Django Chat

Django Girls - Rachell Calhoun

Episode Summary

Rachell is a trustee of DjangoGirls. She was previously an English teacher in Korea before learning to code with the help of DjangoGirls and has worked since 2016 as a full-stack Django developer.

Episode Notes

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Episode Transcription

Carlton Gibson 0:06
Hi, welcome to another episode of Django chat, a fortnightly podcast on Django web framework. I'm Carlton Gibson joined as ever by Will Vincent Hello, Will.

Will Vincent 0:12
Hi Carlton.

Carlton Gibson 0:13
Joining us this week is Rachel Calhoun. Hello, Rachel, how are you?

Rachell Calhoun 0:17
Hi good, how are you doing?

Carlton Gibson 0:18
Marvelous. Thank you for coming on. Rachel, you're part of Django girls, we're going to talk a bit about in a bit. But tell me what, how about you tell us how you got into Django and your backstory. And all of that must begin from there.

Rachell Calhoun 0:31
All right, um, how I kind of got into programming. Alright, so well, I Well, I kind of got to go a little bit farther back than that I was, I studied, you know, foreign languages in college. Because, you know, I was told, do what you love. And I did the thing that was easy for me. So. And I got to travel that was really fun, Spanish and French. And then, after I graduated, I went to went to Korea to teach English there, as one does with the Spanish and French degree. And then I was totally mad. I was there for a while. And I kind of hit a point where I couldn't go anywhere. And I, I had an interview actually, for on a publishing app, and they needed someone with, you know, English teaching experience and some business experience and some tech experience. And I was like, Well, I have one. So I tried it out. And during the interview, they like they asked me, you know, do you know what HTML is? And I was like, um, yeah, you know, something with the web. That's like the level I was starting at. So I said, I didn't get that job, obviously. But I figured that'd be a good time to start. You know, learning some programming, because I figured it could help me with anything I did. And from there, I started, I did a couple days of JavaScript, but then Luckily, I found a Python group, and I kind of that started my Python journey. I

Carlton Gibson 1:52
was in Korea at the time in Seoul. Right. Okay, so I knew you been incorrect because I met you at Django con us a couple of years ago. Yeah, you you took us around to a Korean barbecue, which is amazing. Yeah, it's great restaurant, you knew what all the dishes were, which it turns out, it didn't matter cuz they were all great. But you are driving the menu that you were there for a little while you're

Will Vincent 2:11
there eight years, right? I mean, that's because a lot of people, not a lot of people, most people go and do a year to three Max, but eight years is that's a that's a good commitment.

Rachell Calhoun 2:20
Yes. Well, thanks for aging.

Carlton Gibson 2:24
If you're on this podcast, you're young, with an eye a quiet, you know, walking stick toes. Yeah.

Will Vincent 2:29
You know, I say that with I say that with with with deep respect, actually. So this was a, it was so was this in Korean, or is this an English speaking Python group in Seoul?

Rachell Calhoun 2:39
Well, I mean, it we were just starting it. So there were three people, myself, and then a Pakistani who is working, and he's an Android developer. And he was living there. And as Korean, who was a music, like pianist performance major in college, and I think she was in her last year sujan. So we just started studying. And it was just the three of us, we did a lot of online courses, we spoke in English, and all the courses were there, like, you know, on Coursera, or edX or, you know, free platforms. And we kind of like met every Saturday, you know, for few hours at a coffee shop or at the university. And in, yeah, did our courses there.

Carlton Gibson 3:16
Okay. So can I ask how, how did you settle on Python then? Because Android is traditionally Java. And then a pianist has, I don't know how a pianist chooses a programming language a priori. And then you you learned a bit of JavaScript. So how is it that you went?

Rachell Calhoun 3:34
Because there was a group meeting and they were gonna do it in English? It's almost like yeah, let's try it. And then I mean, I liked them. And it was very casual. And it was a nice group of people. And yeah, we did that for like a year. And then I wasn't really like falling in love with it. I just kind of was it was fun. It was like a hobby because I like to learn as a hobby. And, and then Jin from he's Korean American, he came to Korea in Seoul, and he taught us would one day a flask. And I was like, okay, that's fun, but and then we did Django and I was like, wow, okay. And that kind of really clicked for me. And then from there, that that was the thing that kind of got me really, to take programming seriously. So yeah,

Carlton Gibson 4:13
so is a Django love affair?

