Thursday, January 18, 2024

Announcing the Deputy Developer in Residence and the Supporting Developer in Residence

We’re very happy to welcome Petr Viktorin as the Deputy Developer in Residence! Better yet, he is joined by Serhiy Storchaka as the Supporting Developer in Residence. This transforms the residency program into a full blown team! We couldn’t be happier.

It’s exciting to be able to begin to realize the full vision of the Developers in Residence program, with special thanks to Bloomberg for making it possible for us to bring Petr on board. The initial idea behind the Developer in Residence was to have three to five people hired directly by the Python Software Foundation to help with developer efficiency at CPython, where most of the contributors are volunteers. Three to five people is a good amount to allow for handling both day-to-day tasks, as well as planning and executing on larger-scale projects.

We were only able to start with a single Developer in Residence, initially sponsored by Google for the initial year, and by Meta for the following two years. We were clear that adding more developers in residence would multiply the impact of the role but, of course, the big question is funding. Fortunately, the success of the initial one-person program allowed for a new sponsor to participate, interested in extending the program with another developer. Thank you, Bloomberg!

We announced the job opening back in July, and the interview process was extensive. The Foundation received close to 100 applications, and it was a very tough decision, as most were excellent candidates. One surprise in particular was that despite the Deputy role being described as targeting programmers of various experience levels, we received many more applications from Python core developers than during the initial Developer in Residence job opening.

Naturally, the core developers bubbled up in the interview process. We were especially impressed by Petr Viktorin’s experience with maintaining Python at Red Hat, his interest in the C API, and his long-term existing contributions to Python. Given the transformative recent developments inside the interpreter in terms of performance and scalability, Petr’s skillset was the perfect match. We’re excited he accepted the offer!

However, there was one more person who we were also ready to hire on the spot: Serhiy Storchaka, a rare example of a core developer generalist, with plenty of C experience and contributions across the entire codebase. Consistently one of the top most prolific contributors to Python, we felt like we needed to secure him as a member for the Residents team. Unexpectedly, a generous anonymous donation allowed us to hire Serhiy as well. Thank you!

We are calling the role the Supporting Developer in Residence to make it clear the funding level here isn’t as high as in the Deputy case. Please contact us if your organization can help sponsor Serhiy to bump him to the Deputy salary. Serhiy sure deserves it!

After an initial meeting with the Steering Council, the Residents team is now ready to take on a more active role in shaping the development of the language. The Council advised that while every team member is expected to prioritize unblocking other contributors and keeping the developer experience smooth, with three people on the team each Resident can now also spend a percentage of their time on feature work aligned with their interests.

There are some exciting times ahead for Python!