This week we welcome Lais Carvalho (@lais_bsc) as our PyDev of the Week! Lais is active in multiple Python user groups in Ireland and has helped organize multiple Python conferences. She is on a recent episode of Python Bytes too, so be sure to check that out!
If you’d like to see what projects Lais is working on, head on over to GitHub.
Let’s spend a few moments getting to know Lais better!
Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc.)
My name is Lais Carvalho and I work as Developer and Community Advocate for Quansight, a consultancy company that offers support for most of the Open Source libraries available, specially on the Python sphere. I have just graduated on IT (Information Technology), after studying engineering for two years. I also volunteer for Python Ireland and have helped organise a few Python conferences. My favourite ones are EuroPython (the biggest Python conference in Europe) and PyJamas, an online event where everyone is invited to present wearing pajamas.
Why did you start using Python?
I started using Python in my first year of engineering university. I was struggling to learn WolframAlpha to check if my handmade calculations were correct, but everything used to be so hard and take so long. That was when chatting to one of our teachers, he mentioned I might prefer to use Python for that. I thought “well, it doesn’t cost me much to try” and have become a fan since then, which I believe was in 2014.
What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?
I am not a programmer, which means that my main line of work is with people (not code) but I can build small things using Java and Python. My R skills are not something to be proud of but I can make beautiful graphs and pretend I understand data analysis well enough. I would like to try and learn GoLang or Julia next.
My favourite do-it-all language is Python due to its versatility. But languages are tools, one is welcome to choose whichever (s)he knows best in order to get the job done. To expand on the metaphor, it is elementary that a plier will not be the most effective to hammer nails on a wall, but it might do a fine job on acceptable time if the amount of nails is small or the time is limited and hammers are not available.
What projects are you working on now?
I am currently on medical license due to a cancer diagnosis received two weeks before my thesis delivery deadline. I am now finished with the treatment (in theory) and waiting to hear results back from the hospital. Keeping fingers crossed.
Before that, I was working on updating the documentation of one of Quansight’s Open Source libraries named QHub.
Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)?
There are so many wonderful ones, which makes this a very challenging question but in summary, I quite like requests, making HTTP requests human-friendly since 2011. In addition, the more scientific ones like NumPy and SciPy, and the classy Manim for mathematical animations. Aw yes, and Flask for web apps! Not to mention the standard stuff, Python is all wonderful.
How did you become so active with Python user groups?
I started volunteering for PyCon Ireland in my second year in college (2019), because I believed networking was the most effective way to get into the industry. At the event, I met so many wonderful people and everyone had a project or initiative in need of help, so I volunteered. I remember being extremely excited about partaking in such an inclusive and fun community, so much so that when COVID restrictions arrived I became almost fully dedicated to the user groups. It was a good way to cope with lockdown and to meet wonderful people that ended up becoming close-personal friends of mine.
What advice do you have for people who would like to start their own local Python user groups?
Look around and see if there are people interested in joining you. Look for inspiration in existing groups and persevere. This is a huge community we are part of and there will always be someone willing to help in some way. Be vocal, ask for help, and don’t give up. Finally, if you are thinking about starting your own Python User Group in Ireland, come and speak to us at Python Ireland, we would be happy to help in any way we can.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
A Speakers Coaching Session is happening later this month and if you want to improve your public speaking skills, it is a great opportunity to do so.
Also, our monthly meetups happen on the second Wednesday of each month, online for now (due to COVID regulations) but working on coming back in person. The recorded sessions are added to the YouTube channel.
For more information, follow us on Twitter. @pythonireland
All the PyLadies workgroups are incredible and they also need volunteers. If you’re looking for a safe place to join the Python Community, I would seriously recommend PyLadies! And the Dublin cohort is led by the wonderful Vicky.
EuroPython will start looking for volunteers for the in person event as well soon
Thanks for doing the interview, Lais!