Tuesday, 28 May 2019

PYLADIES KUMASI MEETUP 1.0

PyLadies Ghana is an initiative under the Python Software Community in Ghana.(Python Ghana) with a focus on helping more women become active participants and leaders in the Python open-source community.

The PyLadies Kumasi Chapter held its maiden meetup on the 23rd Of February, 2019, where young ladies made various contributions towards the betterment and improvement of the community.
There was a talk about lots of diverse issues pertaining to the Python Software Community and how to encourage more ladies into venturing into programming. We were advised to not just have basic knowledge but also develop interest.




Prudence, the main lead of the Kumasi Chapter also broadened our horizon about the use of Github and encouraged everyone to have an active account . A date was later scheduled to teach how use  github. We had Noah Alorwu, Micheal Young and Mannie Young on a panel who also spoke about their individual experiences and also gave us tricks on the Python language.


There was enough to eat and drink at the end of the meetup. There was also time for networking. This enabled us to know each others interests in programming and a lot more. We all shared a little about the Challenges and achievements we've encountered soo far and this was really helpful since many were inspired through the stories shared. 




We are thankful to PyLadies Ghana, The Python Software Foundation and Hapaspace Hub for making this event possible.

This blog was written by Fafa and Prudence.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

PyLadies Night with Martha (An Electrical and Electronics Engineer now a Machine Learning Engineer)

Martha Teiko Teye is an Electrical and Electronic Engineering graduate from University of Energy and Natural Resources. She is currently a backend developer/Junior Machine Learning Engineer at ZlitchTechnologies Limited.
She also has a nano degree in Front-End Web Development from Udacity and a Microsoft certification in Machine Learning. Martha appreciates the power of online communities/forums because they play a significant role in her programming journey. She volunteers to teach coding and mathematics at her free time, loves to watch big bang theory, play chess and toy blast.
Martha looks forward to pursue a masters degree in the field of Computer Science or Machine Learning. Fun fact: She recently started reading and taking interest in comic books (because of Avengers).

Martha Teiko Teye

Tell us briefly about you. I personally think you're power packed. Studying electrical engineering and all. How will you describe yourself aside this?
I'm a tiny little lady who loves to take challenges. Quite troublesome but I think I'm cool.

How did your journey begin? When did you begin considering your field of study?
So growing up, I had wanted to become a surgeon. Even up to final year in senior high school, it was still my dream. But after writing WASSCE I had the chance use my dad's Vehicle diagnosing machine to detect some faults in cars and the way it worked fascinated me. That's when I got interested in the whole engineering thing.
So I now wanted to offer any engineering course I could get. At the time, KNUST was not admitting students with awaiting results so I either had to apply with the Nov Dec results I wrote before WASSCE.  It nearly killed my dreams until I found University of Energy and Natural Resources.
And that's how I ended up opting for Electrical Engineering.

For a dream you birth in only a few months, was it not hard settling in? How did you succeed at this?
It wasn't hard for me but I felt it was a relief. I love mathematics and realizing that Engineering had a lot of maths component in it as compared to me trying very hard to appreciate biology in order to become a surgeon. I only felt a bit scared as people were against that sudden decision.
It did not take long to convince my dad since he is already in the field (he's a mechanic). So I just had to do study harder so as to fail in that regard.

Great. My lesson here is to find something you love and excel at and fuel it for success. You only ignited something you enjoyed. Aside him, did you have any mentors?
Yeah. It was like magic. For the machine to tell you exactly where the faults were located. It was like a problem half solved.
So I had real mentors during my second year in the university. Dr. Mark Amo-Boateng and one other student who was my senior. That was when I actually got to know about this whole programming stuff and got interested.

How easy was it branching to coding?
For me, it was a little challenging. We offered C programming as a course in the second year. I really didn't get the concept well at that time.  So I decided to re-study it during the vacation.

Was there any link between electrical engineering and your new love for machine learning?
Yeah there was. I had an internship at the High Performance Computing Center of UENR where Dr Mark was the head.
He challenged me to first write an algorithm for fingerprint processing and then after, he introduced me to AI. It was really difficult. I had to go download codes online trying to understand. And some did not make sense to me at all. So I had to take the basic courses in AI so I could relate to those codes. We would stay up sometimes up to 2am because he wanted me to figure things out myself. I was using Matlab by then and he advised that I did some python to be able to send data using web sockets to the web. I had not heard of that before so that was how I managed to learn most things.

Wow. The zeal is enviable. Learning is key. What AI and machine learning tools are you familiar with, and how proficient are you in them?
For ML, I use Azure ML. I've worked with Tensorflow and Natural Language Toolkit for the chat project I was working on.

What resources helped you grasp Python?
I mainly used tutorials point. Aside that, I rely on posts and slack channels to learn new and trending stuff.

