PyDev of the Week: Kevin Thomas

This week we welcome Kevin Thomas (@mytechnotalent) as our PyDev of the Week. Kevin is the author of Python for Kids, which is "a comprehensive and FREE Online Python Development course FOR KIDS utilizing an official BBC micro:bit Development Board".

Let's spend some time getting to know Kevin better!

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

My background is non-technical and I am originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and began programming as a kid. I ran a Commodore 64 Bulletin Board where people would dial-in through the phone. Originally I programmed in the C language and Assembly Language for the x86 platform. Today I am a Senior Software Engineer in Test and program Automation Frameworks in Python.

Why did you start using Python?

I started using Python a few years ago while learning Automation and today I am a Senior Software Engineer in Test and program Automation Frameworks in Python.

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

C, ARM Assembly, x64 Assembly, x86 Assembly and Python. Python is my choice as it can do the tasks literally 1/10 of the time.

What projects are you working on now?

Python For Kids - http://minipython.org

Goals

  • Help non-technical educators to learn micro:bit Python programming with ten short and simple lesson plans.
  • Allow those non-technical educators to take what they just learned and pay it forward and teach those very same ten lessons to their students and expand the footprint of the next generation of makers to a non-technical audience.
  • Teach the Mu IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to easily develop software on the micro:bit.
  • Teach the MiniPython Friend API to allow non-technical educators to customize it for their own teaching curriculum and allow a simple interactive chatbot functionality to introduce to their students.
  • Teach non-technical educators how to create very simple Python modules (programs) that they can integrate with MiniPython on the micro:bit and develop into custom firmware which they can distribute to their students in bulk helping integration into their lesson plans.
  • Provide an active fork for technical questions related to micro:bit Python programming in the Issues section of this repo.

What MiniPython Is NOT

  • A replacement for MicroPython.
  • A replacement for the original BBC micro:bit port of MicroPython.
  • A replacement for CircuitPython.

Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)? Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Ansible - Automation (Professionally)

How did you get into MicroPython?

In 2019 the number of active IoT devices reached 26.66 billion. Every second there are 127 new IoT devices that are connected to the web and this year the exceeds 31 billion in total. Next year experts anticipate over 35 billion. MicroPython is the revolution that will allow more Engineers to solve life-critical challenges in ways never before. I have a library to help MicroPython and CircuitPython be more secure if that was the goal.

https://github.com/mytechnotalent/MicroPython_Frozen_Boot_No_REPL

Why MicroPython versus CircuitPython or some other programming language?

They both serve their purposes well and are leading to the largest revolution in history. There are a lot of CP tutorials out there and my next step is to make a comprehensive Python course and tie it to MicroPython as there are not as many tutorials thus far.

Thanks for doing the interview, Kevin!

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