PyDev of the Week: Leodanis Pozo Ramos

This week we welcome Leodanis Pozo Ramos (@lpozo78) as our PyDev of the Week! Leodanis is a contributor and author for Real Python. You can see some of his projects over on Github or see what he’s up to on his own website.

Let’s spend a few moments getting to know Leodanis better!

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

I’m an Industrial Engineer based in Holguín, Cuba. I also have a Master’s Degree in Quality Assurance. When I graduated from university, I started working in the oil and energy industry. I worked as a Machinery Lubrication Engineer for about 10 years.

In 2014, I decided to change my career and become a programmer. Then I started to learn Python, which is my first programming language.

When I worked as a Machinery Lubrication Engineer, my main hobby was to seat in front of my computer and learn to do things. I learned to use Windows, Linux, I learned to program, and so on.

I also used to maintain a blog about Python. Unfortunately, that blog is no longer available. Now that I work with computers all the time, I think I really need a new hobby.

Why did you start using Python?

I’ve been in love with computers since I used the first one when I started university. It was 1999 and I was 21 years old when I first used a computer. So, you can imagine that my career as a developer is quite different from a traditional programming career in the US or in any other developed country.

In the university, I used Delphi, which was based on the Object Pascal programming language, to build some applications for my programming class. I tried to learn C/C++ by that time, but since I wasn’t studying CS, I haven’t enough time to learn to program with those languages.

Back in 2010, I discovered Linux (Ubuntu 10.04) for the first time. That was an amazing discovery for me. I learned a ton and with time I totally removed Windows from my machine. In 2013, I started using Bash to create scripts and automate things. That was really fun for me, I realized that I totally loved programming.

At this point, I decided to learn another programming language. I tried to learn Java but it was so complicated for me that I quit. Then a friend from the Cuban Free Software Community gave me some Python books and tutorials and I started reading them. Python was so easy to learn and understand that I never looked back. That was in the summer of 2014.

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

Basically, I consider that I just know the basics of Python. Learning a programming language in-depth can take a lot of time and if you’re learning the fundamentals of programming at the same time… then you have a lot of work on your plate. So, I can say that Python is my favorite but also my only programming language.

What projects are you working on now?

My most important project right now is to write technical content for Real Python. Basically, I write tutorials on different Python topics to help people learn how to use the language.

I also have some unfinished Open Source projects on my GitHub account but I don’t really think that those projects mean so much. Most of those projects are just experiments that I’ve carried out to learn new things in Python.

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

From the standard library, I use collections, functools, pathlib, sqlite3, csv, argparse, itertools, and a lot more on a regular basis.

In the case of third-party libraries, I use PyQt5 to build GUI applications. I also use pytest to write and run my tests. I think that Python’s ecosystem is so amazing, you have Django, Flask, FastAPI, requests, Beautiful Soup, pandas, NumPy, and a lot more. It’s just a matter of choosing the right tool for the job you’re doing right now.

How did you get started at Real Python?

Back in 2018, I was a regular reader of Real Python because of the quality of their content. I totally loved the site since my first visit. I joined the Real Python Newsletter to keep up to date with their content through my email.

In November 2018, I got an issue of the newsletter. I don’t really know why, but I read that email from top to bottom. At the end of the email, I read that Dan Bader was looking for talented authors to join the Real Python team and I applied immediately. I have to say that I always thought they wouldn’t hire me but I had nothing to lose.

By that time, I had a personal blog about Python, so I provided some links to articles on that blog as a writing sample. The blog was written in Spanish. Luckily, the Executive Editor of Real Python, Joanna Jablonski used to do translation works and knew how to read Spanish.

A few days later, I got an email from Joanna inviting me to write a pilot article for them. If they liked the article, then they would publish it and I would have a new freelance job.

I wrote an article called How to Run Your Python Scripts and they accepted it. The article was published on February 18, 2019. After that, I continued writing articles for them regularly. At the time of this interview, I have published 15 articles with Real Python and I feel very happy about being part of the team.

I would like to thank Dan, Joanna, and the rest of the Real Python team. They’re really great people and it’s always a pleasure to work with them all.

What are the top three things you’ve learned as a tutorial author?

As a tutorial author, I’ve learned that:

  • Writing tutorials is hard and challenging but rewarding
  • You’ll learn a lot by writing tutorials and trying to teach others
  • When you’re writing, try to cover the topic in-depth, your readers will appreciate it

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Yes, I’d like to say some words mainly to self-taught developers and to people that come from a different career or background.

As I said before, I am a self-taught Python developer. I’m 42 years old right now and I started learning Python six years ago. I saw the first computer when I was 21 and got connected to the Internet when I was 35. The moral behind all this is that, if you really love programming, then I’m sure you’ll find out a way to continue learning.

Thanks for doing the interview, Leodanis!