Mentored Sprint for Diverse Beginners at PyCon US 2019

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


We are running mentored sprints for diverse community members ✨

  • When: 4th of May 2019 during the main PyCon session fom 2:30pm to 6:30pm but you can participate for 2 or 4 hours.
  • Apply to be a mentor on the day or feature your open source project:
  • Apply to participate as a contributor (sprint on the day):
  • Volunteer for our Git Helpdesk (4 volunteers needed): Help new contributors with git/GitHub, such as cloning repo, creating branch, committing, resolving merge conflict. sign up form

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 recognize 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 the first ever 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 a number of Python projects and their maintainers interested in providing mentorship to these individuals. In return, we will provide guidance and advise 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 a great opportunity to get contributors and developers together and to squash a number of bugs in a relatively short period of 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 extra day or two. In addition, 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 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 a great opportunity for a number of open source projects to get some practical advise 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 organized 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, organizers, and attendees working together. This way the maintainers of a certain 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.

Say hello

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

About the organisers

  • Tania Allard is the founder and organiser of PyLadies NorthWest UK and contributor to and maintainer of a number of open source projects.
  • Mariatta is a Software Engineer at Zapier. She is active in the open source community as a Python core developer and has contributed to various other projects. She helps organize PyLadies Vancouver meetup and PyCascades conference.
  • Nina Zakharenko. Nina is a Senior 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 Portland, OR.
  • Nikoleta Glynatsi is a PhD student at the University of Cardiff. She is a member of PyData Cardiff, maintainer, and main developer or Arcas and the Axelrod Python library, respectively, coach for Django Girls and frequent volunteer for a number of PyCon events.

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.