Humble Data workshop with PyLadies Colombia and PyCon Colombia

This is my first time, also Humble Data’s first time in Latin America. I have heard Colombia is a beautiful country and people are welcoming. However, that’s pretty much all I know about Colombia before going. I was very excited to discover this country and the community.

Humble Data at Bogota with PyLadies

At the beginning of the year, I give myself a mission to bring Humble Data to Latin America. This is the day that my dream becomes reality.

In the evening, Karolina picked me up at my hotel and we went to the event space, it is a nice shared office with good internet. There is a projector and we can use that to give an introduction to all the attendees.

Since I didn’t speak Spanish, Karolina gave a welcome all the attendees, explain what we do, invite attendees to join the Spanish-speaking Python user community on Discord, and thanked all the sponsors.

We also have a lot of mentors to help, they are really helpful and I am glad that they are there to help. The workshop was a success and went well.

Since the workshop is happening in the mid-week. We decided to have it as two evenings instead of a whole day. This works better for those who need to work in the office. The second day, it is the same day as the Django Girls workshop and it was a busy day for everyone who are involved in both. I am glad that we made it to the end.

Later Karolina told me that amount all the participants, there was a teacher who found the workshop material useful and would use them to teach Python. It is amazing! I think it is thanks to Sandrine and her experience being a teacher in the past and being able to create beginner-friendly material to start with.

I need to thank everyone who makes this event possible. PyLadies Colombia organisers: Karolina, Nicole and Lucy who helped find the venue and extra sponsors for the refreshment. All the mentors that help out during the 2 events. And my friend Cristián Maureira-Fredes who help with the translation.

Django Girls workshop

The day before PyCon Colombia, there is a Django Girls workshop. The workshop has almost double the participants than Humble Data workshop but I am not surprised as Django Girls are more established. It was our inspiration after all.

There are mentors to help as well, each one of them was given a thank you card handmade by the organisers. It was really sweet. I also like the handmade decoration at the workshop.

I met one of the mentors later a the conference and he said some participants ask if there are any workshops to learn Python and data science. I think that’s why we need a Humble Data workshop, the materials covered are different from Django Girls and both can work together and teach more people coding and Python.

PyCon Colombia

I am super excited about PyCon Colombia, it is my first time attending a conference in Latin America. The first day, you get checked in and were given a braceletta - you get one every day and there’s one for each event in conjunction with the conference, I ended up collecting 7 of them (and beating everyone else).

All the keynote speakers are invited from abroad. They are Lukasz Langa, Catherin Devlin, Fabio Pliger, Deb Nicholson and Travis Oliphant. The organisers are being very good hosts and take care of them very well. This is not common for conferences in Europe. I can see the hospitality of Colombia through the organisers. The selection of keynote speakers is also very good, it covers a huge variety of topics and all of them are good speakers. All the keynotes are funny at the same time deliver important messages. I enjoyed all of them.

When I am not giving a talk or workshop, I spend most of my time at the conference talking to sponsors and people who don’t mind I cannot speak Spanish. Most of the sponsors are proud Latin American companies. They are just like any startup in Europe, very innovative and hungry for more talents to join them. I also spend a lot of time talking to other ladies at the conference and they are all very nice and tell me where to go for sightseeing.

Every evening at the conference there are activities, on the first day, there is bowling. I was lucky that the organisers invited me. It was at a bowling place that is decorated with a medieval theme. It is very interesting. I had a good time chatting with nice people and discovered that some of my friends are very good at bowling.

On the second day, it was the speaker dinner, I had so much fun sitting with the local organisers and they teach me a lot about their dancing culture. We were so excited that they decided to let me experience it myself - we went dancing after. It was so much fun! I feel like I can dance every day in Colombia. People there dance so well! I get closer to the local speakers and organisers because of that. I am so glad to be welcomed into the party.

On the last day, the social event was drinking at BBC (a Colombia cervezaria chain - think of Starbucks but for beers). Since Travis is only able to join on the last day, I got a chance to chat with him, Juanlita and Mridul and we talked a lot about how to improve the open-source community, especially the scientific programming community.

To make it a tradition, I also give (half of) a lighting talk in Spanish. This time I read it off my phone. But folks still love it and come to talk to me after about how much they appreciate it… it motivated me to keep learning Spanish. I hope one day I do not have to read it off my phone.

I have made a lot of connections via the conference. I get to know a lot of people that I already know better because I got to spend more time with them in person at Bogotá. I enjoy the time I spent with them. I hope we will see each other soon.

Special Thanks

All of the amazing things mentioned would not be happening without the sponsor of the Humble Data workshop in Bogotá - EuroPython Society. They sponsor my trip to make this connection with the Colombian community and to provide a Spanish workshop to the local folks.

If you have a chance in the future, come to our annual EuroPython conference. We would love to meet people around the world.

After having a career as a Data Scientist and Developer Advocate, Cheuk dedicated her work to the open-source community. She has co-founded Humble Data, a beginner Python workshop that has been happening around the world. She has served the EuroPython Society board for two years and is now a fellow and director of the Python Software Foundation.