Joel Burton
+1 415 513 2470

Hi. I’m Joel.

I’m an expert developer, trainer, and writer. I’m also the Director of Fellowship Education for Hackbright Academy, a software engineering school for women. In that role, I oversee our education department, develop our curriculum, and lecture on web application development, particularly focusing on Python and backend development.

Previous to that, For 12 years, I worked as a consultant and trainer, primarily in Python-based and web-based projects. These tended to focus around Django, a powerful web application framework, or Plone open source content management system. I’m one of the core developers of Plone and have played numerous critical roles in shaping, promoting, and steering the project.

As a consultant, I’ve helped plan and build large-scale websites for magazines, NGOs, corporations, and universities. Some projects I’ve helped launch are: Discover Magazine, the Albuquerque Public School System, Use Propane, The Century Foundation, and the Partnership for Food Safety Education.

Under the name “Plone Bootcamps”, I’ve taught dozens of weeklong classes on Plone and Python programming, web development, and good practices for contemporary development (such as test-driven development, agile methods, and team programming). I have over a thousand students from my public courses and have taught private courses at over a dozen universities and corporations, including: Oxford University, Harvard University, the University of Virgina, NASA, the New Zealand Ministry of Justice, the UN Voting Rights Project in Stockholm, the Nature Conservancy, and Penn State University.

I've presented at over two dozen professional conferences, including several international Plone Conference sessions, PyCon, EuroPython, and O’Reilly’s OSCON. I’ve been a keynote speaker on the future of Python web development and on building successful open source communities.

I do have a full-time job, and am not currently looking for other employment opportunities. However, I’m always happy to hear from people with similiar interests or to discuss teaching or talking at conferences. You can reach me at

As a volunteer, I work with the technology aspects of San Francisco’s awesome Bicycle Coalition, and am a senior member of the leadership of San Francisco Sex Information, where I am a board member, trainer, and supervisor on our information switchboard. In support of SFSI, I direct our education efforts and also wrote and maintained the software we use to integrate text message/SMS into our information switchboard.

My academic background is in Computer Science (with a focus in cryptography) and Women’s Studies.

My interests include political and social change activism (particularly around gender and sexual rights; I worked and volunteered for years within the abortion rights movement), reading and writing contemporary fiction, photography, and games and puzzles. In support of the last interest, I authored and support two different programs for playing crossword programs collaboratively with friends: a fully featured desktop application and a lightweight HTML5 application. I’d be delighted to do a crossword together online with you sometime; just ask!

I live in San Francisco, California, along with two excellent cats. I throw nice dinner parties. I read good stuff. I take fun pictures. It’s nice to meet you.

— Joel