Ask any Python developer what the best part of Python is, and they’ll tell you: “the community”. However I was recently reminded that to most folks, the concept of a tech “community” is completely meaningless. I mean c’mon... how can a programming language have a community?! Honestly, it makes more sense to write off “community” as just another business-jargon buzz word designed to pad LinkedIn status updates or startup founders’ bios.
I too am guilty of discounting “the community” when I first started learning Python. I was more interested in honing my skills and learning new tricks. But the community was there all along, helping me grow, without me even realizing it. It wasn’t until a few years in and starting CodeRed that I realized the significance of community.
So what is “the community”? It is people. People with a shared interest who are good-hearted and help each other succeed. I have been to many tech conferences and participated in many tech and business groups. But unlike those other groups, the people I have met through Python have become good friends. They have helped me out in times of need, they celebrate my successes, and support me in following my dreams and goals. They lend a hand to others struggling with addiction, welcome and respect people of all backgrounds and identities, and go out of their way to help underprivileged or disadvantaged people improve their situations.
Aside from the warm fuzzies, the community has serious impact on business too. Python people help each other learn, help each other grow their careers, help each other start and grow companies. I have lost count of the number of Python people who have put in serious time helping a newcomer prep for and land a job. Similarly, if you invest in Python at your workplace — it truly is an investment in that the Python community genuinely wants to see you succeed and will spend countless hours volunteering on slack channels, forums, emails, and in-person meetups to help you and your workplace accomplish what you need.
There really is nothing else quite like it.
My inspiration to write this comes from the recent Wagtail Open Space and PyOhio. My experiences at these types of events are always positive, but this time, I was really blown away by the amount of support, encouragement, and fresh ideas from fellow Python people in regards to CodeRed and our open source CodeRed CMS. There is a mentality not of “who is the best programmer” or “how can we cram in a sales pitch” — but of “how can we get better at building each other up”.
So if you’re just starting out in your career, if you’re in an IT department, or if you’re simply looking for a new language to tinker with — I highly recommend becoming a Python Person and joining the unique community of Python People who will always have your back. And if you’re already a Python Person, I thank you for your part in making this community such a great life experience.