It’s not just what you learn, but how you apply it. A mantra I’ve lived by my whole life.
I’m one of those unusual cases in tech. I don’t have a Computer Science degree, as a matter of fact, I have an Art degree. To be specific, I have a degree in Photography. With that knowledge, one would wonder exactly how I got to this point.
For the people who knew me it was no shock that I went from a math and science heavy course load in high school to a creative one in college. Studying art, specifically photography, took just as much investment in process as science and math.
Photography isn’t just about making beautiful images. You have to juggle the technical aspect of how a camera works. There is math involved in getting your film exposed correctly based on aperture, shutter speed, and film ISO. A light meter can tell you plenty but you have to orchestrate the elements into a pleasing photograph.
It doesn’t stop there, once the film is exposed, it needs to be developed and printed. Both requiring chemistry and more math.
I learned all of those things in college. I loved being in the darkroom bringing my carefully composed images to life. What I didn’t know then was that I would be taught a skill so valuable that I would find myself applying it to how I reviewed code.
As I learned Python, I immersed myself in all of it. I wanted to go beyond basic understanding. I wanted to embrace the code but also any methodology and practice that would allow me to be an excellent and professional programmer.
There are two elements of programming that attracted me, testing code and code reviews. They are things that were similar to my life with art. The testing aspect was much like making test prints, something I’ll talk about more at a later date. The other, one I was practically giddy about, the code review. Code reviews were very much like art critiques and my experience with art critiques made me a better artist.
This realization of the two practices being very similar is where my idea for a new methodology was born. I started to work out this idea and presented it to people to get their opinion. It was suggested that I give a talk about it. So, a few months ago, I was looking at upcoming Python Conventions and I noticed there would be one in Melbourne Australia.
Australia, the country that I’ve been making heart eyes at since I was a mere toddler. I would sit, glued to the TV, watching all the wonderful animals that lived there and only there. While some children fell in love with dinosaurs, able to name them all off with other pertinent facts, I could do that with the fauna of Australia. My only window to that world was the TV on Sundays watching National Geographic Specials with my Dad.
I would often declare, “I’m going to Australia, to live upside down, with the kangaroos”.
I should get back to the matter at hand, PyCon Melbourne.
I submitted my idea for a talk and waited.
When an email came telling me that my talk was accepted I was beyond the moon and stars. This opportunity will allow me to combine many of my passions. I will get to learn, share my knowledge, and meet some awesomely rad Python nerds on the other side of the planet.
I’ll will get to share my methodology about code reviews. Knowing it’s a subject people are deeply divided on I hope to contribute a way to make it more enjoyable. While many people embrace the importance, equally as many have sworn them off and I can understand why. It’s honestly not their fault.
I would read blog post after blog post and I could feel their frustration. This had little to do with code reviews but how they were implemented. It’s understandable that given the fast-paced nature of technology people would push on and either give up the process or just loathe it and try to rush through.
This is a place where I feel like I can contribute to the community in a big and positive way.
I have taken the principles of art critique which I learned in college and I’ve applied it to a methodology used to review code.
This methodology will help structure code reviews, practice constructive criticism, and give informed feedback.
Speaking schedule is unknown as of right now but it will either be on August 5th or 6th. All information can be found at PyCon Australia 2017. I will update with my specific speaking time and location as it becomes available.
If you’d like to help fund this trip a gofundme has been set up and I would greatly appreciate it. Help Stacy get to PyCon Australia!