2018… The Year of… Python?!

Over the past few years, I’ve been dealing with things in C# and Java, especially in bringing newcomers to the field and helping those who may be older in the field get some new tools.  I fell into this groove with C# and Java, and yes, I even had a change of heart with Java.  (When I saw Java in the late 90s/early 00s, it was a strong dislike relationship.  Nowadays, I actually like it!)  Little did I realize that this year would be a departure from C# and Java and cycling back to another one of the languages in my toolbelt – Python!

Early 2018 Changes

I left my last employer at the end of 2017, as I could feel the winds of change and knew it was the right time for me to move on.  What I hadn’t anticipated was my direction.  I figured I would stay in the training realm with more C# and .NET-related topics.  However, I picked up a client in the Python space and in the process, dusted off the cobwebs in my Python space as well as ramped up JavaScript yet again with React and Redux.  Wait… Python?!?

My History of Python

I don’t remember what it was that convinced me to look at Python.  I suspect it might have been talking with a colleague decades ago and his mention of the local Python user group.  I do know that once Microsoft entered in the Python space with IronPython, I had to see what it was about.  Python on .NET?  What?! (Ok… part .NET, part Mono….)  The absurdity of Microsoft bringing Python in .NET really appealed to me.  Why?  I’ve been a Microsoft fan all of my life, and then there’s the part of me that likes Linux and the command line as well. So when any of those can be combined, I’m intrigued.  Little did I realize that my playing around with Python as a hobby back then would lead me to present IronPython on Linux at PyCon 2009. (Oh and the team was in my audience… yeah, the IronPython team… and the father of the language… oh, no pressure.  Argh! 🙂 )

Back then, I didn’t want to be the only one playing with this.  I did some user group and conference presentations introducing C# folks to Python.  In 2008-2010, I made my rounds to local user groups and conferences (Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Sandusky, Dayton, even a Cincinnati financial company’s internal group).  I took a break from Python towards the end of 2010 because book writing took over my life PowerShell distracted me.  However, my inner polyglot shelves languages for later, never really forgetting them.

Return to Python

Since I picked up a client who used Python, I figured I better brush up on my Python again.  This time, while going through my day-to-day work, I also went through some of the Python training over on DataCamp.  (How I love DataCamp’s courses!  I’ll save that for another blog post.)   What I love most about picking up Python again is seeing how quickly I regained my muscle memory/coding memory for the language.  I had to pick up some Python 3 changes, but because a lot of the concepts are similar to what I’ve seen and done in other languages, it’s been syntax adjustment more than anything.

In addition to returning to Python code for some of my consulting work, I also fell for pandas, matplotlib, and Jupyter notebooks (shoutout to Brian Sherwin and his Drops of Jupyter talk).   Data has always been a love of mine, and poking at the data science realm in Python…. so much fun!

Also… Microsoft has been growing in the Python space since the last time I did talks on Python.  So now I can include the likes of Python Tools for Visual Studio (PTVS), Visual Studio Code, and Azure Notebooks in my Python presentations.  Yes – Microsoft is in the Python space!  Anaconda now ships with Visual Studio Code.  And Visual Studio Code has LiveShare, so you could remote pair program in Visual Studio Code on multiple platforms – or even have someone LiveShare in Visual Studio Code in Linux while someone else is in Visual Studio in Windows.

So what lies ahead?

Apparently, 2018 is my year of Python so far, and I’m curious to see where it leads.  I didn’t plan on going this route, other than looking into data science more.  I was excited to see Python in SQL Server 2017 – again, this is an absurdity thing for me that makes me more curious.  I end up playing with the technologies, learning how I can work with them and others can, and then turn them into presentations.  Working with Python for a client brought Python back into the presentation topics.  With Python growing in the Microsoft space and with it huge in the data science realm (which is growing as well), I don’t think Python will be leaving my topics for awhile.  I already have some local user groups reaching out to me to deliver my Python for C# Developers talk (1st presented in Hong Kong this year), and if this is something you’re interested in seeing, let me know!  (Yes, I am interested in doing remote presentations and not just in-person.)

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