Announcing our chair for DjangoCon US 2022, Logan Kilpatrick!
From his DEFNA bio:
Logan Kilpatrick is a Senior Technology Advocate at PathAI where he leads Advocacy for Machine Learning, Open Source, and Engineering as well as the Developer Community Advocate for the Julia Programming Language. He has also been using and teaching Django at Harvard University’s Division of Continuing Education since early 2020. Outside of work and teaching, Logan is on the Board of Directors at DEFNA and NumFOCUS, the organization behind open source projects like Jupyter, NumPy, Pandas, and more. Open Source and communities are near and dear to Logan so you might run into him giving a talk, tinkering on some new project, or trying to recruit new contributors across the open source ecosystem.
We’re proud to bring Logan into the DjangoCon organizing community, and to let the Django community get to know him a little better, we’ve done a brief Q&A with Logan:
What brought you into using Django?
LK: “During undergrad, I had the chance to take some web development classes, Django was the first thing I learned and it got me excited about how user friendly and scalable it was. After learning Django I went off and tried some other (unnamed) web frameworks and was struck by how much more I needed to handle as a developer. This gave me a much greater appreciation for just how powerful Django is. A few months later I saw an email looking for teaching fellows to support students in the class I took and thought, “why not throw my hat in and see what happens”. I was fortunate enough to have been selected and have since spent the last ~2 years teaching Django (find out more about the course I help teach).”
Many of us are less familiar with Julia. Can you tell us a little bit about the community around that language and what you think Django and Python can learn from them or vice versa?
LK: “Julia is a high level, dynamic programming language that has high level syntax like Python but the speed characteristics of C++. It is most commonly used in scientific applications but is a general purpose language. I started using and learning Julia when I was interning at NASA back in 2017. The Python and Django community have been very successful in galvanizing widespread adoption and becoming the most popular language in the world. There is so much the Julia community can learn from the hard lessons of the past few decades the Python and Django community have gone through. On the technical side, it would be great to see the Julia ecosystem accelerate efforts in the web development space. There are already tools like the Genie Framework but comparatively with ecosystems like Django, they are far less mature. On the community front, I think one of the coolest parts about the Julia community is that it really feels like a community. I think events like DjangoCon and PyCon are critical in ensuring that as the community continues to expand, there are still opportunities to connect both in person and virtually.
What inspired you to nominate yourself for the DEFNA Board and then volunteer as conference chair?
LK: “I had spent the last few years teaching Django but I really was not involved in the community. I had poked around the Django project website before but wasn’t sure where I could actually be of help. I then saw something about DEFNA on Twitter and was excited to find an entry point to getting involved. In general, the open source community has really inspired me to leave things better off then when I found them and I hope for that to be the case with DjangoCon and DEFNA!”
How do you feel teaching Django in an academic context varies from the more “professional” learning tracks (conferences, blog posts, books, YouTube video tutorials, etc.)?
LK: “The biggest difference I have seen from traditional academic classes and more professional learning tracks is that in many academic settings, there is much more support. One of the biggest issue with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s) and other “professional” learning tracks is that you are more or less on your own to figure it out, which in some sense is a great skill to practice, but I do find the traditional academic classroom to be an enabling force for those who might not be comfortable to just jump in and learn something like Django. I know I probably wasn’t ready to do something like that had I not been in the confines of an academic classroom.”
What sort of hobbies do you enjoy when you’re away from the computer?
LK: “In the ever fleeting hours away from my computer, I try to be as active as I can be. I recently took up golf and have really enjoyed the sport for the ability to get out into nature and be totally disconnected from technology. I have also gotten into Formula 1 over the last 2 years and I have really enjoyed watching the races and such.”
What’s the best way for people to get in touch with you if they’d like to know more?
LK: “My Twitter DM’s are open and that is where I am most active. You can also get in touch with me via email: logan at defna.org. I am looking forward to connecting more with the Django Community!”
Thanks so much for your time, and the entire DEFNA board and DCUS organizer community thanks you for volunteering!