This week we welcome Vuyisile Ndlovu (@terrameijar) as our PyDev of the Week! Vuyisile is a contributor to Real Python and a Python blogger on his own website. He is also active in the Python community in Africa. You can find out more about Vuyisile on his website or by checking out his Github profile. Let’s take some time to get to know him better!
Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):
I’m a developer from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. I have always been fascinated by computers so after I completed High School, I enrolled for an I.T Diploma program at a local community college that had programming as part of the curriculum. Unfortunately, my situation changed and I couldn’t graduate in the end. I switched to teaching myself computer science topics and programming through online courses and books.
When I’m not working on code, I like to work on woodworking projects in the backyard and taking my dogs for regular walks. Doing this allows me to take a break from tech, be creative in different ways and also get some exercise.
Why did you start using Python?
I was a core contributor to the Mozilla project for a few years and one of the teams I worked with used Python extensively for automating their work. I liked how simple and intuitive Python looked so I started learning it. Compared to C++, which is what I was used to, the Python syntax was easier for me to understand and I loved that it could be used for Web Development, which is an area I have an interest in. As I learned more about the language, I realised that it has an amazing community and since then I’ve made a lot of friends from being a part of the Python community and this is one of the reasons that reinforced my desire to keep using Python.
What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?
The work projects I work on are web projects and I enjoy using Python and Django to build those out.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m working on a Django customer portal that is powered by a REST API for a Wedding and Events company.
On the side, I’m working on a project that’ll use affordable hardware to make useful websites and services such as PyPI(https://pypi.org/), Wikipedia and Stack Overflow available for offline use because Internet access in Africa is expensive and in some places not always available. I haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to pull this off but it is definitely in the pipeline.
Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)?
A builtin I like is Pathlib, it makes working with the file system simple.
A Third party library I like is pytest, especially it’s test parametrization feature.
How did you end up becoming a blogger?
When I started blogging on my personal site, I did it with the intention of letting other people know how much fun working in Open Source was and to share what I was working on. Now I do it to share my knowledge with the world and also to document my own learning.
I see you are part of the Real Python team. How has that experience been?
Blogging for Real Python has been fantastic, not only do I get paid for articles I write for them, I get better as a writer too because they have very high quality standards and I find those standards influencing my writing outside of Real Python. It’s more than just a blogging site, Real Python is a tightly knit community of really smart people that I enjoy working with.
What exciting things are happening with Python in Africa?
The software development industry is growing rapidly and our business capitals host fintech companies, startups and some big companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon that hire locally. We recently held the first PyCon in Ghana and it was massive success. Our community members are championing the use of Python in their companies, schools and Universities. For instance in my country, there’s a whole CyberSecurity Degree that’s taught in Python which is something you don’t see everyday.
Some communities have impressive statistics, a good example is PyCon Namibia 2018, that had 50% male and 50% female attendance. We also have developers who are working towards shaping the direction of Python and popular Python projects such as Django. Names I can think of are Joannah Nanjekye, who is an author and member of the Python Core Team, Marlene Mhangami who is a Director at the Python Software Foundation and Anna Makarudze, the Vice President of the Django Software Foundation
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Yes, If you’re reading this and your team is hiring, I’d love to have a chat You can find my contact details on my website.
Thanks for doing the interview, Vuyisile!