Learning Python – From a single acorn grows…

Ok, so…it’s time to get started. I thought the best thing to begin with would be to do a bit of research regarding available resources for beginner Python students.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have dabbled on and off (although very lightly) with learning Python, using some starter resources over the last year or so. This means I already have a short list in my mind of those resources and courses I’ve stumbled across so far that seemed half decent, and wish to revisit in a more serious manner.

It seems to me like there are a million and one different resources for beginner Python students, offered across a whole range of platforms – from starter, browser based sites like www.codecademy.com  that take a few hours to sift through, to free MOOC courses provided by bricks and mortar universities and offered through dedicated platforms like EDX  and Coursera that can take a couple of months to complete a single course.

Combine that with untold amounts of hard copy (and e-reader version) books, coding blogs and paid course providers like www.teamtreehouse.com and www.udemy.com and what you’ve got can be seen as either a gold mine of information to be explored, or an absolute headache of a choice.

I must admit, when I started out I was a little hesitant to spend too much on any paid courses, thinking I would first make sure learning Python was something I was going to stick with, and preferring to sift through the free MOOC courses on offer. A year in and I now regularly fork out for various courses offered through Udemy (great site! – but more on that some other time), so my “go to” resources have changed somewhat, even just over a single year.

Anyhow, I’m going to assume that anyone reading this has taken a similar approach to me and wants to whet their appetite without shelling out their hard-earned, at least until they’re confident that they want to stick with the learning process. Rome wasn’t built in a day and in my experience, learning to code can be an infuriating process…you’ve got to make sure you want to do it!!

If I remember correctly, the first site I ever found myself on was www.codecademy.com taking the Python course available there. It’s not a bad place to start as the whole app is browser based, meaning there is no need to go through a manual installation of Python onto your local machine; this takes a lot of hassle out of the process for those who have absolutely no programming knowledge, and perhaps even pretty limited experience with computers as a whole.

The course took me a couple of weeks to trawl through, putting in a couple of hours here and there. It was an ok introduction for someone like me who had pretty much no experience, although some do criticise it for being slightly abstract, doing everything in its little sandbox environment while perhaps missing the big, overall picture. However, the big, overall picture can come later – at the start it’s about just seeing the syntax, getting used to looking at screens of code you don’t understand and taking the time to think about things in a new way.

If you want to see what a bunch of other people have said about the course, check out:

https://www.coursetalk.com/providers/codecademy/courses/python

So the next few blog posts here will concentrate on breaking down the list of resources mentioned above, try to point out the positives and negatives of each and perhaps shed some light on a decent first few steps to move from absolute novice to slightly less ignorant beginner. Everyone has to start somewhere right…?

Until next time…

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Written by s666