Overcoming the fears: Pycon India

Few months back I got the opportunity to speak at Pycon India which was held in Hyderabad from 6–7th October, 2018. There I spoke about how Django helping in making web applications scale.

What is Django?

Django is a high-level Python Web framework encouraging rapid development and pragmatic, clean design. A web application framework is a toolkit of components all web applications need. It’s goal is to allow developers to focus on the parts of their application that are new and unique to their project instead of implementing the same solutions over and over again. This open source framework takes care of a lot of the hassle of Web development through ORM, authentication mechanism, Django channels etc.

What is Pycon?

PyCon is a conference for the Python community, organized by its community members. It’s held annually in multiple countries for promoting and developing the Python programming language. It is for Python enthusiasts of all experience levels, from new users to core developers. Last year it’s India chapter was held in Hyderabad.

What was my talk about?

Through my talk I shared my experience and learning from working on Django in my Outreachy project. In that internship I developed a web application on Wikimedia’s community server (called Toolforge) using Django. At that time I was new to Django and even web development. Hence, I thought my learning might help others who are struggling to get started too.

My talk was divided into three parts:

Part I: What is Django? Where and why is it a nice fit.

Part II: How caching can help in making web apps responsive.

Part III: What can one do to save time used in database queries.

Slides from the talk can be found here. The video isn’t out yet but will update the post once it’s available.

What did I learn?

Let me start this way — it was an enlightening experience. It was the first ever conference that I was attending and I was a speaker there. Sounds overwhelming, right? Believe me it was.

I applied for the conference just like that. I didn’t really give it a thought that how will I speak in front of so many people. Maybe because I had never expected that my proposal will get accepted. But now when I sit and look back at it I’m glad I didn’t think much and just applied. Had I given it much of a thought I’d have never taken up this opportunity.

In Pycon I learnt a lot. All the talks made me learn something or the other. Few were about some new cool thing in Python and few were about what is next in Python. I didn’t only learn from the talks but also from people. Meeting so many new people and engaging in discussions in with them was exciting.

But most I learnt was from my talk itself. Speaking in front of hundred odd people taught me to never give up before trying. Had I never tried I would have not known what it takes to get on that dais and speak. But now I know the answer, it’s self-belief.

Believe in yourself because no one else is going to do it for you.

Other than this I learnt how can I improve as a public speaker, how can I better structure my talk and how can I make it more engaging.

Too much for one conference, huh? That’s why the word enlightening!

In the end I’d just suggest that if it can end well for me then it can for you too. Believe in yourself, go out and seize the opportunity you’ve been holding on. People will appreciate your effort and initiative. Best of luck!