Teaching and Public Speaking

I enjoy teaching and public speaking — sharing what I do, and talking with people who want to learn. I’ve presented at conferences, been a guest speaker in Computer Science classes, and visited high school classes as well.

I began my teaching career at the Goddard College Teacher’s Center in the 1980s as a teenager, helping teachers understand and leverage the personal computer revolution.

My talks in recent years have focused on Python and Django.

Below is a selection of talks and appearances over the past 10 years.


Security Headlines podcast

August 2020

I was approached by Filip for this podcast because he’s a dpaste.com fan. (Listen)


Porting 100,000 lines of Python 2 to Python 3

Django Boston Meetup, September 2019; NERD Summit, March 2020

MassChallenge uses Python and Django for its core application “Accelerate”, the backbone of its operations. I led the upgrade to Python 3. Here’s how we did it and what we learned. (Watch)

Python 3 slide


Agile Software Engineering Process in Real Life

UMass Amherst COMPSCI 320, October 2019

This project-based Sofware Engineering class wanted to hear how the processes they were learning are used in industry.


Move Fast Without Breaking Things: Testing Python Applications

NERD Summit, Amherst MA, March 2019

An introduction to automated testing in general, and what it looks like in Python.

Testing slide


True Tales of Python at Web Scale

NERD Summit, Amherst MA, March 2017

A survey of business-critical Python web applications I’ve worked on, and some tools and practices that go with them – caching, automated tests, code review.


A Cautionary Tale of Analytics and Caching

Django Boston Meetup, October 2016

Some things I learned while connecting a complicated analytics system to a huge web publishing system. (Two engineers from MassChallenge attended this talk; I mentioned I was on the job market, and ended up joining their team as a result.)

Caching slide


20 Million Pageviews a Day with Django

NERD Summit, Amherst MA, September 2015

A corrective to “Python doesn’t scale.”


Introduction to Python/Django for Experienced Web Developers

NERD Summit, Amherst MA, September 2014

Targeted at an audience with experience in PHP and an interest in Python, this talk built on what they knew already to introduce Python and Django.


Using Django to Replace Proprietary Database Tools

Django Boston Meetup, December 2010

At the Hallmark Institute of Photography I built a collection of intranet web applications that replaced custom solutions based on Access, FileMaker, and Excel. (The talk tested my adaptability as a speaker — the laptop set up for my live demo couldn’t be connected to the projector, so I gave the talk from memory and notes.) (Watch)