At first, when I saw the tweet on the upcoming conference, I never imagined I would attend. Later on, I saw another tweet with the link to apply for a grant to aid participation in the conference. When I saw it, I shared the link on the Django Eket group I created and I didn’t apply immediately until about three or two weeks to the closure of the application for the grant. I was surprised when I got the mail that my request for grant was successful. The grant covered part of my transportation and accommodation as I had to cover the rest of the expenses.
The conference was scheduled for 13th to the 15th of September, 2018 in Lagos. I left Eket on the 12th of September, on the way to Lagos the bus had a problem so we had to wait for about two hours for transfer to another bus and finally arrived Lagos past 12 am and got to the park around 1 am. You can imagine what happened when we got to the park! We were advised to sleep at the park for security reasons and the following morning I went to my hotel room and slept for some hours before going out.
The conference was a paid one as people had to buy a ticket of not less than N5000 to attend the conference except for those that got the grant plus a free ticket.
The conference was divided into three parts. The tutorial session on the first day there was a PyCon Django girls workshop with other tutorial sessions going on. On Day 2 and Day 3 we had talks from various speakers both from home and abroad. The keynote speaker, Rebecca Cornely, a Django Girls Foundation (DSF) treasurer, is someone I admire so much from the conference. She is so down to earth, full of life, free with people, loyal to the call and apart from her programming career she is a very good dancer.
What prompted my interest in attending the conference?
Pycon Nigeria is the biggest tech event and first tech conference I have ever attended. And I must say it was worth the stress. My original plan for attending the conference was to learn new things, especially as an organizer of tech events wanted to watch out for new things I can adopt in my pattern of organizing tech events. Since it was my first I didn’t plan speaking wanted to see and learn from others, so I could prepare better next time. Didn’t actually plan to do anything at the conference, but the busy part of me would not let me stay idle. So what did I do? I and some other people volunteered to anchor the program. What was our role? We introduced the speakers and helped them set up their laptops and presentation slides on the computer and made sure everything was set for their presentation. We also kept time. It was interesting doing that for the first time in the midst of a good number of attendees. The participants were about 500 in number.
Take home from the conference
Every aspect of the conference was exciting. We had breakfast and lunch each day. We were given souvenirs, stickers and a t-shirt. All thanks to the sponsors of the program.
The speakers comprised of both graduates and undergraduates. Surprisingly most of the speakers and volunteers were undergraduates of LAUTECH Computer Science Department. I said surprisingly because what I was actually expecting since it was a big conference was top renowned speakers both from home and abroad. But it beats my imagination to know that these undergraduates were so bold to come out and speak at such a conference what they know how to do best and what they have learnt from school. Especially in the area of Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence with Python. I was very impressed to see the show and expression of intelligence from these students who spoke at the conference.
I learned some new things that can be built with Python, like building cross platform apps with Python and also some new terms like beautiful soup and web scraping with Python and much more.
The conference was one that speaks well of diversity, because people of different cultural backgrounds and nationalities were well represented.
I had the opportunity of meeting new people, the likes of Aisha Bello, Lead Django Girls Representative in Nigeria; Ichux, Python Software foundation Rep in Nigeria; Gabriel from Namiba, Django Girls Rep Zambia; VanHack Rep community manager in Nigeria and very importantly Simi Olusola (whom I had the opportunity of inviting to KodeHauz for our Sigma programme).
At the end of the conference, we took group photos both organizers and volunteers.