PyDev of the Week: Eric Mendes

This week we welcome Eric Mendes as our PyDev of the Week! Eric is the author of unexpected-isaves. You can learn more about Eric is up to by visiting Eric’s GitHub Profile.

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

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

I am a young Brazilian developer who has just started working in the software industry, but I’m way more experienced than people think.

I’ve been studying computers formally for almost a decade now. Started coding in high school by taking its classes together with an IT Technician course in what we call a “technical school” here in Brazil. After finishing this school I got into Unicamp, a prestigious university in the state of São Paulo, considered one of the best in Latin America. Here I started a bachelor in Computing Science and it’s where I am till this day!

Sure, you can’t claim to be a senior developer until you’ve actually mastered some tools that are specific to your line of work, but I strongly believe that my education has provided me with enough knowledge about algorithms, data structures, computer networks, etc, so that I know my way around any specific tools, in nearly any field.

I’m currently working as a data engineer in a national fintech company. My major interests lie in the data field, especially machine learning.

My other hobbies are writing sheet music and watching a lot of soccer, and I usually try to mix machine learning into those, so I tend to like artistic software and soccer related data stuff.

Why did you start using Python?

I started using Python during my freshman year in college in 2018 for an introductory algorithms class and liked it so much that I’ve never stopped. When I got into the data field I’d read the standard lib documentation 24/7, even if I wasn’t coding! I knew I had to have a good grasp on it, and I think that’s the spirit that got me my current job.

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

I know Java, C, C++, and a bit of JavaScript, but Python is definitely my favorite.

What projects are you working on now?

Currently, I’m only working on my most famous lib unexpected-isaves – A Python library for painting an image on a spreadsheet or building its pixel art in Minecraft.

It’s artistic software, so no big industry usability, but it’s fun and It’s almost at 12 thousand downloads in total, so I’m really proud of it.

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

I love Pillow, numpy, and Google’s jax, but my favorite of all is my lib hahaha:

What got you into doing open source?

The senior developers at work are always telling me to contribute to open source in order to improve my skills. I have plans, but still haven’t had time to contribute to any big project.

One day I noticed that I had a lot of repos about making art. It started with a terrible ascii art code, evolved to a better image to spreadsheet one, then a really cool minecraft pixel art maker. That’s when I decided to join them in a single project, and that’s how unexpected-isaves was born. I knew that besides contributing, being the maintainer of an open source code would also help me improve other things like project management, for example.

More about the project’s history here:

What are the current challenges in getting good contributors?

Since unexpected-isaves is not exactly “useful” It’s really hard to have people really interested in it.

That’s actually been my main goal for this project lately: making it useful somehow in order to build a community around it. Perhaps targeting web development in some way, because arts are more useful in this field? I don’t know.

I hope my story here helps me reach the right people to help make this grow, because I do feel like this has a lot of potential. A quick scroll through social media and you’ll see people “drawing” with rubik’s cubes, dices, minecraft, midi, etc.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I just want to thank you for the opportunity!

I would also like to say one more time that contributions to unexpected-isaves are needed and appreciated! If you don’t find the time, at least a star on the repo is already nice and helps me keep going with it 🙂

Thanks for doing the interview, Eric!