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Jason Shockley
Jason Shockley

Posted on

Is memorization the key?

I just started working through “python the hard way”. When Zed says to learn all the python list shortcuts, does that mean to memorize them? I just wanted to start typing and maybe reference the list as I go. Is this wrong? Also, my spouse says I’m too old for this, I’m 37.

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kyemasa profile image
Kyem

LPTHW has a very specific way of teaching Python that may or may not work for you. I can't remember the exact part of the book you're referencing, but I know he does say to memorize and drill certain things like escape sequences and logical operators.

I find memorizing some things helpful because of how my brain works. I don't want to have to look up things like syntax every time because it breaks my focus, for example. I find a combination of memorization (I use Anki flashcards) and building projects help, but it's important to figure out what works for you. There are definitely other
resources to learn if you want to try out other approaches, and it's up to you how you want to progress through the book :)

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Jason Shockley

Thank you, honestly I have no idea where or how to start that’s best for me. I’ve been getting super pumped about coding while listening to the podcast at work, but when I get home I get swamped by children. I’m also ordering a raspberry pie so I don’t have to borrow a computer.

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Kyem

In terms of what feels best for you, think about how you learn best and what engages you well and what you have the capacity to do given whatever life situations you currently have. There are tons of free resources out there and a lot of people that will recommend doing x or z, but that might not fit into how you process information or work for your circumstances. Define some clear goals and take a little bit of time to explore.

I think CodeCademy is a decent place to get an introduction because it teaches you syntax in a very friendly way. The lessons are shorter and easier to consume, so it might be helpful if you have kids. You can access the Python 3 course with a free trial. Have fun and you got this :)

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Jason Shockley

Thank you. Since, I do t have a computer,yet (can’t do LOTHW yet), I started practicing on freecodecamp. This has been the only thing in 20 years that makes me feel confident and excited. You’re right about setting goals. I have yet to do this.

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Dennis Tobar • Edited on

Hi Jason, just in dev.to I shared (in Spanish) a post about how learn to learn.

In my opinion, we must learn to know what is possible with languages instead of memorize some functions. If you don't remember a function, just look in language reference or Stack overflow: after 10 years in web development, I still looking the name for delete whitespaces at end of line in python (is it trim or strip???).

Try learn to basics and key functions, not memorize them, use your memory for something more special: birthdays, pay the bills, leave comments in posts, etc.

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Jason Shockley

Thank you. That’s very encouraging. I haven’t really used a computer in 15 years or so. I’m relearning my online presence as well.

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Tim Rohrer

Hi Jason,

I'm in a similar boat, except I'm older (55) and my break from coding was over 25 years while I was on active duty in the Navy. Much to my surprise (haha), computer science changed a bit since the late 80s!

For me, I just have to keep pushing, and slaying dragons (i.e., problems I have making a block of code work). Bit-by-bit though, I'm finding I'm solving these challenges faster, asking for help a little less, and gaining more confidence. But, it has been a multi-year process, and patience has been a virtue.

But if programming is what you want to be doing today, then perhaps you'll appreciate my own personal reminder. And that is to cut myself some slack, ask for help, write about my challenges, and simply be persistent.

Best of luck!

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Jason Shockley

That’s very thoughtful, thank you. And thank you for your service.

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Dennis Tobar

If you are trying something new, go step by step learning new concepts every day and applying old ideas to new code. You could do some codewars to apply concepts.

Keep going, and if you need ideas, share thoughts, or anything else, we will stay here :)