Every year, python enthusiasts from all around the world organize a conference to spread knowledge, learn from each other and make lasting connections. Python Community affectionately calls this national python conference as PyCON. PyCON Dhaka 2016 was probably the 2nd PyCON in Bangladesh. I was lucky to attend this one (missed the first one)
In this article, I’m going to share my first PyCON experience with all of you. Before, I begin I would like to share a little bit about me. I think it will help you to walk through the whole story better.
A bit of Background
Being an introvert, I’ve always stayed away from people. In school, college, or, in varsity, I mingled with only a few people…
For example, In the first few semesters of my university years, even my classmates didn’t know much about me as I merely talked with 1-3 friends! Later, the number of people with whom I used to interact increased quite a bit. Just because, The Class Supervisor choose me as a class representative maybe observing my performance in study, punctuality or, sincerity. However, It was still a strictly closed-loop of friends with whom I used to study, learn and talk.
In a sense, I had built a cocoon that kept me away from people.
This was one of the first steps of getting out of my shell and, my very first interaction with the public as a ‘Software Engineer’ who not just codes but also talks!
The event was organized by a group of Python Enthusiasts of Bangladesh. It is one of the largest python community in Bangladesh. This was my maiden talk in front of the public so I was pretty nervous!
It started with a post in Python Bangladesh of Masnun bhaiya calling for speakers for the PyCON Dhaka 2016. One of my friends showed me that post and asked me to choose one topic and submit there! He encouraged me a lot. We discussed a bit and, later I submitted the topic using the event’s Google Form. I was working on a full-time job as a Team Lead of a small python based R&D team at that time. It was a startup of Chittagong that I joined three months before this event. And, the fast-paced environment and tight working schedule made me forget it all together within a few days! I didn’t really expect to get selected for this topic. I even forget to buy a ticket as a spectator!
Later, as the registration for the attendees was closed I was regretting not buying any tickets…
Then suddenly 2 days before the conference, I saw another post which confirmed that I was attending the PyCON as a speaker! My topic got selected.. The first thing I did was a phone call to the managing director and let him know I will need leave. He readily accepted and even encouraged me to attend. I was quite thrilled yet, worried as I lacked preparation. I started to create the slides and started planning my session.
I tried my best to prepare myself for the session in that short amount of time. I watched recent PyCON videos again to brush up my knowledge a bit. Most of the audiences were Experienced Software Engineers and many of them were ‘Geeks with many years of experience’ & I consider them as my mentors. I was very very excited to finally meet those people.
I woke up early in the morning for the Morning Prayer and, didn’t sleep afterward on that day. I expected Dhaka roads to be full of traffic! But, it turned out it was much more than my expectation. The roads were indeed full of traffic, 2x more than my imagination! Yet, I struggled to find a single transport. All the cars, buses, taxis were full of people, People everywhere! People were all over the road! If that was a typical Dhaka rush hour then, Chittagong’s rush hours are no match!
At the airport area, there were some overcrowded buses but, all were full as if with a slight pinch people will pop out breaking the window! I was feeling pity and also wondering how they were breathing inside. Due to the surge of demand, Auto rickshaw drivers were also in rage. Their attitudes were like the king of the road :3
I was getting sweaty as I was carrying a backpack with a laptop and other accessories. I walked towards my destination for around 2 hours while searching for a chance to talk with an auto driver. I found a large busy building where lots of auto taxis were dropping passengers. I entered it and waited there for another 20 minutes and finally got into a taxi almost forcefully. Nope, I didn’t apply any force, I got pushed unintentionally by a tall guy who was rushing toward another taxi! Anyway, the journey began and I reached the venue within a few hours.
Finally Met with PyGeeks & Mentors
On the whole road, I was worried and tensed not only because my timing was all messed up due to the traffic but also for the fact that I thought I’m going to miss my favorite PyGeeks sessions. Thanks to Allah, when I reached there the conference was just getting started. The hall was moderately crowded with many known faces… I was observing the people, the excellent talks, and the environment. The atmosphere was one of a kind!
Especially, the friendliness of the PyGeeks exceeded my expectations. Beginners were participating in spontaneous conversations with them. I’m really proud to be a part of this community.
I was so absorbed in other sessions, I almost forgot about mine! But, right before my session, Masnun bhaiya made me aware of my reduced session length and asked me to plan my slides accordingly. Hence, I gathered myself back and, was thinking about my slides again.
As expected, I was quite nervous but I tried my best to focus on my topic and explain it to my level best.
Phew! Talking in front of the public is one heck of a task. Those who do it effortlessly, I salute you all!
Even though, I thought I won’t be able to cover the whole slides within the short time frame but, I somehow managed it. Later after the session, I answered a few good questions related to the slide while sipping coffee. Overall, it was an amazing experience!
Thanks for reading this far! You might be wondering why all of a sudden I became so nostalgic. Actually, today is the day ‘October 15th, 2019’. And, Three years ago, on this day, I attended a python conference that had one of the biggest positive impacts on my life.
Things have changed a lot in these three years. But I must acknowledge that attending this conference I learned the importance of knowledge sharing. Inspired by Python Bangladesh Facebook Group, I’m working on building a small Chittagong based Python community named ‘Pyholic‘ for arranging local meetups & workshops. We’ve organized a few meetups and workshops so far and hope to do these regularly.
Three years… I really can’t believe It’s been three years already! And, yet we didn’t have any Python Conference since then 😦
I know it is tough, but I really hope that we as a community make this type of large scale Conference a regular occurrence!