PyDev of the Week: Sarah Boyce

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

Hello, I’m Sarah! I am a British software developer based in Germany.

I have enjoyed drawing portraits since I was little and nearly decided to study Art, but with some encouragement from my Dad, in the end I chose to study Mathematics. I still enjoy drawing and painting people when I can but I’m glad it’s a hobby and not my livelihood.

I’m also a badminton player! I play 2-3 times a week (or as often as I can) and I am part of a local club. We got promoted to a higher league this season and it’s tough! I’m pretty much always sore.

Otherwise, I really enjoy watching rugby. It’s the world cup at the minute and I’m enjoying all the games!

Why did you start using Python?

The first company I worked for used Django. In theory, I had done a little programming in my Maths degree, mostly MatLab and R, but Python was my introduction to professional programming.

I didn’t choose it but I’m glad it found me. Easy to read, great packages, strong community.

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

As a web developer, I also use JavaScript (mostly React), CSS and HTML. Then I use a few markup languages for various needs (YAML, MJML etc).

I think Python is my favourite but I might just be more proficient in it and better integrated into the Python community.

What projects are you working on now?

Mostly all things Django.

I am part of Django’s Review and Triage team (team of active contributors). So I work on tickets and engage in discussions around contributions to Django. I joined this team relatively recently, so there’s still lots to learn! I also write a “column” in the Django News weekly newsletter on the recent updates to Django which helps me stay very up-to-date with what’s going on.

I am a co-organiser of Djangonaut Space! This is a new mentorship program to onboard and develop Django contributors. We have nearly finished the pilot program and are really proud of what our Djangonauts have achieved in the 3 months they were with us. Now we are organising other events for the community, such as a Testathon for the new release of Django, and prepping for our next program (tentative planned start date for next January).

So there’s lots going on! But working with some really great people so it’s been a joy.

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

Did I mention Django?

Why did you choose to participate in the Django project versus other Python web frameworks?

I didn’t consciously choose to work with Django, but it was a happy accident and I haven’t experienced any frustrations that had me reaching for other frameworks.

The Django community is also fantastic. I am really lucky there is a local meetup in my area and working on the framework is a joy.

I do want to try out FastAPI and Flask but I need to find something open source I can contribute to (if anyone has some projects I can maybe help with – I’m offering!) – I don’t want to just follow a tutorial, I want to solve problems.

What are your top three favorite features of Django?

These are not individual features but the ORM, migrations and the Django admin. These are such powerful features that I can’t imagine living without.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Djangonaut Space already has a lot of sign-ups for future programs. For us to support as many people as possible, we need more Captains and Navigators – people who can give Python mentorship and/or pastoral support. If that is something you would be interested in, please sign up.

Anyone who signs up will be invited to an info session – there’s no obligation from a sign-up, so don’t panic if you’re not 100% sure!

Thanks for doing the interview, Sarah!