Mentored Sprints for Diverse Beginners at PyCon US 2020

A newcomer’s introduction to contributing to an open-source project.

Mentored sprints banner


🎉✨ The mentored sprints for diverse community members are back for PyCon US 2020 online!✨🎉


16-17th May 2020 online!


The event runs from 9AM-9PM PDT on May 16th, covering timezones in the US, Europe, and APAC through the morning of May 17th.

Check the Americas + Europe friendly time slot.

Check the APAC friendly time slot.

Applications timeline

Now closed


If you are not a member of an underrepresented group of the community and want to take on the sprint, we encourage you to bring someone from an underrepresented group with you.

About the sprints

Open source projects such as Python and its multiple stacks(web, scientific, etc.) are nothing but a collaborative effort from many community members. It is the constant involvement of the numerous maintainers, contributors, and users that make open-source software sustainable and keeps the community as a whole going.

Walking the path from user to collaborator, and thus contributing to an open-source project, can sometimes be intimidating especially for newcomers. From a technical perspective, interacting with web-based hosting services (such as GitHub, GitLab, etc.), branching and opening pull requests can be overwhelming if these are not everyday actions of your workflow. The correctness of the code and potential bugs are other common obstacles and fears any newcomer might face. Not to mention the time and frustration accumulated over the task of finding a ‘beginner-friendly’ issue to work on.

We also recognise that some groups are traditionally underrepresented in the open-source community, and we would like to support them in their open-source path. For these reasons, we are running for the second time the PyCon mentored sprints for individuals from underrepresented groups willing to start contributing to Python projects. This event will provide a supportive, friendly, and safe environment for all the attendees and partner open source projects.

To achieve this goal, we are seeking to work with several Python projects and their maintainers interested in providing mentorship to these individuals. In return, we will provide guidance and advice on how to prepare the projects for the day and to better serve a diverse range of contributors.

Why do we need a mentored sprint when we already run sprints within PyCon?

The PyCon sprints certainly offer an excellent opportunity to get contributors and developers together and to squash several bugs in a relatively short time. However, with this happening at the end of the event many people, particularly less experienced developers, are not able to stay around for this additional time, or cannot easily justify attending an event for an an extra day or two. Also, a good amount of the people that attend the sprints are often comfortable doing so and in many cases have made multiple contributions to open source before or are, in fact, developers or maintainers of open-source projects.

This mentored sprint focuses on providing less experienced developers with a supportive environment in which they can learn, collaborate, expand their network, and celebrate their victories at the end of it.

Furthermore, it serves as an excellent opportunity for some open source projects to get some practical advice around inclusion and how to serve a global and diverse pool of contributors. And perhaps establish longer-term mentor-mentee or contributor relationships.

What projects will you be sprinting on?

PyCon US is the biggest Python conference organised every year, thousands of developers, teachers, maintainers, and aficionados attend the event every year. As such, it provides a unique opportunity to bring together creators, maintainers, and users for a few days.

By running similar events in smaller conferences, we have learned that the attendees (and projects) get much more out of it by having maintainers, organisers and attendees working together. This way the maintainers of a particular package can provide directed, effective and in-person mentoring to a group of individuals and the attendees feel more confident and usually leave with a higher sense of accomplishment.

Projects that took part in 2019

We want to thank the source maintainers and mentors who signed up and participated in the 2019 mentored sprint! This would not have been possible without you.

Say hello

If you would like to contact the organisers for any business related to the mentored sprints, please send us an email to

About the organisers

  • Tania Allard Tania is a Senior Cloud Advocate at Microsoft focusing on Machine Learning, scientific computing, research and open source. She is also the founder and organiser of PyLadies NorthWest UK and contributor to and maintainer of several open-source projects.

  • Nina Zakharenko. Nina is a Principal Cloud Developer Advocate at Microsoft, focusing on Python. Before joining Microsoft, she was a Senior Software Engineer with over a decade of experience writing software for companies like Reddit, Meetup, and HBO. In her spare time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, and tinkering with wearable electronics from her home base in San Diego, CA.

  • Cheuk Tin Ho Cheuk is a Developer advocate at Terminus DB and one of the co-organisers of AI Club for Gender Minorities and Python Sprints in London.

  • Valery Briz Valery is a software engineer, the co-founder of Python Guatemala and co-organiser of PyLadies Mexico City.

  • Katia Lira Katia is a DEFNADO board member as well as one of the co-organisers of PyCon Latam and Django CDMX.

  • Zac Hatfield-Dodds Zac is a cybernetics and computer science researcher at the Australian National University, and an enthusiastic open source community member and developer. What remains of his free time is usually spent reading books, savoring chocolate, and camping in the bush.

Code of Conduct

By attending the mentored sprint at PyCon 2019, you are also accepting to uphold PyCon and the PSF’s code of conduct. Please take a moment to read it through at


We welcome your contribution to this documentation. Propose a PR on our GitHub repo.

Quick guide:
  • Fork our repo on GitHub.

  • Make your changes to your fork.

  • When you’re happy with them, submit a pull request back to our repo.

Have ideas but no time today? Or do you need ideas on what to do? Check out our issues page. Any change, no matter how large or small, is welcome!


This document uses the PyCascades Welcome Wagon as the base document, and modified for our purpose.