We’re not even halfway through the year, but 2017 has already been filled to the brim with dynamic presentations and action-packed conferences. This past week, the Anaconda team was lucky enough to attend PyCon 2017 in Portland, OR – the largest annual gathering for the community that uses and develops Python. We came, we saw, we programmed, we networked, we spoke, we ate, we laughed, and we learned. Myself and some of our team members at the conference shared some details on their experiences – take a look and, if you attended, share your thoughts in the comment section below, or on Twitter @ContinuumIO

Did anything surprise you at PyCon? 

“I was surprised how many attendees were using Python for data. I missed last year’s PyCon, and so comparing against PyCon 2015, there was a huge growth in the last two years. During Katy Huff’s keynote, she asked how many people in the audience had degrees in science, and something like 40% of the people raised their hands. In the past, this was not the case – PyCon had a lot more “traditional” software developers.” – Peter Wang, CTO & co-founder, Anaconda

“Yes – how diverse the community is. Looking at the session topics provides an indicator about this, but having had somewhere between 60-80 interactions at the Anaconda booth, there was a huge range of discussions all the way from “Tell me more about data science” to “I’ve been using Anaconda for years and am a huge fan” or “conda saved my life.” I also saw a huge range of roles and backgrounds in attendees from enterprise, government, military, academic, students, and independent consultants. It was great to see a number of large players here: Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Google,and Intel were all highly visible, supporting the community.” – Stephen Kearns, Product Marketing Manager, Anaconda

“What really struck me this year was how heavy the science and data science angles were from speakers, topics, exhibitors, and attendees.  The Thursday and Friday morning keynotes were Science + Python (Jake Vanderplas and Katy Huff), then the Sunday closing keynote was about containers and Kubernetes (Kelsey Hightower).” – Ian Stokes-Rees, Computational Scientist, Anaconda 

What was the most popular topic people were buzzing about? Was this surprising to you? 

“There’s definitely a good feeling about the transition to Python 3 really happening, which has been a point of angst in the Python community for several years. To me, the sense of closure around this was palpable, in that people could spend their emotional energy talking about other things and not griping about ‘Python 2 vs. 3.’” – Peter Wang

“The talks! So great to see how fast the videos for the talks were getting posted.” – Stephen Kearns 

Did you attend any talks? Did any of them stand out? 

“Jake Vanderplas presented a well-researched and well-structured talk on the Python visualization landscape. The keynotes were all excellent. I appreciated the Instagram folks sharing their Python 3 migration story with everyone.” – Peter Wang

“There were some at-capacity tutorials by me on “Data Science Apps with Anaconda,” showing off our new Anaconda Project deployment capability and “Accelerating your Python Data Science code with Dask and Numba.”Ian Stokes-Rees

How was the buzz around Anaconda at PyCon? 

“Awesome – we exhausted our entire supply of Anaconda Crew T-Shirts by the end of the second day. A conference first!” – Ian Stokes-Rees 

“It was great, and very positive. Lots of people were very interested in our various open source projects, but we also got a lot of interest from attendees in our enterprise offerings: commercially-supported Anaconda, our premium training, and the Anaconda Enterprise Data Science platform. In previous years, there were not as many people who I would characterize as “potential customers,” and this was a very positive change for us. I also think that it is a sign that the PyCon attendee audience is also changing, to include more people from the data science and machine learning ecosystem.” – Peter Wang

“Anaconda had lots of partnership engagement opportunities at the show, specifically with Intel, Microsoft and ESRI. It was exciting to hear Intel talk about how they’re using Anaconda as the channel for delivering optimized high performance Python, and great to see Microsoft giving SQL Server demonstrations of server-side Python using Anaconda. Lastly, great to hear that ESRI is increasing its Python interfaces to ArcGIS and have started to make the ArcGIS Python package available as a conda package from Anaconda Cloud.” – Ian Stokes-Rees