Python for beginners

Learning Python took me about a month, and I’ve several years of C++ programming experience. I would consider that much time ok for experienced programmers. For beginners though, learning new programming languages (in a useful manner) is not usually as casual as many people would tend to suggest on the internet. Computer systems need a fixed syntax and grammar which needs focus to get used to.

Python is easier than many other languages, but if you’re a beginner, you still need to spend a good amount of time learning. You’ll basically find two categories of books out there: 1) for Web developers/experienced programmers and 2) just the language basics, for beginners. If you’re a beginner to programming, don’t pick the former.

If you just want to write some standalone scripts, then avoid books targeting Web Developers (Web developers would have to learn other topics, like a web framework, HTML rendering, REST APIs, etc., stuff that you can skip). I learnt from the online book Dive into Python, which is a bit advanced. I won’t recommend it if this is the first computer language you are learning. Nevertheless, it’s a great book indeed. If you’re a beginner, just focus on the language syntax, keywords and the style of writing code. The book Byte of Python gets a lot of deserved praise from beginners. You may also try Think Python.

Don’t try to learn by collecting tips from forums on random Python related FAQs. It’s best if you start with a complete book. The forums will come handy later when you have started coding and are stuck at some specific point. I haven’t studied programming through interactive online websites yet; I prefer working with native tools and find practicing on the browser a bit cumbersome. It’s always better to practice coding in the environment you would be working on. Online interactive tutorials will give you a sense of accomplishment, with a quick-start, but without actually building a good foundation. Having said that, there are a few good resources out there.

There are also some very good online video courses available now. For one, “sentdex” on youtube has some awesome content.

Python, and most scripting languages use Regular Expressions for a lot of text operations: it would help you greatly if you learn a bit of RegEx separately first. You have definitely encountered some RegEx already if you’re an active computer user.

There are a few additional things you would need to learn if you’re preparing for Web Development: Web frameworks like Django/flask, file input/output, REST API etc. Pick the advanced topics after you’ve learnt the language basics though. There’s no stopping really if you want to get into web development. Only learning the language syntax won’t teach you enough about making things for the web.





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