addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupsimageimagesinstagramlinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1outlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruseryahoo

Fundamental topics night

Welcome to another installment of our Fundamental Topics series, thanks to InsightSquared and Solano Labs for sponsoring!

All of the talks at this event are perfect for motivated beginners and intermediate programmers looking to level up their Python and programming skills through a mix of theoretical and practical topics.

The talks will be live-streamed and recorded and available at Thanks to CustomMade for making it happen!

Tonight we'll cover:

1. Names and values (Ned Batchelder)

Ned will make us all experts with the ins and outs of assignment. Learn about mutable and immutable data types, and why this bit of code behaves the way it does:

nums = [1, 2, 3]
tri = nums

2. Basic data structures and analyzing algorithmic complexity (Jessica McKellar)

When should you use a dictionary versus a list, tuple, or set? Have you ever written code that seems like it should run quickly but takes forever? We'll break down what data structures are efficient for various use cases and practice analyzing the runtime complexity of our algorithms.

3. Virtualenv and pip (Giles Hall)

virtualenv creates isolated Python environments, so you can work on multiple projects simultaneously without causing problems in one project by upgrading or uninstalling Python packages for another.

pip is a tool for installing Python libraries.

Giles will help us master both of these tools and develop a clean routine for starting new projects.

4. How to find answers to your questions (Deb Nicholson)

90% of programming is knowing how to confidently and efficiently find answers to your questions!

Join or login to comment.

  • Andres A.

    I enjoyed the night and learned a lot.
    Ned, would you please post the 5 or 6 commands that you used to select the winners of the book raffle? Thank you!

    September 24, 2013

    • Ned B.

      people = [...]; import random; random.shuffle(people); pick = iter(people); next(pick); next(pick); ....

      September 25, 2013

    • Ned B.

      Sure: people = [...]; import random; random.shuffle(people); pick = iter(people); next(pick); next(pick); ....

      2 · September 25, 2013

  • Michelle G.

    will the livestream be available in an archive for future viewing?

    September 24, 2013

  • Jeremy G.

    Couldn't make the event, so I watched the livestream from home. Thanks so much for making that an option! Very helpful presentations for a beginner/intermediate python user.

    September 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    This was my first meetup and it's made me feel very inspired to participate in the next project night. Thanks, everyone!

    September 24, 2013

  • Henry "Trae" Winter I.

    Great Meetup! I learned a great deal. Many thanks to the speakers and organizers. My only regret, having to leave before the trip to the Mead Hall. :(

    September 24, 2013

  • Timothy C.

    Killer presentations on some fundamentals. Nice and clear articulating presenters.

    September 24, 2013

  • Ned B.

    My slides were based on this (long) blog post: . The slides themselves may not be as permanent, but are here: . (use right and left arrows to navigate).

    September 24, 2013

  • Samuel M.

    Woo Hoo won a book in the raffle, and the raffle showed a nice method (random.shuffle) I wouldn't have expected!

    September 23, 2013

  • Jean B.

    This is the best tech meetup I have been to in Boston. The talks were clearly described ahead of time and then actually aimed at beginners as promised. Also, it is clearly a group that welcomes and values female programmers. I will be back!

    September 23, 2013

  • Giovanni Di M.

    Very interesting topics!

    September 23, 2013

  • Jessica M.

    A PDF version of my slides for "Important data structures and when to use them, or, why is my program so slowwww?" are at

    2 · September 23, 2013

  • Shwetha B M

    I and my husband registered for Fundamental topics night, unfortunately we are on waiting list. We live in Nashua, we are not sure whether to drive to Cambridge for checking the availability. Do you think we might get a slot to attend the event? or Is there any possibility to increase the slots for tonight?

    September 23, 2013

    • Ned B.

      You were at the very head of the waiting list, so you're in now.

      September 23, 2013

  • Himanshu

    Hi Can we move the project nights and tutorials on any other day then monday?. I really want to attend but I have classes on Monday evening ? :(

    1 · September 23, 2013

    • Ned B.

      We don't have a fixed schedule, it just happens that October's events are on Mondays. November and beyond looks better for you.

      September 23, 2013

  • Chichi S.

    Is there enough parking around the building?

    September 23, 2013

  • Chuck M.

    Can, or will you cover suggestions / pitfalls regarding use of virtual env by separate groups on a network? Can one base Python install serve different masters with virtualenv? How does IT lockdown interact with virtualenv?

    September 18, 2013

    • Chuck M.

      Agreed. It did say Master this topic, so I asked. Answering with a no is quite reasonable.

      September 18, 2013

    • Steve W.

      Getting around IT lockdown was the first thing I wanted to know about virtualenv. Everybody seems to assume one has permission to run pip or easy-install. Or that you can easy-install virtualenv!! I found so little info about the subject that I finally used a more primitive technique.

      September 21, 2013

  • Janet R.

    Will the talks be recorded? I see some of the monthly meetings are, and I'm way down on the waitlist.

    September 20, 2013

  • Norman M.

    I am interested in using Python as a tool for developing problem solving skills in middle and high school students.

    1 · September 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Can beginners attend this as well and hope to understand what's going on? I'm more of a front end developer, but I am definitely open to adding Python to my skills.

    September 17, 2013

    • Ned B.

      Sure! The event description says, "All of the talks at this event are perfect for motivated beginners and intermediate programmers ..."

      1 · September 17, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Alright! thanks for your reply..

      September 18, 2013

  • PL

    I'm excited to learn more about virtualenv and pip

    September 17, 2013

Our Sponsors

  • EverQuote

    EverQuote is sponsoring pizza at the October 20th presentation night.

  • InsightSquared

    InsightSquared is supplying drinks for the 10/20 presentation night.

  • Plone Conference

    Plone Conference is sponsoring the Sept 20th presentation night.

  • Dun and Bradstreet

    Dun and Bradstreet is sponsoring drinks after the 9/20 meetup.

  • Akamai

    Akamai is hosting and sponsoring the October project night

  • Better Outcomes

    Better Outcomes is sponsoring the 9/6 presentation night.

  • Datawire

    Datawire is feeding us on August 24th!

  • FormLabs

    FormLabs is sponsoring the July 19th presentation night

  • Twilio

    Twilio is buying pizza at the July 6 project night.

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy