This week we welcome Veronica Hanus (@veronica_hanus) as our PyDev of the Week! Veronica is a regular tech speaker at Python and other tech conferences and meetups. You can see some of her talks and her schedule on her website. She has been active in the Python community for the past few years. Let’s take a few moments to get to know her better!
Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):
I enjoy writing and taking pictures. For me, the challenge is to help someone feel what I was feeling when I decided the moment was picture- or story-worthy, and both take a combination of skill-that-you-can-study and plain-old-caring that I find immensely rewarding. Photo-taking excursions are one of my favorite ways to spend time with friends, because they’re a nice combination of “quiet, contemplative side-by-side activity” and “let’s get out and do something”!
I once carved out time to take silly pictures with a new conference friend in a funny upside-down room at the conference venue. It amazed me how nice it felt to be fussed over after the stress of my first conference talk. As I started speaking more, I started offering to take pictures of conference attendees and many shared the same sentiment. Many people find conferences overwhelming and it’s nice to take a few minutes and relax, make a new friend, and maybe go home with new headshots.
My education often surprises people because it violates many people’s expectations: I don’t hold a CS degree, and I never attended a bootcamp. In college, I studied Geology with a combined geochemical and planetary science twist. Since shifting into software, I have heard countless times “Geology!? That must have been such a… change”. Even today, comments like that feel challenging and exclusionary and early in my career shift it felt terrible. We hear again and again that having folks from diverse backgrounds help teams innovate, but when meeting someone who doesn’t fit our expectations, most of us still do a double-take. If I get that as a white, degree-touting former-scientist, imagine the uncomfortable responses folks in groups with more bias encounter when we express our surprise!
It turns out that my winding path toward programming has allowed me to make some of my most useful contributions. We don’t talk about it enough, but many use programming skills even if they haven’t written a line of code. If you’re considering development but are wondering how you will fit in, I encourage you to take a peek at communities like Write the Docs (their Slack), #CodeNewbie (their Twitter), or send me a hello via my Twitter or email. Continue reading PyDev of the Week: Veronica Hanus