Rachell Calhoun 4:15
Yes, instantly. No, I was just really nice for me to kind of like, you know, write up like, because we could did scraping and games and stuff. But that wasn't really my thing. And I just wasn't feeling it. But then web development was cool to see like code I write instantly reflected in the product and to get that instant response. So I really like that. And then from there, Hassan he kind of he was always kind of on my shoulder kind of pushing me to do this. Or he's like, Hey, how about you do Django girls Hey, there's this Django girls thing. Hey, and so I'm glad he did because I applied and, you know, we did it. And we had 100

Carlton Gibson 4:50
at the workshop as you did the workshop as a student or as a, as a organizer or as a right. I don't know all three.

Rachell Calhoun 4:59
So The kind of theory is my theory back then, and kind of still is you learn by doing and master by teaching. So, I mean, I, I wasn't an expert, I had maybe a couple projects of Django, Don. But I, yeah, I was the organizer, and I didn't coach at that event, but I was mainly like, yeah, just the main organizer for it. So we had like, 100 people participate. Totally. Wow, total and plastic. It was it was really great. Okay, super. And then oh, I can keep going, though. But um, that's kind of what got me started. And then I think I don't know, I think Hassan he sent me another link. Oh, there's this scholarship. What was it Django under the hood? I had no idea. I was just like, Oh, that's cool. But I didn't get it, obviously. Because I wasn't like a Django expert. Right. That was for. And, and then I went to Django con Europe, I got a scholarship to go there. And that for me kind of circling back to your question of like, why Python and why Django? That's kind of what made it I was teetering on the edge. Like, should I go JavaScript more front end to do like full stack? Should I dive into Django? And I went to Gen Con. I think it was Budapest that year. And I just loved the people right from the beginning. The community was really great for me. And I was like, yep, these are my people. This is what I want to do. Yeah.

Carlton Gibson 6:24
Okay. And so are you. Are you working now in the Python Django world?

Rachell Calhoun 6:28
Yes, I am working in Django. And I'm a freelancer. So I have my own LLC. And I have a few clients. But I kind of got into that through the Django community as well, after Django con Europe, like, I was kind of encouraged and pushed to apply for a talk at Django con us and I got a talk accepted on get and, you know, intro to version control. And then, you know, like, I kind of started really taking it seriously. And I was like, wow, I could do this. So, yeah, I applied a bunch of jobs. I got my first programming job, here in Michigan, in Grand Rapids. I moved here for the job. And then on my first day, they gave me a code of ethics. And they asked me to like to sign it saying that I believe a marriage is only between a man and a woman. And I'm married to a woman, so I'm not signed this. Yes. Yeah. And it was so difficult to remember that. It was hard for me because I finally made it, you know, after years of like, trying to break through and I had to walk away. So but it was for the best. I reached out to the Dale community, General girls, Ola, and Ola. And then they kind of connect me with Jeff triplet, and he kind of, you know, connected me with some job opportunities. And from then I had been, you know, I started working remote from them and my own LLC, and I haven't looked back, I love it. I'm currently my I'm working with a medical device company, and Django back end, and then also a contact tracing, because because COVID so that's interesting. To do some, like really meaningful work.

Carlton Gibson 8:08
Yeah, that's quite high scale, I guess at the moment.

Rachell Calhoun 8:10
Yes, it goes fast growing, but um, yeah, it's it's important stuff. And so it feels good to like, you know,

Carlton Gibson 8:16
maybe help people. Yeah, that was the real front end of the culture wars kind of moment that you've moved city, you've gone for a job. And then, you know, to be put in a position where you can't take it is pretty strong, but that, okay, I kind of got sober

Rachell Calhoun 8:31
ever since I decided to kind of jump into the jail community. I mean, I'd never looked back. And I never regretted it. Because, you know, they were always there. And they always turned up when I needed them. And so like, I'm extremely grateful for the people and kind of that family. Some of the, you know, since community.

Carlton Gibson 8:47
Yeah, it's one of the best things about it. No,

Will Vincent 8:49
could you talk about? So? I mean, we could leave to the current Django girls news. But were you. You know, after that initial soul meeting, were there other involvements that you had leading up to? You know, the recent news?