Are you able to freely ask questions without being intimidated? Especially on open forum where you're scared you may get ridiculed. It's a real hurdle for some of us.
I was scared of asking questions actually. I would prefer to spend all the time finding answers to myself. Three ladies with many gentlemen was quite tough. But they were really helpful. I appreciate them. Some of them never hesitated to teach us after lectures.
That got me to open up.

From what I've gathered, if your aim is growing into a successful coder, you need to know a lot of things. But, for Machine Learning & Data Science, it is pretty enough to master at least one coding language and use it confidently. How true is this?
Because we are Pythonistas, is Python a better option for solving machine learning problems? If yes, could you give us some reasons?
I would say Python too because just recently i took ML course with Microsoft and they insisted we learnt R too but I realized that most of the codes were in python and just a little bit of R resources were used. Python also has a lot of libraries which makes things easier and is also quite simple to me.

Can you point us to sites where we can get resources that are understandable? There are many resources now. Figuring them out is harder than learning the whole thing.
True. I dont want to be baised here but I think for paid resources, Udacity and Microsoft VLIT is very welcoming. I like the way there's a project to complete after every module.

How's a typical day for you like at Zlitch technologies?
At Zlitch I am always on my PC. I do mostly backend stuff. So more of writing API's for most of our clients work. Sometimes I write codes to sort out students data since for future predictions and analysis since most of our clients are schools. I work at anytime of the day. Because we sleep at work.

This must be interesting. What do you do to stay on top of changing technologies?
Also do share your contact for those who will want to reach out for Mentoring, collaborations and to learn.
Continuous learning!
It's something I learnt when I started creating my e-learning platform. I am using angular and started with angular 4 now we have angular 7 and things are not the same there.
Also, I could be reached via mail; martha.teye9@gmail.com or martha@zlitch.net

QUESTIONS FROM PARTICIPANTS
What advice will you give to a total beginner to programming?
For a beginner, I would say once you start, never stop practicing. Also try and attend hackathons and conferences. At least there's one motivation you might take home with you.
And also one thing I forgot to mention. Volunteer.... Even if your knowledge is little volunteer. I thank the organizers of Django girls because volunteering to coach actually taught me to do my first project using Django

How did you manage during your school days, I mean in the University, because I'm also in the University now, and I know in school you learn so many courses that are not even related to your field of study and most times lecturers give lots of crazy assignments here and there and presentations and at the end most times you spent a whole semester just like that,  so tell me how did you cope with all this?
The truth is when I started staying up to debug my code instead of revising, my grades started dropping. I was not bothered because it wasn't so much.
It is really difficult combining the two. But I would advise you to make sure you keep grades up whiles pursing your programming passion. Perhaps you could create a timetable for both. Also, if you're in your final year, I would advise that you focus on finishing while trying to get links to study after school.

Is there anything you wish you had known or done better at the early stages of your journey?
I wish I had started learning programming at a very early stage. Even before I had to take that course in second year. I would have been very proud of my achievements by now.

What's your approach to studying programming and how do you approach mentorship?
Initially I was used to being taught something first before I would bother learning. But I've realized, that just by hearing someone talk about some nice technologies, you should be ready to read about what it entails and see how best you could apply it to what you already know. When studying programming you'd be tempted to try every language. But we should learn to be master of some particular areas and then have the others as hobbies.
For mentorship, don’t wait for your mentor to tell you what to do next. Try and be inquisitive. I've mentored a few girls and I realized they had the same problem I had before. Being scared to ask questions.

How do you balance social life and work?
My social life is boring, (Aside playing games and going to church) so work takes majority of my time. I'm not the going out and having lots of friend’s type.

How many hours were you dedicating to learning to code when you were a novice?
I used to have tutorials from 9pm to 12am spend the rest of the time trying to do an assignment if my tutor gave me one. And then sleep afterwards to prepare for lectures the next day. This happened for one year until my tutor graduated.


COMMENTS/REMARKS
I loved the session. It was beyond awesome! ~ Jida Asare

Martha, you're an inspiration. Really proud of you. ~ Gina

You're a gem and your work is amazing, I'm inspired to do more. ~ Edinam

Thanks a lot Martha, I’m really inspired. ~ Sandy




Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Competing in the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Datathon 2019

WiDS Datathon took off from the 29th day of January,2019 to the 27th day of February,2019. This was an online competition that saw the participation of 203 teams from all over the world. The aim of the challenge was to create a model that predicts the presence of oil palm plantations in satellite imagery. The partners of the Global WiDS team, Planet and Figure Eight provided us annotated dataset of satellite images taken by Planet satellites. The dataset images had a 3-meter special resolution and more importantly, each image was labeled 0 or 1 depending on whether an oil palm plantation appears in it or not.

