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An 11-Year-Old’s Take On PyCon 2014

Dyn Database Developer, Cole Tuininga, recently attended PyCon 2014 in Montreal, Canada with his son, Henning. Henning wrote about his experience at the conference and we asked him to share it with the Dyn community.

Henning and Cole

Henning and his dad, Cole, at PyCon 2014.

My name is Henning Tuininga and I am an 11-year-old homeschooled fifth grader. I was excited about the chance to attend PyCon 2014 in Montreal, Canada. I traveled there with my dad and some of his coworkers who are all programmers at Dyn.

One of the first things I noticed at the conference was how inclusive they were. I noticed that there were a lot of women there, which has been unusual at tech events that I have been to in the past. Not only were a third of the attendees women, but a third of the speakers were women. The organizers of PyCon worked hard to not only include women, but also to include kids like me. This is a big deal in the Python community because they see kids as the future of the language. It was really cool to me that some of the speakers were under 13. It showed me that not only did they want us there but they wanted to give us a voice.

My favorite experience at PyCon was the kids’ track for learning Python. I got to attend a Young Coders Day that was completely focused on teaching us Python. We did all of our work on the Raspberry Pi, which I have some experience with from working with my dad. I learned how to make a counting program with Python. Then I worked with other kids from all over the United States and Canada to hack video games which was so much fun.

Henning codingAnother thing I really loved about PyCon was that I felt like I was part of the community. I felt like I was treated like a real programmer, not a little kid. The Python community is really supportive of open source programs. This makes a huge difference because then people want to work together and help each other. They share information with everyone, including kids, because they think this leads to more knowledge. The more people working on a problem together, the quicker and better it will be solved.

I had fun at PyCon, but it was also educational. It made me think about my future and what I want to do for a living. I decided that programming is a fun hobby, but not a job I want to do full time. I do think that it would be amazing if everyone learned a little bit of programing though. People who work in other jobs can benefit from understanding how technology works and how it can help them in their jobs.

Today, so many people just want a phone/computer/tablet and don’t care how much work goes into it. They don’t understand how it works or how hard it was to create the software they use everyday. If everyone really understood the way it all worked then I think then they would appreciate it more. Then they might be more interested in learning even more.

Overall I am very glad I got the chance to go to PyCon. It was a great experience being part of the community and learning from people who know so much. I would really love to go again next year.


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