about the community. What was missing? Me realizing that my background is just a piece of who I am, and sharing the same vision tons of other women share regarding PyLadies, is enough.

How did you get into doing translations for the PSF?

I do some freelance work as a translator, translating scientific articles, and doing simultaneous translation as well. So if I do that for living, it was something I felt comfortable doing in order to contribute to the community as well. Living in Brazil, I can see that a huge part of the population doesn’t know English. Therefore, this work is extremely important to help people to have access to information about the PSF and about Python itself. I’ve translated a Python survey for the PSF, the PyLadies election website into Portuguese (link) and I’m also part of a group that works in the internationalization of Python’s official documentation. For this last part, we have a strong group of translators doing this work. If you know Portuguese (this) is the link to our group on Telegram we use to communicate among ourselves.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I can say that being part of the Python community literally changed my life. I took me to places I never thought I would go, to spread the word about PyLadies. I love Bret Cannon’s quote: “Come for the language, stay for the community”. I first came to know the language, use it for school projects. Now I’m working on a national and global level in order to make other people have the same heart-warming feeling of belonging I have. So if you have the chance to do something, do invest a little of your time in the community. You have no idea of the impact it can have in someone’s life.

Thanks for doing the interview, Débora!

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