Some images of the Dataset used


Our task was to train a model that takes a satellite image as input and outputs a prediction of how likely it is that the image contains an oil palm plantation.

My team (Data Wranglers) were made up of two other members who happen to be the main contributors, Aseda Owusua Addai-Deseh and Kwadwo Agyapon-NtraWe were given the liberty of using any framework for our data analysis. Initially, we used Pytorch and then Keras to build our model but we finally settled on Fast.ai. After training our model with the satellite images, performing validations, testing and fine-tuning the model several times we  ended up with a prediction accuracy of up to 0.99526. This earned us the 110th position on the public leaderboard. The winning team had a prediction accuracy of up to 0.99957. Yeah, I know exactly what you are thinking, Wow! This competition was keenly contested and you can find more details here.

The journey through this one-month challenge taught me a lot, as WiDS gave us guidelines on how to go about the challenge and gave us resources to study with to hone our Data Science skills. WiDS introduced me to Kaggle.com which provides tutorials on Data Science related courses. This platform helped me a lot in my journey. Anything Data Science catches my interest now thanks to this competition.
My team had Abigail Mesrenyame Dogbe, the Lead for PyLadies Ghana, coaching, motivating and cheering us on the whole time.My team members were also very supportive and encouraging throughout the challenge. I had very limited skills in Data Science but they helped me study with weekly study outlines and materials.

Aseda Owusua Addai-Desseh
Aseda is the Lead for the Data Science, AI and ML group of PyLadies Ghana. She is a Data Scientist and a Software Engineer at minoHealth AI Labs in Accra.
She's passionate about using emerging technologies such as Data Science, AI and IoT to solve problems in the society.




Dorothy Ewuah

Dorothy is a final year IT student at the University of Ghana Legon. 
She has an interest in teaching others how to code and also manipulate data. More importantly, she has a passion for design, data manipulation and Software Development.




Kwadwo Agyapon-Ntra
Kwadwo is an Entrepreneur in Training at MEST. He is passionate about Africa and how technology and business can be used together to effect positive change on the continent, especially with the use of AI and Machine Learning.
You can find out more about Kwadwo here: https://kantra.xyz.




This competition was one of a kind and taught me a whole lot. If you are a Data Science enthusiast, try your hands on opportunities like these and you will love how the challenges given will drive you to go beyond your limits and broaden your horizon in terms of skills and knowledge. There are many books and tutorials for beginners in Data Science. Get some of these resources and practice. I can assure you an experience you will not want to depart from.

Data Science is the real deal now!

This blog was written by Dorothy Ewuah.

Python Applications - Python Ho April Meet Up


Photo credit: 4k Creatives

Just as we ended our first meet up on February 1st, 2019 with much energy and vim to come back and pick up from where we left off, we decided to revisit something very basic but important during our second meet up - Python Applications.

TL;DR

why Python Applications as a theme for our April meet up? 

we all have had the experience of learning to code and writing basic commands in a new language which we're just getting started with and get lost all of sudden being overwhelmed with loads of tutorials and just marking time from one blog post to the other teaching the same thing - over and over again!

"learning to code is a good thing, but actually building a product or solving a problem is the Key" - and that's why we decided to put our Python skills to great use by building real world applications and hence our April meet up's focus.

Our April meet up was practical based focusing on

  • web development using the Django Web framework, 
  • web scraping / scripting

with a balanced attendance of 18 members between our male and female community members this time round.

@osamfrimpong, a freelance software developer and a medical student - community lead and our guest took time to well structure his presentation on Scraping the Web with Python with a hands on project to further explain certain technicalities and the tools needed to successfully write a scraping script in Python and why the need for / or to Scrape data from the Web.





Photo credit: 4k Creatives

Both an interesting talk / presentation for anyone who is barely new and fresh to programming in Python programming environment.

After which we looked at how we can quickly develop applications for the web using the Django Web Framework written in Python by building a simple web blog - presentation done by @kafuialordo - a freelance software developer and a community lead.






Looking at the Django architecture and why the need to use framework in developing or building applications.


Photo Credit: 4k Creatives

It wasn't just talks/projects/presentations, we had an after party and a network session to get up and close with one another from the community and how we can build/sustain it together.

Our April meet up was organized by the help of @PamieXaxhex @osamfrimpong @kafuialordo and Rasha

We couldn't have come this far with another great success and a successfully meet up without the support of @ThePSFPython Community GhanaPyladiesHoPythonHo and a great shout out to @thedonkarlos  and @Official_HTU #CSDepartment for Hosting us.

We appreciate all your time and efforts and contributions towards this meet up, see you in the next one.

😄😍😘🥤💪👏👋