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Evan the Barber
Evan the Barber

Posted on

New to coding

I chose to start my coding journey trying to learn Python first and hopefully become proficient in others. Any tips or pointers are always appreciated.

Discussion (6)

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djuber profile image
Daniel Uber

The Python wiki has a set of guides for "non-programmers" or total beginners available here. I'm sure there are other resources you could start with but this list is maintained by the python community specifically for your use case. There are also courses available for python on courseware sites like Udemy or Coursera if you prefer video lessons (Coursera you can use free if you only watch videos and don't need graded assignments, Udemy's courses I think are only available if you pay).

Once you get the basics of the language down (you're able to write programs that run correctly, even if they don't do much) you'll probably want to branch out a little, and most importantly learn to experiment on your own. Any of the books or sites you find will show you how to solve small problems, in one way. You'll see a lot of code and learn a lot of useful techniques, but the most important skill you will need, and won't find in a book, is learning to experiment and explore for yourself, and solving problems you might not have seen already. Some of the code challenge sites like exercism can help you with this, and you'll probably get exposed to lots of the language you might have missed on a first reading.

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Tyler V. (he/him)

Python is a great language to be starting with!

My biggest advice to new developers is to always read the error messages - they're intimidating at first, but if you can dissect error messages you'll be able to fix things much quicker!

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Christopher Cooper

I'd say the dummies books by Wiley are a great reference book to have when starting out. They go into good detail but from a very basic level. I've not tried the Python one but the C and Java ones have helped a great deal with coding for my degree.

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Michael Currin • Edited

Indeed, you need to work independently. If you don't have a mentor or a degree to give going structure, then you have to find material for yourself from courses, tutorials, videos and reading code on GitHub.

If you need ideas on what to build, there are sites which list things from calculators to businesses so you can get ideas. "Idea Bag" site and app is a nice place to look. And ask your friends. They'll ask you to build them a web site or a web scraper or a game or something they will use and you can create together. it can feel more rewarding and less lonely than building a portfolion code that no one has found or uses yet (sharing your repos on blogs helps).

And it is a journey that continues. After a few years in software, I probably spent even more of my weekly learning new skills and applying them on projects than when I was a beginner.

Be patient with yourself and balance opinions from articles and people. A lot of opinions will be strong and will conflict. Don't focus on what is "best" but rather what is a good tool and what is an appropriate situation for it. Whether that thing is a library, language, paradigm, ...

There is no "best car". Even the fastest sports car has it's downsides and won't have the pulling strength of a truck or the agility of a thin and light bicycle.

I do think Python is a fine choice for a beginner language and a career and you'll complement that with frontend or mobile app or whatever language skills you need as you go on.

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Sabine Emden (she/her)

Hi Evan! If you are a total beginner and have no previous coding experience, I recommend Python for Everybody by Charles Severance.