PyDev of the Week: Martha Teye

This week we welcome Martha Teye (@teye_martha) as our PyDev of the Week! Martha talks about her first big Python project in this YouTube video where she creates a chat bot. You can connect with Martha on LinkedIn.

Martha Teye

Let’s spend some time getting to know Martha better!

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

I am Martha Teye, a final year MSc Computer Science student at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Prior to that, I had a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Energy and Natural Resources.

I am also a software developer with two years of work experience. Outside of work, I love volunteering to teach young people (especially females) computer programming.

Why did you start using Python?

During my third-year internship program (in 2017), I had the opportunity to intern with the High-Performance Computing Lab at the Earth Observation Research and Innovation center (EORIC) in Ghana. Part of my tasks was to understand data manipulation and visualization and how such techniques could be used to analyze real-time data. That was when I first learned to code in python. I had to learn the basics and python and some introductory data science and data visualization techniques.

After the internship, I decided to explore with basic data science and machine learning projects during my free time I gained much interest in python thereafter and decided to even use it in my final year project which was to develop a chatbot using the natural language toolkit for teaching and learning in my department.

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

As a software developer, I use C#, Matlab, Typescript, JavaScript, and PHP most often. I’m not sure if I have a favorite because I enjoy using them depending on the project I work on. But I’d say my favorite would be C# and Python. C# because I use the .NET framework for most of my applications and I love their libraries. Python also because of its library and ease of use.

What projects are you working on now?

I am currently working on a model for emotion recognition on real-time videos. This project aims at mitigating some of the biases from the datasets stage to deployment within the Black African society. I am implementing several data augmentation techniques to identify the most optimal solution to reduce bias in the dataset. The model is also built using Convolutional Neural Networks with the VGG16 architecture. This is actually the research I am undertaking for my master’s degree and looking forward to amazing results.

I am also working on image recognition of patterns in fabric for a fashion brand. It’s a new project I started not long ago so I am looking forward to exciting results.

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

I love working with Python because of the availability of libraries to make work easier. The ones I use more often are definitely going to be my favorites. Pandas, Matplotlib, TensorFlow, Natural Language Toolkit, Tkinter, and Open CV.

How did you get involved with the Python Ghana Community?

A few months after I learned the basics of python (February 2018), a friend spoke to me about an upcoming Django Girls’ workshop and a call for volunteer tutors. I was always practicing new stuff and sharing with my colleagues so some of them believed I was up to the task of teaching others. However, I had not worked with Django before so I was a bit skeptical about applying but I did so either way. I studied Django every day until the day of the event. After the two-day workshop, I was introduced to Python Ghana since they organized the workshop. I was one of the few female mentors during the event and eventually also became a member of PyLadies Ghana. I have been a member to date and I believe it has helped shaped my python journey.

I see you mentor people in Python programming? What are some of the common things that you see people struggling to learn in Python?

Exactly, I mentor people especially ladies in python. It is one of the things I am very passionate about because I had to learn python the hard way and had I not received any guidance, I doubt I would have made it. I have voluntary experience with PyLadies, Developers in Vogue, Tech Flair, etc. Through this, I have noticed that when most people start learning python, they sometimes want to complete the syllable in a week or month. Due to this, they do not really have the patience to grasps the basic concepts therefore when it’s time to implement some data structures, loops, or classes they tend to find it difficult. Fortunately for Python, the syntax is easy to understand but the ability to provide logical solutions is the problem.

For loops, While and If statements are one major thing people struggle and sometimes it even deters them from further learning. I usually attribute this to the fact that most individuals do not spend more time to practice. Personally, I had some challenges understanding while loops until I took some time to answer sample questions on leetcode and this improved my understanding.

Thanks for doing the interview, Martha!