Rachell Calhoun 9:02
Oh, yeah. Um, so I mean, I've always been involved with Django girls since I started programming, basically, in Korea. And when I came to Michigan, we started a local branch here as well, both Django girls and pi ladies. And I was also the translation kind of CO management for the tutorial for Django girls, so I was involved with that, as well. And then part of the support kind of team. And, yeah, that's kind of up leading up to now and now recently, I'm sure you know, the news that Ola syndicate talks got stepped down. So they asked us a few of us, five of us to to step up to be the new trustees for the general girls foundation.

Carlton Gibson 9:48
Yeah, and that's really cool. Know that. Because older and older did so much to begin and but then obviously, you know, life takes over and you can't keep that going forever. So to be able to hand on the baton. That's kind of the What's coming the moment where it becomes a sustainable thing in itself?

Rachell Calhoun 10:03
Yeah, and I mean, I'm so grateful for them. Because if they hadn't, you know, had been around and done what they did with Django girls, I wouldn't be here either. So I'm just, I mean, I'm really grateful that I have the opportunity to do the same thing maybe for you know, future programmers, people that are just stepping in now trying it out themselves.

Carlton Gibson 10:21
Okay, so tell it can you tell us about like, so there's five of you, what's what's going on that you're the new steering council or something like that?

Rachell Calhoun 10:27
Um, yeah. So we kind of were the trustees for the foundation, we help make decisions, and kind of yesteryear, where it's gonna go, the butt, but we are currently trying to put together an advisory board to help us make those decisions just to kind of have more diversity, and include people from all over the world, because certain locations and have different difficulties when they're putting on a workshop that we might not consider or know about. So it's really important to have that a bigger group of people and more diverse. So right now, that's kind of our focus. And also, we've been focusing a lot on remote workshops, and getting those up and getting our tutorials and organizing manuals up for people that want to run those and, you know, best practices, because currently, you know, everything's kind of remote. So yeah,

Carlton Gibson 11:20
yeah. Yeah, know exactly that. Because it's one thing running a workshop in a shared space and, you know, physical presence. And another one, how are you going to do that online in the zoom call or whatever, right.

Rachell Calhoun 11:33
And there's always, you know, problems, maybe internet speed for one, or, you know, some people don't have webcams. So there's like, even with those, that there can be a lot of difficulties with creating that Django girls, kind of friendly, welcoming, you know, like energetic atmosphere in a remote setting can be difficult, but I mean, it also opens the door to be more accessible to people that maybe couldn't have attended in person. Events. So I mean, either way, you're looking at there's a disadvantages and advantages there. So I mean, we're doing we can with with our situation now, yeah,

Carlton Gibson 12:08
yeah, no, I mean, that's a good point as well about the remote access, because like the Django girls tutorial has become one of the sort of go to tutorials. For Django, you notice that there's a tutorial on the Django Doc's, there's the DRF tutorials, there's the Django girls tutorial, these are like, the kind of how to put the cornerstone tutorials that are out there in the community. And then there's lots of other ones around.

Rachell Calhoun 12:31
Yeah. And so that's another thing we're trying to do is just update those and make sure that and this is like one of our big call to actions is like contributors, we need to always not even just update those docs and tutorials and everything, but also translate them. So I think it's now 18 different languages, the tutorial and you know, with every update, that needs to be translated as well. So it's quite a big project to keep and maintain. So we are always looking for people that want to help out with both the tutorial and the translations. Okay. And if people did, if listeners do want to get involved in lender, lender now lender a couple of hours from time to time, and when the mood takes them, how would they get involved in that

Carlton Gibson 13:17
in that translation or updating?

Rachell Calhoun 13:19
Yeah, well, everything, like our resources are all on Django And if they have questions directly, they can email at Hello at Django And that'll put them in touch with the people that know and can give them direct resources. But yeah,

Carlton Gibson 13:37
okay, super. I mean, so one thing that I've been thinking about a lot is how we get more contributors to Django itself that aren't in the traditional demographic, shall we say? So we have a lot of contributors, that still mostly white, and they're still very male, they, you know, there's there's some non white contributors, and there's the occasional non male contributor. And one thing I always thought was, well, you know, maybe that there's an on ramp from Django, girls, but the Django girls tutorials very much a beginners tutorial. And it's too much to expect someone who's just completed the Django girls tutorial to then go on and be contributing to open source directly. But do you think there's something we can do there? I mean, what if I just said to you, we'll come on, what's the problem? Why can't we get more non male contributors? What What would you say? What, what thoughts do you have or do you have any?

