Are you interested in using Python in an industry outside of software development? Would adding a few custom software tools increase efficiency and make your coworkers’ jobs easier? This week on the show, Josh Burnett talks about using Python as a mechanical engineer.

I met Josh at PyCon US 2022 in Salt Lake City, which he attended for the first time with several coworkers. He suggested we do an episode to shed some light on ways that Python is being used professionally by people who aren’t primarily programming for a living.

Josh works as a mechanical engineer for an equipment manufacturer, where he needs to perform repetitive tasks and generate copious logs. He explains how he moved his team away from MATLAB and toward Python.

We discuss his progression from writing scripts to developing packages and eventually hosting his work on PyPI. He also shares his explorations with CircuitPython for personal and professional projects.

Course Spotlight: Building Python Project Documentation With MkDocs

In this video course, you’ll learn how to build professional documentation for a Python package using MkDocs and mkdocstrings. These tools allow you to generate nice-looking and modern documentation from Markdown files and, more importantly, from your code’s docstrings.


  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:02:10 – Meeting at PyCon US 2022
  • 00:04:32 – Bringing members of team to PyCon
  • 00:05:30 – What are next generation instrumentation platforms?
  • 00:06:35 – What is the lifespan of a platform?
  • 00:09:26 – Has interconnectivity affected upgrades?
  • 00:10:57 – Programming and Python background
  • 00:12:13 – Introduction to MATLAB at university
  • 00:15:18 – Moving away from MATLAB to Python
  • 00:19:39 – How was your transition from Python 2 to 3?
  • 00:21:19 – Debugging methods and logging
  • 00:22:27 – Why did you choose Python?
  • 00:24:26 – Sponsor: Deepgram
  • 00:25:12 – Promoting more use of Python in the organization
  • 00:33:07 – Selling the idea of Python training in the organization
  • 00:37:16 – Moving from scripts to building packages
  • 00:43:48 – From personal project to critical package on PyPI
  • 00:44:29 – Using PyPI or in-house package repository
  • 00:46:27 – Experience with modern packaging tools
  • 00:48:16 – Video Course Spotlight
  • 00:49:32 – Using CircuitPython for personal and work projects
  • 00:56:09 – Use of 3D printing and machining
  • 00:57:33 – Josh’s projects on PyPI
  • 01:02:57 – What are you excited about in the world of Python?
  • 01:05:23 – What do you want to learn next?
  • 01:08:46 – How can people follow your work?
  • 01:09:07 – Thanks and goodbye

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