To be frank, learning a new language is no easy feat. For someone with no prior experience in programming or computing, learning a whole language like python might seem like an impossible task. However, with all things alike, nothing is quite impossible unless you think it is. Here, I share with you some of my tips to learn the most popular programming language in 2020.
Learning without a goal is one of the worst mistakes you can make. Without a motivating goal, you will easily lose track of why you are learning the language in the first place. I wrote this from experience as I had tried to pick up C and Java before without any success. Both end up in failure as I had no idea where to apply the language and soon gave up the idea of learning. Without any use cases, I also did not manage to learn past the syntax of those languages.
However, things are different when I’m learning Python. Learning python is part of my plan of picking up data science skills and shift my career into an analytics one. Hence, I am not learning python just for the sake of learning. I need a working knowledge of python to work on data analytics, require understanding an array of libraries to start on my projects. I have a bigger purpose to learn python.
Setting an initial goal is getting the job half done. Find an application for the language you are learning and you will be one step closer to mastering it.
There is no lack of resources online. My only advice is not to rely solely on one. Make use of the vast variety of resources available that utilised different mode of delivery to enhance your learning experience. Here are some of the resources I used to learn python;
Complete Python Bootcamp and Python for Data Science covered the basics of python programming and libraries essential for data science. These courses come in the form of video lectures with Jupyter notebooks as assignments.
Datacamp and Dataquest are great platforms to code while you learn for data science. They provide an interactive environment for you to practise as you go, allowing concepts to stick and familiarise yourself with coding. For general python, check out learnpython.org for similar delivery. A programming language is similar to natural language, practise and practise is the way to learn.
Computation Thinking using Python by MITx teaches python in a classroom-style manner. This is best for you if you miss attending on-campus lesson as lectures and assignment are given on a weekly basis together with a mid-term and final examination. What differentiates them from other MOOCs is the programming assignments they gave. These assignments are well thought of and require learners to code basic algorithms which serve as a great exercise for logical thinking.
You would not know how much you know unless you apply what you learned. Project is a great way to assess your knowledge and definitely a great addition for your resume. Work on a project that interests you and you might just learn much more than going through courses. Practical application is always the best approach to learning a technical skill.
As an example, I myself work on translating a Machine Learning Course material from MatLab to python codes. I spent a whole month coding every day, googling and getting hang of the language. I strongly believed that this has contributed much more to my mastery in python than any courses I took. You can read more about the project here.
Having a GitHub profile is a must if you plan to move into the tech space. You can find helpful sample/starting codes for all kind of application that you want to build and even contribute to interesting projects. So what does GitHub got to do with learning python? Almost everything. Programmers learn from copying codes and GitHub is just a great repository of codes in one place. There are a few ways you can learn python from GitHub:
That’s how I pick up python in 6 months. You can certainly do it too, let me know how it goes in the comment section.