Rachell Calhoun 14:30
Well, it's an excellent question. I have a lot of ideas and kind of very ambitious goals for gentle girls, which I don't know that all of them are feasible, but you have to start somewhere. So one thing for me that personally would be helpful is so like, let's say a participant comes to the general rules workshop, they do one tutorial. And then that's kind of like, Oh, I can do the tutorial. I can code cool. So now what and then they kind of go back And they start actually learning it. And I would love to first of all, get some intermediate, like intermediate material for general girls. So you have a blog post what's next, and we have some resources after the tutorial for follow up material, but I would love something more official, that would be really cool. But, I mean, that's a big project in itself. And then the next thing would be is if we could partner somehow, with, you know, some companies, organizations that maybe do mentorship or like a one on one screen share, I know that, you know, there's privacy and, and things, but that would be really cool to see, like what programming looks like, especially as a beginner in the real world. And that that's kind of like my idea. And it costs, you know, one hour of time for someone that's working, and to answer questions or just to see or maybe like, work through a project together, like so I had a scholarship through top towel, and they hooked me up, they set me up with a one on one every week for a year with a developer, senior developer, and we did a project together, and he helped me work through it. And that was really valuable for me to see kind of how someone else worked. But also get that instant feedback. Because I was a remote worker, I didn't really have as much contact with other developers, when I was just starting out. So something like that would help in the Django space specifically, I mean, people that are already in the Django community, they could kind of, you know, take someone that's, that's more green and less experienced and kind of support them in and help them kind of get started and be like their mentor or sponsor. And I think that would help just to kind of break through the barrier. When people first start, you know, contributing, it can be quite intimidating. And like, where do we start? What do we do, but I think once you get that first contribution, or that first kind of, once you break through it, it'll be a lot easier, and then they can go by themselves. So I think something like that would be helpful.

Carlton Gibson 17:07
Okay. Interesting. I think I think you're right. I mean, it's from the other side, is that how we, you know, this is just what you do you, you know, find a ticket or a PR? Yeah, it looks so so easy, but it's not right,

Rachell Calhoun 17:17
right. And, I mean, there's a lot of little things that you don't know about coming into a new project, especially if you're a beginner, maybe you haven't contributed to any, like, team project before. And it's just a little hints here or there that, you know, you need to know someone's they're free to ask when you have those questions, I think that's really can be helpful. I did that recently with a friend of mine, with something she was working on. And she's like, well, I couldn't have done this without you. And I said, Yes, you could have it just would have taken you a lot longer, and probably would have been more frustrating. Maybe, you know, like, but yeah, so I think that that's, I mean, that's kind of how I got you know that where I am, because people were there kind of pushing me along and you know, always had an open ear for questions. And I think knowing that, that someone's there for that would be helpful. Yeah.

Will Vincent 18:05
The thing I'm thinking about your story learning programming versus mine, and one thing that jumps out is you were very good about seeking out a community and asking for help, which is its own skill. I mean, because I just locked myself in a room for two years. And I don't recommend that, but figuring out a way to Oh, geez, well, I basically. Yeah, essentially, it's what I did.

Rachell Calhoun 18:27
That sounds very lonely.

Yeah. Well, I had, yeah, this isn't about me. But yeah, that's, I don't recommend that per se. But having a mentor would have been invaluable. And if I didn't know things like Django girls, and and now that I've, you know, kind of like you on the, you know, somewhat on the other side, there's the question of, well, how do you scale some sort of mentorship? Because what you were saying about saving time? I mean, I think of educational stuff that I create is I'm saving people time, yeah, they could figure it out. But if I can give it to someone in 30 minutes instead of 10 hours, and they know that it's correct, you know, that has value. But in terms of the, the mentorship, you know, it does seem like it needs to have some sort of external structure, right, like, because we could probably think of a couple dozen Django developers, who if we said, Hey, here's this program, there's going to be some recognition, maybe there's even a little bit of money, and you do an hour a week with someone, they would do it, but to do it on your own and not have that machinery is really too much when someone's, you know, donating their time or doing it a discount. So I hope that that's something Django girls can do. I mean, it'd be great if Django itself could do that, though. I'm sure we, the board can, you know, help with funding, but sorting out, you know, in the same way that I mean, Carleton mentors, is one of the lead mentors for Google Summer of Code. If there was some sort of 10 people a year Django fellowship matched one on one it was an hour a week, you know, but again, it's we need people to do it, but I think you know, what happens is then people who otherwise wouldn't have stuck with programming, do get into programming and then like you right, like you're now you know, one of the leaders of Django girls, because you had that help. And so you want to pay it forward. So you're all that much more involved in the community because the community was able to, to help initially just brainstorming how to how to keep doing the kind of things that you all want to do.

