News

Anaconda at PyCon Ghana: Supporting Global Python and Data Science Education and Community

Oct 27, 2022
By Team Anaconda

This October, Anaconda supported Principal Engineer Nicholas Tollervey and Developer Advocate Cheuk Ho in attending PyCon Ghana. At the conference, the two conducted multiple sessions in which students, career-switchers, and others learned about Python and data science.

PyCon Ghana and The Python Community

PyCon Ghana is an annual gathering of the Python community, similar to the PyCon Africa events that have taken place in the past and the other PyCon conferences that regularly occur around the world. Participants include professionals, industry experts, students, and enthusiasts, who unite around their interest in the Python programming language.

Many diverse communities and interests were represented at PyCon Ghana 2022, including IoT, data science, AI, Python in education, and more. Keynote speakers included Dr. Nii Narku Quaynor, the father of the internet in Africa; Abdoulaye Diack, Research Program Manager at Google AI; and our very own Nicholas Tollervey, who spoke about Python in education. Anaconda hosted several sessions; Cheuk ran the Humble Data and PewPew workshops, and Nicholas ran a session for young coders, with a focus on the BBC micro:bit and MicroPython.

Teaching the Next Generation of Python Programmers

As stated, Nicholas led a session on the BBC micro:bit and MicroPython for young coders. Thanks to the Micro:bit Foundation, students and teachers were able to get and keep micro:bit devices and learn how to code with MicroPython. The micro:bit has lots of interesting hardware features including LEDs, a microphone, a small speaker, an accelerometer, and buttons, to name a few. These engaging features inspire kids to have fun and bring their imaginations to life with simple MicroPython-based code.

The students were shy and hesitant at first, but with patience and help from Nicholas (who is not just an engineer but also an experienced teacher) and assistance from the local community, all of the students were able to create projects that would impress any seasoned coder, including a light-sensitive alarm clock, radio communication device, stopwatch, and bedtime storyteller.

Now these students are more interested in coding and have the opportunity to keep working on their projects at home. With further education and practice, they may become the next generation of software engineers and create technologies that we use around the world.

The Humble Data Workshop at PyCon Ghana

Born in 2020, Humble Data began as an initiative to provide beginner-level Python and data science workshops as well as a safe community for people who may not consider themselves part of the mainstream data science and tech spheres.

Thanks to Anaconda’s sponsorship of the workshop, Humble Data was able to provide free conference access to about 30 participants who would have not been able to attend otherwise. The participants arrived a day before the workshop, and mentors helped them set up their computers and install Anaconda Distribution, a popular open-source Python distribution platform with everything students, practitioners, and hobbyists need to start performing data science.

On the day of the workshop, participants were introduced to a collection of Humble Data Jupyter notebooks that encourage self-paced learning. These notebooks start with very basic Python (i.e. how to do simple algebra, print out a string, etc.), then get into fundamental concepts in Python (i.e. lists, dictionaries, and functions). Then participants learned how to use popular data science tools like pandas and Matplotlib.

While the students began with varying levels of ability, they all progressed well and acquired valuable skills. The mentors were also superstars; they were patient and made sure everyone was taken care of and no questions were “stupid” to them. The small-but-organized local PyData team, who helped check everyone in, also contributed to the workshop’s success.

At the end of the session, all materials were left with the local organizing team to encourage the conducting of more Humble Data workshops in the area. Hopefully these Humble Data workshops can help grow the local data science community. After the workshop, the participants took a group picture and expressed their gratitude for Anaconda’s support.

Conclusion

Contributing to PyCon Ghana was a great experience for both Nicholas and Cheuk, and a meaningful way for Anaconda to connect with global users and the international Python and data science communities. Anaconda is proud to encourage inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility in the Anaconda, Python, and data science communities, and will continue to support industry events in the spirit of education, connection, and advancement.

For more on PyCon Ghana, read Nicholas’s personal blog post or Cheuk’s personal blog post.

Look for Us at These Upcoming Events!

The Anaconda developer advocate team is planning to attend and conduct the following upcoming events and sessions:

  • PyCon Sweden (Nov. 3-4 2022)
    • “I hate writing tests, that's why I use Hypothesis” with Cheuk Ho

    • “PyScript - What you need to know” with Nicholas H. Tollervey

    • “Reproducible data pipelines with PyTorch” with Valerio Maggio

    • “Securing python applications with open-source tools” with Oleksandr Vasylenko

  • PyData NYC (Nov 9-11 2022)
    • “Level up your viz skills: from Matplotlib to HoloViz” with Sophia Yang

    • “I hate writing tests, that's why I use Hypothesis” with Cheuk Ho

    • Workshop “Using Numba Effectively Today” with Cheuk Ho

  • Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay up to date with where we’re going!

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