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Welcome Kirby Urner, Python Wrangler

Our school continues to grow at a healthy pace as we add courses, enroll students, and recruit the best mentors on the planet. When we released the Python 1 and Python 2 courses at the end of 2010, they were extremely popular and we found ourselves in need of an additional instructor to help keep up with the demand and maintain the high quality of mentorship we offer our students. We went in search of a dedicated and positive Python expert who could step in and start mentoring right away. Fortunately, we didn’t have to look for long because O’Reilly School of Technology Python course author Steve Holden recommended Kirby Urner for the position immediately. Kirby has been an active contributing member within the Python community for many years, presenting at Open Source and Python conferences since 2005. Since he began working as an O’Reilly School of Technology mentor, students have expressed a real appreciation for his deep Python knowledge, unique turns of metaphor, and engaging conversation style.

We’ve been gratified by the popularity of the first two Python courses and the subsequent release of the remainder of the Python series. Last December we experienced a record-setting month of student enrollments. That rush of enrollments is one indicator that we’re offering students the right courses and that the courses are effective. While we’re encouraged by the increase in enrollments, it’s also had the unintended consequence of delaying this introduction. (We apologize for that, Kirby, though, if anybody knows just how busy we’ve been, it would be you!) Kirby has actually been an O’Reilly School of Technology instructor for over a year now. We’re happy to have him and to welcome him to the O’Reilly School of Technology crew officially.

We had the opportunity to get to know Kirby during our annual retreat in February of 2011. He made a lasting impression on us, not only through his work, but in sharing some of his experiences as a world traveler, philosopher, and humanitarian.

He is a valuable asset to O’Reilly School of Technology, and a great advocate for students and the Python programming language. At long last, please help us to give a warm welcome to Kirby Urner.

  • Mike S.

    Is Steve Holden also one of the mentors/instructors for the Python series? Which other instructor(s) along with Kirby handle the Python courses?

  • Will B.

    Kirby has been my instructor in the Python 1 course and I must say, with both his deep knowledge of the language and his uniquely personable teaching style, I have seen more growth in my development than I would have ever expected from a programming certification program, let alone a single course. His wisdom is just one more reason I look forward to completing the entire Python series!

  • O’Reilly School of Technology

    Mike, Steve Holden is the author of the series but does not instruct students. While there are other mentors who pitch in with Python from time to time, Kirby is lead mentor. We hope to add another instructor solely dedicated to the Python series this year.

    Will, thanks for your comments, I am happy to hear that you are having a positive experience!

  • ChazD

    Amen to WillB’s comments. Mr. Urner is an outstanding instructor, and the Python 1 material is very, very good. The end-of-lesson projects for Python 1 are challenging but manageable but most of all well-defined, particularly if one read the lesson material closely. I particularly like projects being well-defined rather than open-ended.

  • Mary, Class of ’82

    Kirby was my high school math and humanities instructor! I had him for advanced math my junior year and honors humanities my senior year. I can tell you that waaaaay back then, he joined the faculty at my school after graduating from college, and had some very big shoes to fill. Three of our nuns died tragically in a fiery car crash the week before. Two of the three were “THE” math department, and Kirby took over several of their classes. Needless to say, many students were traumatized and not necessarily on the same page as their nstructors, both literally and figuratively. Kirby was a great teacher, a truly brilliant person who encouraged us to THINK! Glad to have stumbled upon this bio.