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Looking back at 2019, looking forward to 2020

Hi, and welcome to 2020! The last year (2019) was quite a whirlwind for me and my work — and I thus wanted to take a few minutes to summarize what I’ve done over the past year. But the coming year looks like it’ll be just as exciting, if not more so, and I wanted to fill you in on what you can expect.

Let me start off by saying that I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity to teach Python to so many people around the world, both in person and online. Thanks so much for your interest in my writing and work, and (for so many of you) for taking the time to e-mail me with corrections and suggestions. It means a lot to me.

Summary of 2019

  • On-site training: I traveled quite a bit in 2019, teaching in-person courses at companies in the US, Europe, India, and China. (And of course, I’m teaching quite a bit in Israel, where I live.) 
  • Conferences: I attended PyCon in Cleveland, Ohio, where I also gave a talk on “Practical Decorators” and sponsored a booth, where I gave away more than 800 “Weekly Python Exercise” T-shirts.  I also attended Euro Python in Basel, Switzerland, where I gave my “Practical Decorators” talk a second time, and met lots of great Python developers.
  • Local talks: I gave talks to local Python user groups in Beijing, China and Hyderabad, India.  I also met some some subscribers to my “Better developers” list in San Jose, California when I was there!
  • Online courses: I released three new paid courses in 2019:  Intro Python Functions, NumPy, and Pandas.  All three courses include many exercises, as well as video lectures.
  • Weekly Python Exercise: There are now six distinct versions of Weekly Python Exercise, three for beginners, and three for intermediate/advanced Python developers.  Each cohort has been larger than the previous one.
  • Book: My book, “Python Workout,” was released in early edition (MEAP) format by Manning, and is slated to be complete within the next two months. It includes 50 Python exercises to improve your fluency, as well as a lot of background material, additional exercises, and insights that I’ve gained in teaching over the years. I have been very impressed with Manning and all they’ve done to make the book far better than I could have done on my own.
  • Free online course: I also released a new, free online course, aimed at helping people who are interviewing for Python programming positions, called “Ace Python Interviews.” So far, the response has been overwhelming; I hope to get this course out to as many people as possible, to help them get the Python job of their dreams.
  • YouTube: I started a series of videos, walking through the Python standard library.  I had to pause that series in order to do a few other projects, but hope to get back to it within the coming weeks, and thus explain more about the standard library to the world. Subscribe to my YouTube channel to get regular updates!
  • Twitter: I recently started tweeting interesting questions that I get in my courses, along with their answers.  I hope to keep doing this a few times a week, to give short insights about Python based on real-world questions and problems.  Follow me on Twitter to get the latest!
  • Blogging: I wrote a number of Python-related articles on my blog this year, including one about the search path for attributes in Python, which I call ICPO — instance, class, parents, and object. 
  • Trainer Weekly: I continue to write my newsletter for trainers, about training.  If you’re interested in the business, logistics, and pedagogy of the training industry, then feel free to sign up!
  • Better developers: My free, weekly list about Python has grown to more than 14,000 subscribers from around the world, up from about 8,000 subscribers on January 1st of 2019. You can subscribe here: https://lerner.co.il/newsletter.
  • Podcast hosting: After several years of co-hosting the Freelancers Show podcast, I left, along with my co-panelists.  We’ll almost certainly be starting a new podcast in the near future to help people with their freelancing/consulting issues.
  • Podcast appearances: I appeared on a whole bunch of podcasts in 2019, including Talk Python (twice), Test & Code, Teaching Python, and Profitable Python.  I also appeared on the “You Can Learn Chinese” podcast, where I talked about my journey learning to speak, read, and write Chinese. 

What’s planned for 2020

  • On-site training: I’m already booked solid through March of this year, and partly through September. I already expect to return to the US, UK, India, and China, and will try to announce it when I’m in town, to meet up with subscribers.  If you want to book me for in-person training at your company, please reply to this message — we can chat about your needs!  You can even book time to speak with me via this link: https://calendly.com/reuvenlerner/corporate-training-needs
  • New courses: I’m adding two new courses to my existing list. First, I have a new one-day course in “pytest” testing, which I’m very excited to start offering. I’ve also decided to go back to my roots in Web development, and I’m developing a new course in creating Web applications using Flask. The first course is already being taught, and the second will be ready by the spring. 
  • Conferences: I’ll once be sponsoring a booth at PyCon 2020, which will take place this year in Pittsburgh, PA. (And yes, I’ll again be giving out T-shirts!)  If you plan to be at PyCon, please let me know; I’d love to meet you in person.  (I’ve applied to speak, and hope that I’ll manage to get a slot there, as well.)  I am also planning to attend Euro Python in Dublin, Ireland toward the end of July.  I’m open to attending other conferences; if you are running a conference and would like to have me speak there, please drop me a line.
  • Online courses: I’m planning to release 3-5 new courses during 2020. At this point, I’m going to divide things up between introductory and advanced courses. The beginner courses will likely be about working with files and modules, while the advanced courses will likely be about iterators/generators, decorators, and advanced object-oriented programming.
  • Weekly Python Exercise: All six existing WPE cohorts are already scheduled for 2020, with WPE A1: Data structures for beginners starting on January 14th.
  • New Weekly Python Exercise courses: I’m planning to start new cohorts of WPE on specific topics, such as Web development, design patterns, and data science. These will follow the same WPE format, but be on particular topics.  I’m hoping to start at least 1-2 of these by the summer.
  • Certification: A number of people have asked me about certification for my courses. I have some ideas for how I’ll do that, and I’m going to try some experiments with WPE cohorts early this year to see how it goes. I realize that getting a certificate at the conclusion of a course is worth quite a bit, and want to help people to that end.
  • More “workout” books: I’m already speaking with Manning about producing additional “workout” books.  I hope to start on at least one by the end of 2020, and to have a MEAP available for people to start looking, tinkering, and responding.
  • Podcast: As I mentioned above, my former “Freelancers Show” panelists and I are looking to start a new podcast about freelancing in the near future. I’ll announce more details here.  I’m also toying with the idea of starting a Python-related podcast — if you have thoughts about this, please let me know!
  • China: I’m setting up a new company in China to distribute my online courses there, with Chinese subtitles and mobile payment support (aka AliPay and WeChat wallet). I hope to have more details in the coming months, but if you’re based in China and have insights into what people might want, I would be happy to hear from you.  (For now, my Chinese isn’t nearly good enough to teach in the language, so the lectures will continue to be in English.)
  • PySpa training: Earlier this year, my family and I took a vacation to Rhodes, a Greek island in the Mediterranean. It was October, but still more than nice enough to go in the water and enjoy the weather. I’m thinking of offering one or more of my 4-day Python courses at a similar venue, with intensive training during the day — and free time for swimming, eating, and touring at night.  If this sounds interesting to you, then please tell me what you think!

I hope that you also have some big plans for 2020. Best of luck with them, and I hope to see you at one or more of my courses and visits during the coming year.

  • Sanchit Balchandani says:

    Sounds like a great plan for 2020. All the best! – Sanchit

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