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PyDev of the Week: Jason Myers

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PyDev of the Week: Jason Myers

This week's PyDev of the Week is author and instructor Jason Myers! Find out how he got his start with Python, and what projects he's currently working on!

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This week we welcome Jason Myers as our PyDev of the Week! Jason is the co-author of Essential SQLAlchemy: Mapping Python to Databases, 2nd Edition and is also an instructor at DataCamp. If you have some free time, check out which Python packages he contributes to over on GitHub or visit his website. Let's take some time to get to know Jason!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc)?:

I'm a software engineer, author, and instructor working for Juice Analytics, a data visualization company. I also started the PyTennessee and Nodevember conferences with my good friend Will Golden. This year, I'm serving as the program committee chair with Lorena Mesa and Jackie Kazil.

I was an infrastructure architect and consultant for the majority of my computing career. When the cloud took over and stole all the beautiful blinking lights, I returned to programming full-time although I had always been writing code to solve infrastructure issues, configuration, and monitoring.

For hobbies, I have three Lhasa Apso dogs and I grow corals in saltwater reef tanks. I find staring into the reef tanks very relaxing, and the chemistry involved satisfies my first love of analytical chemistry.

Why did you start using Python?

I started with Python because it was the language used at the first full-time programming job I worked at BorderJump (international logistics) in 2012. We used a lot of the SQLAlchemy, SUDS, and Flask.

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

I know C, C#, PHP, Golang, and some JavaScript. I love the changes that PHP has seen over the past few years, it's most definitely not the language that so many people remember. But my current infatuation is with Golang. I really enjoy the compiled binaries for shipping CLI tools for customers. The changes in JavaScript with Node, React, etc. are also very fascinating to me and another area I'm going to spend more time with on 2018.

What projects are you working on now?

At work, I've been helping develop a system we call recipes that is a DSL for SQLAlchemy targeted at business analysts and analytical programmers. The original concept was developed by Chris Gemignani as part of a larger system, and we've been working to extract it to a standalone library.

Outside of work, I'm working on my third DataCamp course focusing on building robust Python applications for data scientists.

Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)?

I feel in love with the elegance of SQLAlchemy back in 2012 and I have enjoyed using it ever since. Mike Bayer has put together a well-designed toolkit for working with databases that seems to always have what I need from web apps to data transformations to data analytics.

I also love using virtualenvwrapper (and very excited about pipenv's development). My favorite parts of it are the workon and mktmpenv.

In the standard lib, itertools and collections are my favorite libraries. I enjoy chainmap and namedtuples more than I should. The data containers in collections are some of most useful parts of Python for me.

I see you co-authored a book on SQLAlchemy. How did that come about?

Rick, who wrote the first edition of the book, had other commitments. I had given a talk at PyCon 2014 on SQLAlchemy Core that Mike Bayer had seen, so when O'Reilly approached Mike about updating Essential SQLAlchemy, he sent them my way. I took the fantastic work Rick had done and tried to update the book to the current version of SQLAlchemy.

What were the top 3 lessons you took away from that experience?

Writing a book is exceptionally hard, and you'll learn more during writing it than you knew beforehand. O'Reilly did a great job of setting me up for success and helping guide me through the process. So 3 lessons:

  • You don't know about something until you try to teach or write about it.
  • If you want to finish a book, you need write every day. Some days that's 250 words, some days it's 2500, but you go to try every day.
  • Your tech reviewers and editors are the real heroes and heroines of the writing process.

Is there anything else you'd like to say?

Not really.

Thanks for doing the interview!

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