Ewa Jodlowska, Python Software Foundation Executive Director

Interview With Ewa Jodlowska, PSF Executive Director

While I was at PyCon Africa in Ghana, I got to meet Ewa Jodlowska, the Executive Director of the Python Software Foundation(PSF). Ewa and I discussed her role at the PSF, the work she’s involved in and a little about her personal life. This post is a summary of our chat.

The Python Software Foundation

From the PSF Mission Statement:

The mission of the Python Software Foundation is to promote, protect, and advance the Python programming language, and to support and facilitate the growth of a diverse and international community of Python programmers.

When Ewa Jodlowska got involved with the PSF she worked solely on PyCon, but her role has evolved over the years,
she worked as Director of Operations for a while and now she’s the Executive Director of the Foundation.

I asked Ewa what the PSF is and what it does.

Ewa explained that the PSF is:

“in basic terms the non profit behind the Python language and its community. It runs programs to help support various aspects of the community such as infrastructure.

Outside of infrastructure we also support things like the Grants Program which is a way that we are able to financially fund community involvement all around the world. Mainly that is in the form of events. So anytime someone wants to do a Python training, workshop, Django Girls, PyLadies workshop, or a conference, we try to help support them. We also fund development of Python software. For example, If a library wants to port to Python 3 or or if there is a CPython sprint, we try to fund as much of it as possible.”

The infrastructure that the PSF supports includes python.org where people get documentation as well as download Python, bugs.python.org, which is an issue tracker for the Python language, The Python Package Index, the Python mailing lists and other internal infrastructure.

If you’re interested in submitting a grant request or want to know more about the Grants Program, follow this link.

Ewa shared a recent Grant Program success story with me that was the Python Week of Code Event that
took place in Namibia in August 2019. Python Week of Code introduced Namibian High School students to programming and Python. The PSF supported the event by providing funding for the venue, travel, and accommodation for the facilitators and attendees.

Jessica Upani and Ngazetungue Muheue, two kind, hard working, and overall extraordinary trail blazers from the Namibian community were part of the organising team of the Python Week Of Code. Jessica and Ngazetungue had been collaborating with Ewa Jodlowska over email for a long time and got to meet in person at PyCon Africa. I asked Ewa how it felt to meet the pair and other event organisers in person at PyCon Africa:

“It was very great to meet the organisers of the event in person for the first time.
It makes it so much more impactful to actually see the people that you’re working with and supporting, it’s amazing.”

This is what Ewa had to say about what a pan African PyCon means to her:

“To me it means collaboration, especially coming here and seeing all the regions of Africa represented, working together and discussing some of the challenges that everyone is facing. It has just been tremendous to see the passion that is coming out from everyone whether it’s about education, PyCon or development. It’s just been truly remarkable.”

Ewa mentioned that she enjoyed being in Africa because she got to connect and talk to many people she’s been collaborating with online for many years now. I could tell from talking to her that being at PyCon Africa was a very emotional and pleasant experience for her.

PSF Membership

The Python Software Foundation has a multi tier membership program that is open to the public. Ewa to broke it down and explained how it all works.

1) Basic Members
The first bottom level is Basic. Becoming a Basic member involves signing up on the website,
denoting that you want to be a Basic member and that’s it. Through that membership you help
reinforce to the world that the Python community is growing and it helps reflect that growth.
you can sign up for Basic Membership here.

Basic Members are not eligible to vote.

The following membership classes are eligible to vote anytime the PSF has an election or when by-laws change in a major way.

2) Contributing Members
People who dedicate at least five hours per month working on Python-related projects that advance the mission of the PSF where the work relates to the creation or maintenance of open source software available to the public at no charge.

3) Managing Members
PSF Managing Members are people who dedicate at least five hours per month working to support the Python ecosystem in one or more of the PSF’s Working Groups – by helping organize community events such as PyCons, coding workshops or running infrastructure.

4) Supporting Members.
These are people that don’t necessarily have the time to contribute but can contribute to the PSF financially.
They make an annual donation of about US $99/year to sustain the Foundation and support the Python community.
Supporting members are eligible to vote.

According to Ewa, it is possible for one person to be in all of these levels.

5) Fellow Members
This is the last membership and highest level of recognition the PSF can give to a person. Fellow Members or PSF Fellows are individuals that have shown a lot of dedication to the Python community in various ways over a certain period of time.They are nominated for their extraordinary efforts and impact upon Python, the community, and the broader Python ecosystem.

Fellows are nominated from the broader community and elevated by a vote of the Fellow Workgroup which consists of only-fellows.The Fellow Workgroup reviews nominations quarterly, and then votes on them and after the quarter is over the new fellow members are announced.The most recent fellow from our community to receive this honour is Aaron Yankey from Ghana.

Python Developer Survey

Every year, the PSF conducts an official Python Developers Survey that sets out to identify the latest trends and gather insight into how the world of Python development looks each year.The survey helps map out an accurate, up-to-date landscape of the Python community. Ewa Jodlowska works in organising and overseeing the survey.

The survey is done in collaboration with JetBrains. To avoid bias, JetBrains does not promote the survey but only provides staff that actually creates the survey and the design. The PSF takes on the responsibility of distributing the survey to the global Python community.

I asked Ewa to talk about the most recent survey.

“The first developer survey got only a couple thousand responses, but the 2018 survey received over 20 000 responses from more than 150 countries.
It was really awesome to see that and we hope that this year, when we do the survey for 2019 it will be the same.”

Vuyisile: Were there any respondents from African countries?

Ewa:

Oh yeah, absolutely. There were respondents from over 150 countries.
I would say that all of the countries that we know there’s Python activity happening,
we’ve received responses for. The PSF made sure to distribute the survey to all of our
Python Africa colleagues to ensure that they are putting it on their mailing lists,
whether it’s in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, or Uganda to make sure its there everywhere.

Here are a few interesting facts from the 2018 survey:

  • Half of all Python users also use JavaScript
  • 59% of Python developers use Python for Data Science
  • Python is mainly used for game development as a hobby, while web development, machine learning, data analysis, and software testing are mainly performed as primary activities
  • 84% of developers use Python 3
  • Most survey respondents work for companies with 51 – 500 people

For more information about the survey read the results here.

Personal Interests

Ewa talked about some of her personal interests outside of Python.

Vuyisile: Besides Python, what do you like to do? What are your hobbies?

Ewa:

Ah! That’s a great question. I recently got a puppy, he’s 16 months old and we have a lot of fun dealing with his energy because he’s very energetic. I’m also learning how to play the violin which I started learning 3 years ago, which is pretty late in my life and its very difficult, I can’t say I’m a pro but I’m definitely getting there.

If one thing comes out of it, its that I was able to learn how to read sheet music and If that’s the only thing I got out of it that’s a success!

That was all we had time to chat about. I enjoyed meeting Ewa Jodlowska and having this informative discussion with her. I would like to thank Ewa for her time and allowing me to publish a summary of our discussion.

2 comments on “Interview With Ewa Jodlowska, PSF Executive DirectorAdd yours →

  1. The research notes and Ewa’s interview answers are articulated with such coordination and eloquence in the article that you can feel the passion these people have for what they do, so much that despite being scattered across the continent they feel and call themselves a ‘community’, great job!.

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