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What I learned from interviewing StackOverflow's top Python contributor, Martijn Pieters.

bengineer profile image Ben James ・2 min read

Martijn Pieters is the #1 contributor to Python on StackOverflow. He's probably helped you out many times in your life without you realising.

Martijn has worked on developer infrastructure at Facebook; on Zope with Guido Van Rossum, the creator of Python; and on the framework team of Plone, which is used by the CIA and FBI.

He has made contributions to Python, Flask, and Mercurial, and currently works as an open source consultant.


You can listen to the full podcast here, but I'll summarise/paraphrase some of my favourite parts below.

On StackOverflow

Martijn refers to something that Eric Lippert said: the best way to become an expert on anything is to find a pile of questions that people are asking, and try and answer every one.
Doing this, you will become an expert incredibly quickly.

It's this curiosity that motivates Martijn to answer as many questions with the high quality that he does.

On algorithms

Martijn is a self-taught programmer, and encourages the learning of algorithms and computer science fundamentals, especially if you're self taught.
At one point, he made a conscious effort to learn these topics, from a free online course and textbook - and it influenced a lot of his later work.

Many coding problems are solved the wrong way, even by people who are talented programmers, because they are simply not aware of theoretical computer science and concepts.

The Distinguished Devs podcast is available on iTunes, Spotify etc.
I hope you enjoy this episode, please let me know what you think!

Don't forget to hit follow if you're interested in more of the series!

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Ben James

@bengineer

Maker, Hacker, Writer, Musician.

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