2021, Online

Help us make PyCon India 2021 even more amazing

PyCon India is a grass-roots, volunteer-driven conference. What that means is every year for the past 12 years, Python communities across the nation have come together to help plan, organize, manage, and run the conference. The conference is operated entirely by volunteers from planning to finding the speakers to managing call for proposals to handling the mega event successfully without fail.

Things you should know before volunteering

Before you volunteer to help the community make the conference even more amazing, there are a few things you should know:

  • There is a lot of work that goes into a conference, and all of it is done by the volunteers. So, naturally, volunteering requires a lot of time and effort, and some activities like running outreach and social media, building content, and finding speakers, a lot more than others. So, make sure you can allocate sufficient time to your volunteering efforts.

  • If you are engaged in a volunteering activity while a session is going on, you might not be able to attend that session. If someone needs your assistance with a task, you need to be there. So, plan your conference schedule accordingly.

  • Volunteering does not provide you a free way into the event. At PyCon India, everyone needs to buy a ticket, even the organizers. We volunteer because we love the Python programming language and the community, and want to make this event great, not to get a free pass to the conference.

Workgroup - Group of people responsible for the execution of specific tasks focused on a particular aspect of the conference mandated for a given team. The workgroup is also responsible for setting guidelines on the team's working.

Volunteers - The workgroup, along with its volunteers, execute various tasks as agreed within the workgroup. Each Workgroup consists of several volunteers who assign each other tasks, complete the assigned tasks, and help manage the group.

What do you get out of it?

You might be wondering, what will you get out of helping us make the event better? What will you gain for providing the conference hours of your time?

Other than having an insight and say into the decisions and the direction of the conference you will be attending, there are also some other benefits to volunteering too.

You will get to meet many exceptional people, many of whom are recognized experts in their field. Along with the industry leaders and experts, you will also get to meet a plethora of new people who are working in Python and other open source communities. Some of them might even be developers and contributors to the software you use, and you’ll get to interact with them and get some insights into the development process.

You will also get first-hand, practical experience in managing an event, working with a team, and the open-source development ecosystem. You will get to learn how large-scale, real-life projects work, and what is it like being an important component of the massive machinery behind all the community events. You will get the chance to work alongside some amazing people, from whom you can get to learn a lot if you’re willing to learn.

What’s expected from conference volunteers

All the aspects of the conference are managed by the volunteers. There are a variety of workgroups you can volunteer for:

  • Program WG
    • Talks
    • DevSprints
    • Workshops
  • Code of Conduct WG
  • Communications WG
    • Design
    • Content
    • Social Media
    • Outreach
  • Diversity WG
  • Finance & Tickets WG
  • Mentorship & Editorial WG
  • Platform WG
  • Review Panel
  • Sessions WG
  • Support WG
  • Technology WG

We don’t have any specific requirements for our volunteers. Any contributions to any area of the conference which will make the event better are welcome. If you need any help with any work, feel free to reach out to any of us at our Zulip channel.

All the workgroup leaders and volunteers have a weekly meeting to brief about the progress in their respective workgroup so that everyone's on the same page.

The Shadow Program

The shadow program is meant to be a way to mentor volunteers to take up the workgroup/conference chair role for the subsequent conference cycles. It is like an apprenticeship model.

Shadows for a workgroup are expected to devote more time to their workgroup and have to be there when needed. They are expected to be a workgroup lead for later conferences.

You can read more about the program on the PyCon India Navigator.

Getting started with volunteering

Now that you’re aware of what it takes and what it means to volunteer, if you wish to help us make the conference even better with your contributions, you should start with:

  • Filling our Volunteer form, which will let our team know you are interested in helping out. The leads for the workgroup you're interested in helping will contact you.

  • Joining the mailing list to stay up to date with all the happenings, discussions, and overall progress of the conference preparations.

  • Join our Zulip channel and follow the workgroups you would like to contribute to. There you can meet all other volunteers, and discuss and share your work with others.

  • You can also pro-actively "Watch" the following repos on GitHub where you can stay up to date with the progress of various tasks and even contribute where you feel you can help. Feel free to actively participate in any discussion, open an issue, or file a Pull Request for any contribution you feel will be helpful to the conference.

If you have any questions, please drop a mail to the mailing list, but make sure to check the mailing list archives, for previous discussions, before posting. You should also check out the PyCon India Navigator, containing the experiences and guidelines from previous organizers, which might be helpful to you in your volunteering journey.

Happy volunteering!

Credits: Parts of the article were inspired from:

Wanna help make PyCon India even more amazing? Join the team! Volunteering for PyCon India 2019, PyCon India 2019 Volunteering for PyCon India, PyCon India 2015 Become A Volunteer, PyCon hyderabad 2018 Volunteer at PyCon AU, PyCon AU 2019