And the other the other selling point is like, like I said, you learn by doing but master by teaching, like you really have to know it, and you really like, kind of solidify all your knowledge through teaching other people. And, and not only that, but like one thing that was very valuable to me, when I was working with other more senior developers was, I would ask them something like, they would answer me. I don't know. Like, in that I was like, oh, okay, you don't know everything. Okay. So it's okay, if I don't know everything. And and it was really important for me to see that. So like, those kind of things that just come out when you're working with other people and seeing how they work, I think are important. But yeah, like you said, like, I mean, it's possible to do it just I think logistically, it would, it would take a lot of planning and kind of setup. But if we get it out there, I think it could be useful.

Will Vincent 21:02
Yeah. And I wonder I like I mean, one of the great things about the Django girls tutorial is it's, it's something that, you know, it's a crud app, but it's something that everyone does and can talk about, like there's a frame of reference. I mean, I often think, well, what if there were five, you know, start with Django projects. And they're all some variation of crowd, of course. But if there's a common language that people can talk to, right, so that that makes a lot easier, even for a mentor to say, Oh, I kind of know what this is. Whereas when you're dropped in, I mean, if we asked five people to do a Django blog, they could all do a little bit differently, which would be confusing for beginners, you know, be interesting for more advanced people. But if there was, you know, yeah, a couple of like a stepping stone. I mean, in my books, I started to do that, actually. But of course, that's different than Django girls. But I guess I'm just rambling today, so I apologize. But I'm just trying to think of it's nice to have, I think of that.

Carlton Gibson 21:56
But we like it.

Will Vincent 21:57
Well, then I have to listen to it when I edit this podcast. But one of I'm curious, for you, Rachel with with teaching others, one thing I think about is so crud, how do you get crud through to people, right? Because you can say to someone, hey, you just finished the Django girls tutorial. You know how to build almost every website out there. But people don't know that until they've said, Oh, well, a blog is the same as a to do list is the same as you know, Facebook clone is the same as Do you have any thoughts or experience with helping people make that leap?

Rachell Calhoun 22:26
I think that you like for, for me when I was first starting? And I mean, no one has to tell you. Excuse me, no one has to tell you that, I think you realize that because what happens is if you make the tutorial or mean, you make the blog with Django girls tutorial, and then you're you want to make a to do list you're like, Okay, well, what if I just renamed this, you know, blog post task or something, um, and it kind of grows from there, and you start realizing that you can shape it and edit it in, in kind of use that as your base for reference. And so you that's, I mean, for my me personally, so no one had to tell me that I didn't have to, I just kind of naturally happened. Because that's all I knew. So that's what I was going off of, and I just tweaked it, I made like five different versions of Django girls blog, with different, you know, as different websites and different

Will Vincent 23:16
purposes. Yeah. Again, this is sort of like the kind of conversation like we would have on the Django Software Foundation is, you know, universities, like just thinking of places that have people learning and some sort of money because it is about unlocking just a little bit of money to tee it up for people in the community to teach it. Because I mean, personally, I don't I didn't make that leap when I was starting out with crud. I mean, I heard people say it, but it just didn't register until I tried to build a couple other sites. And then I was like, okay, it was like the fourth or fifth crud site where it sort of clicked. So I'm very aware, at least my own experience that that leap can take a while for folks to make.

Rachell Calhoun 23:57
Yeah, I am. Personally like, I don't know what other people feel. But for me, I kind of do things and then later I understand them. Because it's through the process of doing it. That's how I learn. But you put a book in front of me it kind of, you know, I'd rather just dive in and break things and then figure out why it's broken, and then fix it obviously, with projects not with work. But um, yeah, you know. And the other point was that you were talking about universities and stuff. I know that. So I'm a data science. I'm getting a degree in Data Science at University of Michigan, master's degree and one of my professors is Charles Severance. He does he does Python for every everybody, I think. And that's like one of the first Oh, yeah, Python courses I did went to Coursera. Yeah. And he also now has a Django specialization. I haven't done it, but I have a friend who has and, I mean, that's, again, like one more, you know, resource that someone could follow up with after the general rules tutorial. And I think that's You know, like there, there are more resources. But yeah, like having a community and having someone that you can get instant responses from would be, I guess key, like you said, Have something set up

Carlton Gibson 25:11
talking about following up like, does Django girls have any kind of idea of the numbers of numbers of people who do the workshop and then go on to, to work as a keyboard programming? Because it's not just these days that you don't have to be a professional programmer to program. But do you do any kind of follow up any surveys? To track?

