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Quansight Labs: what I learned in my first 3 months

Published July 21, 2020



Matti Picus

I joined Quansight at the beginning of April, splitting my time between PyTorch (as part of a larger Quansight team) and contributing to Quansight Labs supported community-driven projects in the Python scientific and data science software stack, primarily to NumPy. I have found my next home; the people, the projects, and the atmosphere are an all around win-win for me and (I hope) for the projects to which I contribute.

I am not a newcomer to Open Source. I originally became involved in PyPy as an after-hours hobby to hone my developer skills, and quickly became enamoured with the people and the mission. Over the years my efforts in the open source world moved more mainstream, and in 2018 I took on a full-time position working on NumPy, funded through a grant to BIDS. Since April 2020, I have moved to Quansight Labs as a full-time developer.

Quansight Labs is a subsidiary of Quansight LLC, and Labs' mission is "Sustaining the future of open source". It does this by gathering together an amazing group of software developers and letting them loose on a variety of open source projects: Numpy, Spyder, Jupyter, conda-forge, Numba and more. Of course, the developers do not only volunteer their time. Quansight Labs is sponsored via

I personally split my sponsored time between PyTorch and NumPy, and in my free time contribute to other projects like PyPy, helping with Python packaging, and more.

In the past three months I have met a whole new group of developers. We all work remotely, and meet up on Slack and video calls. In the past, the entire team would meet once a year or so, until face-to-face gatherings were put on hold. But that does not stop the interactions. The organization, with over 20 developers, has little hierarchy. Interactions are direct and it is customary to meet up for virtual coffee or just to chat. Since we all come from different places and backgrounds, there are specialists with deep knowlege in many fields: mathematics, C++ and GPU programming, Javascript and web technologies, UX, testing, and more that I have not yet explored. The synergy makes it a win-win for all involved. When I get stuck, a world-class expert is available and we can all help each other move forward.

Lucky me, you say, but why am I bothering to share my good fortune and make you all jealous? Here is one take-away for the experienced developers out there, keep posted for more as my journey progresses.

I was very hesitant to make the leap into a new career. I am no spring chicken, and I was worried that I would not be able to find a suitable position. I only began my software developer career late in life after I tired of electrical design and contracting. But I am here to tell you that even an old dog can learn new tricks. I began my open source chapter as a volunteer, which improved my programming powers and led to meeting people outside my usual circle. This led to the NumPy grant that led to Quansight Labs. So if I could do it, others can too.

Joining Quansight Labs was definitely the right step for me. I hope you also find your paths enjoyable and rewarding.

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