Python Confessions

Books that advertise teaching you anything in some short time frame can be misleading. There are very few things where it really only takes a few minutes and a few tries at to learn. Even learning how to change a flat tire on your bike takes practice. So when books about programming advertise that they can teach it to you in a day, I’m super skeptical. Learning any new language, human or computer, takes time and practice. Even those who are trying to encourage students to start learning and keep up with it will use these statements like “Python is so easy!”, “I picked it up in just a few hours.”, etc.

Let’s have a little confession time here:

  • It took about 20 hours of exposure to the Python syntax before I really felt like I wasn’t blindly throwing code into my document. This, however, does not mean that I had “learned” python.
  • I have cried over code.
  • I have spent hours working on stuff that ended up being three lines of code.
  • There is documentation that I still don’t understand.

Thus, I feel like the following things must be said:

  1. You don’t have to know or do any crazy math stuff to learn how to code.  Search out learning materials not centered around math if that isn’t your thing.  That being said, eventually you will have to deal with numbers.  But trust me, it’ll be fine.
  2. I like math better now after learning how to program.
  3. Just like learning any other language: learning the vocabulary will be easy, but learning how to write or speak in coherent statements takes practice.
  4. There is no universal learning tool. Try everything and figure out what works for you.
  5. There are people who really want you to succeed and will be happy to help. But the rule of the internet still stands: some people are jerks. Don’t be discouraged. Seek out a supportive community.
  6. Hours of fighting against code that doesn’t work can often be the best method of learning.
  7. It will be hard.
  8. It will get easier.

Any other words of wisdom?  I’ll keep this list updated as I learn and fail with my adventures in Python.

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