PyDev of the Week: Sundeep Agarwal

This week we welcome Sundeep Agarwal (@learn_byexample) as our PyDev of the Week! Sundeep has authored more than 10 books about RegEx, Awk, Python and more! You can see what else Sundeep has been up to by checking out his blog or his GitHub profile.

Sundeep Agarwal

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

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

Hello! My name is Sundeep Agarwal and I’m from India. I did my bachelors in Electronics and Communications, worked at Analog Devices (a semiconductor company) for six years and now write technical books for a living. I help programmers learn tricky topics like Regular Expressions and CLI tools with understandable examples.

I love reading novels, preferred genre these days being fantasy and science-fiction. I used to go on trekking and hiking a lot, but not much opportunities in the past few years.

If I had to choose one notable thing from my country, it’d be the melodious film music that I listen to all day long. Born in North India but raised in South India, I get to enjoy them in two languages!

Why did you start using Python?

I was familiar with Linux, Vim and Perl (for scripting and text processing tasks) while working at Analog Devices. Our college decided to introduce Scripting Course for Electronics students to help them prepare for such jobs. I’ve been part of the team that conducts such workshops. In 2016, based on industry trend, it was decided to shift to Python from Perl. Around that time, I was learning Python anyway, so I decided to dig deeper for these workshops and started using Python for my scripting tasks as well.

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

I’m biased since they are part of my best selling ebook — the built-in “re” and third-party “regex” modules.

Working with “tkinter” was nice too. I hope to try out other GUI frameworks this year.

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

I’ve had to learn or use several programming languages as part of my education and work — C, C++, Java, MATLAB, Perl and Verilog. But I don’t use them anymore and don’t remember much either!

I dabbled with Ruby while writing ebooks and understood just enough JavaScript to write a Regular Expressions book.

These days, I primarily use Linux CLI one-liners and Vim for most of my programming tasks. I reach for Python if I need more than a few lines of code, so you could say that’s my favorite. Last year I made a few GUI apps using Python and that was a nice experience. Hope to do more such projects this year too.

How did you decide to start writing technical books?

The materials I had prepared for college workshops played a role here too! And there were several other factors that led me to try authoring programming books.

I started using GitHub in 2016, attracted by the simplicity of markdown files for presenting programming concepts. I had also been learning and improving my programming skills by answering questions on stackoverflow. So, by the time I decided to write ebooks in 2018, I had more than two years worth of tutorials. I’ve published 11 ebooks by now, but I still have materials left for more ebooks!

What challenges have you had writing the books and how did you overcome them?

I found it difficult to brace myself for valid criticism, like grammar and cover design. They only made my ebooks better when I tried to incorporate the suggestions, but it isn’t easy to face faults in your creative work.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m currently writing a Vim Reference Guide for beginner to intermediate level users.

Aiming to publish the ebook in February.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you Mike for the opportunity to share my journey here.

Wishing all readers a great year ahead 🙂

Thanks for doing the interview, Sundeep!