Rachell Calhoun 25:32
The total number of attendees I know is like 22,098 different countries, the we did a follow up survey, I guess, a year or two ago, and at that time, I think it was of the respondents, we don't know, you know what I mean, everybody didn't respond. But like 20%, or something, ended up with something in tech. Just here in Grand Rapids, though, I kind of keep in touch with some of the attendees because we become friends. But like, they don't necessarily do Django, but one one, internet network security. And another one, you know, what did a boot camp in does, like, you know, front end or whatever. So it's really interesting to see them just kind of get that spark of like, yeah, I could do this. And then, you know, they go and do their thing. So I don't, we don't have like, solid numbers. And it's impossible really to, you know, to track, you know, all those people down by, I mean, a good percent. And I think, I mean, if you use it or not, if that's your

Carlton Gibson 26:26
calling or not, there's two sides, there's going into tech, right, so the 20% of go into tech, that seems like quite a good high, like a high number a good result. And then there'll be another equal amount, probably who use it somehow, you know, they're at work doing some other job. And they go, I know, a little bit of Python, and they're able to automate something or other that otherwise they wouldn't have been able to,

Rachell Calhoun 26:46
exactly or maybe talk with developers that they work with, or, you know, understand, maybe make their own blog or website, you know, for personal things, personal projects and stuff. Yeah, there's like, I mean, so there's not, you know, successes that someone becomes a developer, it's that, you know, they feel good walking away, and they think that, hey, you know, I can do this. And it's fun. That's kind of the goal of the workshop.

Carlton Gibson 27:08
I was a co chair in Barcelona and had a group and working through and there was a moment where they're going through the ORM. And they're in the shell. And all of a sudden, they start flying Django, and it was just magic to watch the faces. And there was like, little eyes pop open. I'm like, Yes, yes, that was success. Because whether they use it or not beyond that, it's like, Yes, you've seen it. You've got it. You've it's learning, you know, yeah, I think 20 I think 22,000 people through the workshop is phenomenal success. And

Rachell Calhoun 27:36
that's what I love about, you know, General girls. And helping people is just bringing them through and seeing them reach their aha moment of like, just where, where it makes sense where they get it right. And like, there's also those, you know, there's a bug moments where they hate it. And they that's like, that's, you know, development, so. But I like a lot and

Carlton Gibson 28:00
that kind of has it normally involve static files.

Rachell Calhoun 28:03
Yeah, exactly. But yeah, I mean, I really liked that. And the community, because, I mean, like, there is a real benefit to helping other people, like neurologically like we feel good. You know, it. So yeah, I mean that to help people.

Will Vincent 28:20
So I wanted to ask about your studying data science. Now. What? What's that like? Right, because I think for maybe a lot of people in the web browser, that's sort of very interesting, but maybe not fully explored. Like, I'm curious, what have been kind of aha moments there. And, you know, that intersection is really probably the future of a lot of tech. Right? data science combined with, with web. So I'm just curious what, what that's been like studying data science coming from Django?

Rachell Calhoun 28:46
Yeah. Um, so I kind of got interested in it, because I work with a metal go device company. And one of the things going forward is potentially like, using big data to, you know, for patient information, or whatever. And I was like, Well, yeah, that makes sense. And then I was, you know, just the more I kind of thought about it, the more kind of powerful it seems, and what you can do with data, and the people that control, control and manipulate data, like Who are they? And speaking of like, you know, women in tech and minorities in tech, like, you know, who Yeah, yeah. So, and then people tell stories with that data. So like, it's important to me that everyone's stories are told, and everyone's represented in those, you know, stories, but in healthcare, you know, you don't want to leave people out. And, you know, that could have really damaging consequences. So that's kind of my kind of inspiration to get into it. But um, yeah, going into it. It's weird. It's different than I thought. So I don't have a huge math math background, which is challenging now, because we're doing quite a bit or research background. And so I'm learning a lot and it's definitely it's a challenge, but I'm enjoying it. But yeah, it has a splash with Python. That Kind of my kind of idea. But it's interesting to see, I'm not really sure, I haven't gotten to the point to actually merge the two yet, because I'm still I'm like halfway through the program, or maybe a third through. And we're kind of just doing an intro stuff and, you know, getting my feet wet there. Um, but I'm really interested to see, I think there'll be really powerful to, you know, use what I learned from there and kind of merge it with, you know, the web and the tools that we we develop, I think there's some things like DRF add ons, which, you know, will serializers for Panda, de pandas dataframes.

