On November 14 and 15, 2018, the EPITA Paris campus was home to the second edition of the international PyParis conference. It was the perfect opportunity for all Python language specialists from France and elsewhere to stock up on knowledge, thanks to fifty-some talks on subjects ranging from pure technology to education. In addition to being a partner to this event organized by the Systematic Paris Region competitiveness cluster, EPITA also participated in the PyParis program with three presentations given by Robert Erra, director of the EPITA Security & Systems Laboratory (LSE), Lionel Auroux, teacher-researcher and member of the LSE and the Prologin association, which founded the Girls Can Code!
Stéfane Fermigier, Organizer and CEO of the PyParis committee
PyParis 2018 through the eyes of ... Paul Guénézan (EPITA class of 2021) and Garance Gourdel, respectively president and vice-president of the Prologin Association
What was the goal behind your presentation?
Garance : We wanted to give an overview of all the Girls Can Code! programs (GCC) that we have organized up until now as well as the changes that this initiative has undergone since it was founded in 2014. And obviously, as we were at the PyParis conference, we also chose to speak about our approach to Python and why we feel that it is important to teach this language to participants.
Paul : GCC is special in the fact that it only proposes practical work in Python. Moreover, at Prologin, whether it is with the GCC or the French National Programming Contest, Python is a language that we have supported for many years.
Why Python and not another programming language?
Paul : Because it is quite easy to learn! Contrary to C, for example, there are no semicolons or other possible complications. Python is a rather high level language that is very close to pseudocode, and therefore fairly easy to master. Also, unlike Scratch, Python is a language that may be used in "real life". Hence, if the Girls Can Code! participants start learning the language with us, they will then be able to use it at home!
Garance : The other advantage of Python is that it allows us to propose activities that genuinely interest the participants, who are often drawn to video game design, which normally requires more advanced programming skills. Python makes it possible to acquire these skills without being a true computer whiz.
How did it feel to participate in an event that brought together so many experts?
Garance : It was strange and a bit intimidating to be one of the speakers. But, we were really happy to be able to speak about Prologin and this initiative that we are so proud of. What was even more interesting was that our talk was part of the PyParis Education Track, a category that is somewhat different, with presentations in French that are open and free of charge to all interested teachers. Teaching computer science in France, particularly in high school, is something that we feel very strong about. This is why we must speak about it as much as possible and get teachers from all around France to discover Girls Can Code! This is truly the best way to draw in new participants!
Paul : We also spoke with people who were very interested in our approach and our activities, which is a good sign.
...and Lionel Auroux
(Re)discover the video of the entire PyParis2018 conference with Stéfane Fermigier, conference organizer and president of the program committee, Robert Erra and Joël Courtois, managing director of EPITA