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Discussion on: Weeks 6 & 7 Recap - Switching It Up

anitabe404 profile image
Anita Beauchamp Author

Hey Matt,
The courses are difficult to compare. Python for Everybody is a lot more technical than the Google course. It takes you through the basics to some intermediate Python concepts. The Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate is for people with no programming experience. It teaches a lot more soft skills and it goes through some very, very basic data entry stuff (ex. what a spreadsheet is, how to enter data into a cell, etc.).

With that said, I definitely prefer the Python for Everybody specialization because it's more in line with my current level. The Google course feels too easy at times.

mccurcio profile image
Matt C • Edited on

I ask because, Like you, I think I am past the very basics of Python. I feel I need more intermediate-level material, OOPs or ??? So I am re-evaluating Python course material AGAIN.

In one sense, I am feeling dubious about so many courses. I ask myself, Can I do the same on my own? However, I am starting to believe that courses do a couple things for ME.

  1. The prompting are essential to keep the spirits/motivation up, Which is super essential.
  2. On the flip side, I realize that almost and all material can be learned on your own. For example, look at the old stories of Abe Lincoln where he taught himself ALONE in his one-room cabin. (If that is even true???) To me, that shows incredible fortitude to do it on Your Own without a tutor. But is that realistic.
  3. I am feeling cheap. Like a lot of people post-pandemic, I don't want to throw away $10K or even $2K on something I could do myself, theoretically.
  4. I have noticed a new thing (maybe it is just new to me, haha) where people are writing their own "course outlines" or syllabuses for different languages, etc. For this, my question becomes, How authoritative are these syllabuses.

So, on a similar note,

  • How did those Python intermediate books go for you?
  • Was one book better than the others?
  • What topics did you find difficult to fathom?
  • What topics did you feel were key to learn as a programmer?

Note to self: I would love to see someone put together an authoritative course outline/syllabus for different topics. Maybe, some sort of Open-Source Github repo that could be community-written and sourced to increase its relevance. Or does that already exist in FreeCodeCamp, for example?

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anitabe404 profile image
Anita Beauchamp Author

You've made a lot of good points and asked a lot of good questions. Let's go piece-by-piece.

Deciding whether to self-teach is a personal decision with a lot of factors to consider. The primary reason that I feel comfortable going the "self-taught" route is that I'm an energy with over 8 years of professional experience and two engineering degrees (B.S. in Electrical Engineering and M.S. in Systems Engineering). If I was coming from a non-technical background or a technical background vastly different from coding/developing/software, I would probably choose a bootcamp or college-level certificate program.

Being part of a formal program has many benefits:

  • you learn faster since you're not having to wade through so many different resources. There's a path laid out for you and you can focus on following it rather than constantly having to reevaluate if you're going in the right direction or learning the right things.
  • you have access to teachers, mentors, and peers who help you along the journey. This alone increases your chances of succeeding. Working with and studying with others has a way of helping you level up that is difficult to achieve alone.
  • your network tends to be more solid. Many programs have some type of career coaching as well as connections with companies. Additionally, if you have strong connections with your peers and they get a job, they can recommend you to their company.

Like anything in life, doing it yourself is possible, but for many, it comes at the cost of time, effort and quality. If you are going the self-taught route, you'd need to recreate each of those aspects that are built into formal programs. Otherwise, you could find yourself struggling to find a job/pass interviews.

Personally, I wouldn't get caught up on if it's possible to do it myself. I would instead ask, what's the quickest and most efficient way to get where I'm trying to go with the resources I have.

As far as the books you sent, I haven't gotten through much of them as I've been focused on the Python course that I'm in. However, I did like what I saw in the Intermediate Python book. Right now, I'm working on wrapping my head around writing Python scripts that create & modify databases with SQL commands as well as handling data from different file types (text, xml, json). It's been quite interesting. I'm not really qualified to answer what topics are key to learn as a programmer because I'm not a professional programmer. I'm here learning like everyone else.

Whether a curriculum exists depends on what you want to learn. If you're into web development, there's an abundance of curriculums, roadmaps and free programs (including freeCodeCamp, The Odin Project). For other types of development, there's probably free/low cost courses and books. It's just a matter of searching for them. You can also look up university syllabi and curriculums and use that as a base. The sky's the limit. It just takes time and effort and asking questions in forums, on Twitter, etc.

I hope some of this helps.

  • A
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mccurcio profile image
Matt C

Hi A,
Your notes have always been very thoughtful, and filled with great ideas. I appreciate that. Thank you for your effort too.