Carlton Gibson 30:41
So you've got your kind of data science tools, which you're using, and then it's really easy to put those into an API, which then you can then I know, consume, however, or put in a visualization on the web, or Yeah, using the tools that you already know.

Rachell Calhoun 30:53
So yeah, I mean, I've done visualizations and stuff, like you're saying pandas, and, and some other tools to do. So I've used those for charts and visualizations and whatnot for, for, you know, reports on the web and stuff like that. But, um, yeah, I'm interested to see, like bigger scale help, how things can be fused. Go ahead, boy. Oh, yeah, I

Will Vincent 31:13
was just curious, how do you find formally learning programming given that you, you know, have a career entirely self taught, you know, what's, what are your thoughts on the classroom experience,

Rachell Calhoun 31:25
it's a, it's an online program. And it's, it's a little bit different. So instead of like, semester is like, three months or whatever, it's, it's one class for one month, and that and you just kind of keep going that way. So it's really fast paced. I never get bored, I'm always learning something new. But it's, I find that because I learned programming on my own. And through online courses, it's very natural for me to kind of learn this way. Because a lot, it's similar to that kind of feeling. And a lot of it, I kind of have to figure out myself. You know, they have like, the lectures and stuff, but mostly like, they're like, here's a problem, figure it out. And, you know, with the tools that they give us or the information, right, so it kind of feels like I'm just continuing what I've been doing, like just kind of poking around and figuring it out. I think because I come from a non traditional background, it actually helps me in this sense. Because I'm used to that. And I'm comfortable doing that. Yeah,

Will Vincent 32:21
it's it's nice that there's no degrees in data science, like I'm not aware of, like a master's in Django or a master's in web development, for some reason. Maybe it's because there's less math directly involved. But like someone, I don't think if someone wanted to, like formally learn Django, you know, through college credits, I don't think you can, maybe there's a way.

Rachell Calhoun 32:41
Yeah. I mean, there shouldn't be let's do it. Like, why don't we?

Will Vincent 32:47
I mean, part of the challenge is that there's no, you know, tenured faculty to teach it. I mean, I've taught college courses. And, you know, unfortunately, the reality is for $3,000, for a semesters worth of work, it's, it doesn't make any sense for a practitioner to do at the moment,

Rachell Calhoun 33:05

Will Vincent 33:07
by me, but if anyone's listening in one, you know, is that a university? There are people who would teach it, they just have to figure out the incentives around around how to do it. I mean, I know that my books are used at a number of universities as part of a larger web development course they have. So a bunch of places will have a semester long course where it's like a crash course in HTML, CSS, I think they've already learned Python. And they, they basically sort of work through the beginners book, but not even all of it. But that's about as much as I'm aware of. In any undergraduate setting, in the US anyways.

Rachell Calhoun 33:43
Yeah, I mean, that would definitely, like, bring more community and more people in and would help like funding, it would just like, kind of grow it all. Because if you have that, that many people learning it, then they're like many people that can you know, work in the field and etc, that would be cool to see what I mean goals, right?

Will Vincent 34:00
Yeah. Well, and I think but I think having mentorship and and accreditation helps, right? I mean, if you have a master's in data science, that means something. There's no real equivalent of a credential in Django. I mean, I know you can get one on LinkedIn or something. But I agree it would be helpful to have something or other where you say, I took this course. And as part of the course, I had to do these projects, and I have a portfolio to show and, you know, the teacher, whoever they are says, you know, if you pass the course, there's some certifying you've reached a certain level. Certainly that would be helpful. to the community, though, I guess the challenge is, you know, Django is more tenuous than Python, amino programming or data science, right? data science can still be a course even if the tools change, whereas Django is maybe one degree too, too specific. For a formal economy mean I kind of like web development,

Rachell Calhoun 34:52
I benefit. I agree. I benefit for not being not having like a degree, because I mean, I don't have a degree In, you know, computer science, so there not being one kind of benefit to be like, yeah, like cuz I'm kind of in the same boat as a lot of people. I feel like in general can be nice really welcoming for that

Will Vincent 35:13
when you're speaking to people without formal degrees in computer science either. So,

Rachell Calhoun 35:17
yeah, yeah, exactly.

