PyConUK 2017 — objectively the best conference you could possibly go to.

Seriously, its amazing. If you ever get a chance. Go.

A report on my experience at PyConUK2016. I have nothing bad to say, only great things.

This year we were hacking and learning in Cardiff City Hall, an absolutely gorgeous venue and a massive space upgrade on the previous Coventry venue.

Cardiff City Hall

My week started with a message to the conference slack channel on Wednesday, something like ‘I’m in Cardiff, anyone for dinner?’. Originally, I was meeting only one other person. But this eventually resolved to 8 of us hanging out all evening for a fun filled night of food, beverages and technical talk.
It was a great start to the conference. I met some wonderfully interesting and great people, a running theme through the rest of my time in Cardiff.

Thursday sort of marked the start of the conference with the new Open Day.
The Open Day was a slightly odd affair with longer, but less talks, held in a different venue. It was great though, I learned things! My favourite talks there were 10 Years, 7 Deployments and a Lesson from Daniele Procida, and Micro Python, the Internet of Things and the £3 device from Kirk Northrop.

It ended with a myself and a couple of people I’d met the day before hanging out for dinner and chilling with a drink. once again, out until the early hours of the morning building friendships with strangers who share a common interest.

The start of the conference actual on Friday was a wonderful day of technical talks and non-technical talks.
Easily my favorite of which was John Chandler’s talk on Neurodiversity in Tech. John detailed the commonly overlooked advantages to being neuroatypical and raised awareness of how everyone and anyone can be useful in tech. 
Nothing to do with Python specifically, but the talk filled the room with 10s of people and hopefully many left with enlightened viewpoints.
Hosting this type of talk really makes me love PyConUK’s friendly and progressive attitude.

Friday ended with a night at Steve’s (who I’d met on Wednesday) rented apartment in Cardiff for the weekend. 
Myself, Adam and David continued working on something we’d came up with on the past few evenings which we hoped to show off at a lightning talk on Saturday.
We ended with getting food and just having a great time.
Reminder, these people were total strangers before Wednesday.

Saturday’s conference was busy. I spent it all jumping from talk to talk and in between spending time with the wonderful David Jones, Olivia Guest, Zeth, Rae and many more people. Some of whom I’d met last year, others I’d never met before and we just clicked!

I really, really enjoyed the Children’s show and tell on Saturday. In which the kids that had spent the day playing with BBC Micro:Bits showed off the things they had made. 
We had Talking Micro:Bits, photograph->Minecraft and many more crazy but great projects.

Saturday’s lightning talk sessions was also the time where myself and Adam showed off the Python to Emoji — Emoji to Python ridiculous project we’d been working on for the past few days. It was a hilarious talk to give, and I know at least a few people found it funny and entertaining.

Saturday was also the night of Dinner at The Clink. PyConUK Booked out the entire of the The Clink, an restaurant at HMP Cardiff. We ate great food and spoke to yet MORE strangers. We later headed to a bar and I hung out with a few more wonderful people (its a theme, everyone I met is wonderful).

Sunday was the day of my talk, so I was focused a lot on what I was doing for that. However, I did really enjoy Andrew Mulholland’s talk entitled ‘PiNET — A project that was never intended to be…’. Really impressive work by Andrew there!

Sunday afternoon, I gave my first ever conference talk. I was understandably quite nervous. Not about presenting in front of people, but about if my opinion was not a stupid one, and that people would accept me and be intrested.

Turns out they were! I delivered my talk on ‘Type Checking — Whose responsibility is it?’ and the audience responded with a few questions. I even got caught but several people after my talk to talk more about what I think on type checking and a general discussion. Tibs, a veteran PyConUK attendee, even had the lovely foresight to congratulate me on my talk, and let me know that the fact that people were asking questions, and caught me after the talk is a great sign that it went really well and is relevant.

If you’re thinking about giving a talk — PyConUK is a great place to do it. They even offer speaker mentorship!

On Sunday night, I had dinner with a group of the best people I have ever met. Rae, David, Mannuel, Olivia, Alex and Celine. We enjoyed a VERY hipster vegetarian restaurant, great company, and new friendship.

Monday marked the end of PyConUK 2016. But the start of the Sprints and workshops.

I spent my day at Trans*Code — a hack day for trans people — despite a very small number of participants we have a good time hacking away on BBC Micro:Bits, existing open source projects, and just general discussion and conversation.

Monday ended with a wonderful bonding experience where we got locked into Cardiff City hall because we were having so much fun we lost track of the time.
We did get out eventually.

Monday night was dinner at Bill’s — a small group of us from Trans*Code attended and had a perfect end to a perfect few days.