6. Building a diverse Python community, one workshop at a time

Audience level:
March 11th 8:25 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.


From Boston to Philly to DC to Minneapolis to San Fran to LA, women have been teaching women how to code in Python. As a result, the Python communities in these cities are becoming more diverse. This poster will highlight the work of PyStar Philly, but it is meant to provide a place for all PyCon participants to discuss the challenges and successes of Python outreach activities in their cities.


For the past several months, PyStar Philly has been organizing Python workshops for women and their friends. They have received help and support from groups organizing similar workshops around the country, including the Boston Python Workshop, PyLadies, PyStar San Francisco, and PyStar Minneapolis.

In 2011, PyStar Philly held two workshops and one project night. In 2012, they are planning to offer four workshops and six project nights, all organized under the umbrella of the Philadelphia Python Users Group (PhillyPUG). This collaboration with PhillyPUG will create opportunities for PyStar Philly workshop graduates to continue their learning and network with professional programmers.

This January, the PhillyPUG organizers had a special beginner-friendly “PyStar” lecture at the start of their meeting, followed by a more advanced feature talk. This format was so successful that PhillyPUG plans to offer beginner and advanced talks at all of its meetings.

Through all of these activities, the PyStar Phillly and PhillyPUG organizers hope to make the Python community in Philadelphia more diverse. The idea is that bringing fresh faces and new perspectives to the table will make an already terrific community stronger, more interesting, more welcoming, and more engaging.

This poster will be a place where PyStar Philly staff discuss their experiences organizing Python workshops and working to increase diversity in the Philadelphia Python community. The poster will also capture the stories of Python workshop organizers in Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Washington DC.

Some of the key topics of discussion will be:

  • the challenges of teaching Python to beginners
  • the amazing things students can do with Python after learning it for one day
  • how to help beginners move from a workshop to a first real project
  • connecting workshop graduates to the larger Python community through project nights and user group events
  • connecting workshop graduates to the women-in-Python network around the country
  • the role of the user group in programming outreach
  • making user groups more beginner-friendly
  • helping women move from attending a workshop to completing projects to networking at user group events to landing a job as a developer