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Open Source at Zopa

Recently we were contacted by the Python Sprints Meetup – a group that wants to encourage people to contribute to Open Source via workshops and sprints. One of our data scientists is a core contributor to PyMC3, so we  hosted a development sprint with 15 tech enthusiasts to teach them how to make their first contribution.

A development sprint is a few hours of intensive learning and development on an Open Source project of your choice, in a team environment. It’s a time to come together with colleagues, old and new, and share what you’ve learned and apply it to an Open Source project.

Why Open Source is important to us

At Zopa, we in the data chapter love using Open Source tools, particularly the PyData stack, which includes tools like jupyter, Pandas and scikit-learn.

Open Source at Zopa allows us to be more innovative and we engage with the community on a day-to-day basis. In fact it would be impossible for us to do our jobs without the likes of Stackoverflow or Github. We’re always discussing new Open Source libraries – in fact one data scientist recently introduced us to PyGMO – and throughout the company, our developers use tools such as Kafka, Kubernetes and Ruby on Rails. As a technology company we consider our use of Open Source as part of our competitive advantage, because it enables us to deliver new software, software updates and data insights faster.

However, one of the challenges of Open Source software is sustainability, so we consider it important to help foster the Open Source community and make a meaningful contribution to developing some of the cool tools we use.

So how did we contribute?

In the crucible of a sprint room (in our case our main kitchen overlooking the Thames!), it was a time to test, fix bugs, add new features, and improve documentation. It was also a great time to network, make friends, and build relationships that go beyond the event.

As part of our workshop we had a brief introduction to the code-base, and our volunteers helped get the workflow for Pull Requests – a mechanism for contributing code to a project – set up. We provided power, beverages and moral support.

We also had other core-contributors call in and speak about the PyMC3 project, and help review Pull Requests. By the end of the event we had four people make their first ever contributions to Open Source, which we hope will go some way towards helping the Open Source community to continue to grow.

Sound like fun?

Zopa is built on best in class technology and data analytics so Open Source is very important to us, helping to deliver our customer-focussed products at speed. As we grow, we especially welcome people who are keen on making contributions to the Open Source community.

We regularly host tech and data science meetups at Zopa so if you’re interested in attending or you’re looking for a venue to host your next meetup, please do get in touch, by emailing techtone@zopa.com

And if working at a company with a great tech culture and which is on a mission to make money simple and fair for consumers sounds of interest, then we’ve got a range of data and tech roles available at the moment.