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The Boston Python Workshop at PyCon 2012

by jesstess March 21st, 2012

Asheesh Laroia and I gave a talk at PyCon 2012 called Diversity in practice: How the Boston Python user group grew to 1700 people and over 15% women:

How do you bring more women into programming communities with long-term, measurable results? In this talk we’ll analyze one successful effort, the Boston Python Workshop, which brought over 200 women into Boston’s Python community this year. We’ll talk about lessons learned running the workshop, the dramatic effect it has had on the local user group, and how to run a workshop in your city.

You can also view the video online with Universal Subtitles here. Thank you to the PyCon organizers and conference volunteers for orchestrating the lightning-fast turnaround time on subtitling and publishing the talk videos.

The slides are available here.

PyCon 2012: Boston Python Workshop call to action

Starting with the thesis that diversity makes a user group better and that diversity outreach is a great way for user groups to grow, we covered the following material:

  • The Boston Python Workshop
    • Motivation
    • Goals
    • Central tenant: work within existing communities for measurable, long-term change
    • Setting up a beginners’ pipeline into the community
  • Boston Python Workshop structure
  • Impact on the Boston Python user group
    • Now > 15% women at general user group events
    • Successful beginners’ pipeline benefits all community members
    • Global community impact: the women of PyCon 2012
    • Individual success stories: workshop alums’ first programming jobs, and more
  • Reflection and sharing
    • Public iteration, Creative Commons-licensed material remixed across the globe
    • Giving open-source materials back upstream
  • Scaling out: impact beyond Boston
    • Python Software Foundation grant for women-focused outreach across the US
    • Inspiring new communities: PyStar, PyLadies
  • What’s next: turning workshop volunteers and alums into community leaders
  • Call to action: how to run successful, effective programming outreach in your city
PyCon 2012: Boston Python Workshop pipeline

The talk was very well-received, with a great Q&A and many follow-up contacts from folks interested in running outreach events in their communities. Praise from Glyph, the creator of Twisted and a long-time supporter who is leaving Boston soon for San Francisco, was particularly touching. We also had a chance to share strategies with other user group organizers at a community organizers’ Birds of a Feather.

Want to see an event like the Boston Python Workshop in your city? Get in touch!

PyCon 2012, Boston Python Workshop talk

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