Carlton Gibson 35:20
So Rachel, you kind of skipped over it quite quickly. But I want to come come back quickly, just while we're talking about machine learning, or your data science course about about representation in data sets and things because it's, it seems that every week we see an example where the, you know, machine learning model was trained on, you know, white men, and then they put it in the real world where it's not just white man, and it fails horrendously. Is that is that something that they cover in your course about, you know, rapid representative data sets and being aware of cognitive biases and biases in your data sets? And, you know, did they train you to avoid that?

Rachell Calhoun 35:53
I mean, yes, but there can always be more, right. Um, we had an ethics course, we discussed that extensively. And I know there are, we talked about, you know, where you get your data, and how you do your studies how you do your training. So, I mean, we do go over it, and it's there. But I don't know that maybe I'm just more aware of it. And I'm more like it. Other people that maybe don't have to consider that or think about it, they might not think it's as prevalent, right? Because I'm kind of like, I see it there. Because that's on my mind. Right. But yeah, there can always be more, um, I think a lot of people are just like data data, like, let's throw it in, let's, you know, run the models. And, yeah, I think there has to be a little bit more kind of thought put into like,

Carlton Gibson 36:44
this, this idea that you don't notice privilege in the shade. You know, when you are privileged. It's I know, it's fine. This dataset is representative. But

Rachell Calhoun 36:53
yeah, exactly.

Will Vincent 36:54
Well, I think we're works about it. 40 minutes are there. What are the next steps for people, right? So you have a personal site? If people want to reach out to you? What can what can listeners do to support Django? Girls, right, since that's maybe the main topic of the show? And

Rachell Calhoun 37:07
yes, so right now, we have two people that are like paid employees with Django girls part time, they're super helpful, Anna and Claire, and they, you know, help with fundraising, and docs and just kind of organization in general. So, right now we're at about 45% of our monthly needs for finances. So like, reoccurring donations on Patreon would be good. Or we're I know, we're setting up GitHub sponsors, that's the thing to do. And if you like Amazon, and do use Amazon, in the UK, you can add gentle girls as your smile, amazon smile organization, or just send money on paypal at Hello at gentle So I mean, besides money, we're always looking for help maintaining like the site, that tutorial, you know, people that want to organize workshops, people that want to, you know, help out and steer the direction of gentle girls on the advisory board. Those are all things that we are welcoming. help with.

Carlton Gibson 38:17
So there's massive opportunities to get involved is that

Rachell Calhoun 38:19
yes, yeah.

Carlton Gibson 38:22
Okay, so we are we're

Rachell Calhoun 38:23
happy to get any help,

Carlton Gibson 38:25
too. But just on the that, sort of maintaining the tutorial thing, that's a nice, you know, it's a nice way to get into open source. If you want to use you don't have to give a lot of time you can fix a little things you cannot take one section you can you know, if you if you happen to native English isn't your native language, you can get help on that translation. And then you'll deepen your knowledge but deepen your a bit your knowledge of contributing and joining a community and, you know, you don't have to give hours and hours to do that.

Rachell Calhoun 38:53
Yeah, exactly. It could be a one time thing if you know, you don't have to commit to you know, maintain a huge project. Just if there's, you know, maybe Django update, you can update the tutorial to match. Keep it up to date with that.

Carlton Gibson 39:06
super nice. Did this finish off? Is there anything else you'd like to call out? Any other bits and bobs that you'd like to tell the audience about why

Rachell Calhoun 39:15
I? Um, no, I don't think so. I feel like we've covered you know, the important parts.

Carlton Gibson 39:20
Okay, super. Well, let me say thank you for coming on. Awesome chat. Let's wrap it up there. And listeners with Django chatters, however, chat, Django and Twitter and join us next time. Thanks, Rachel. Thanks, Rachel.

Rachell Calhoun 39:37
Thank you.