Python and Me; Or, Going on Year Three

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I started learning the Python programming language a little over two years ago now. I have kept ample notes and now want to share some of my documentation of the learning process with the world.

It has been a long ride. I have learned much, yet I’m still very much a beginner. Learning to code was not what I thought it would be. In many ways, it was much better, but it was also much more difficult than I had anticipated.

I do think, though, that if I could learn to program, anyone could. It takes a lot of discipline. One has to be dedicated. One has to practise everyday and do lots of reading through documentation. But it is doable. I am proof of that.

I started knowing very little about programming. The only programs I had ever written were in BASIC about 30 years ago where I copied them out of a textbook line by line. I knew enough HTML to maybe edit an HTML file and get it to actually work every once in a while. I didn’t even know CSS, though, and so for all intents and purposes, I really was starting from scratch.

But I did it. I’m not any good, but I can write programs that work. They are simple programs, but every day they get a little more sophisticated. It’s actually not all that mysterious. I wish they had just taught us to program in school. If they could teach us trigonometry, they could teach us Python just as easily.

We had French classes in school and they were able to teach us French grammar. I am starting to think that Python’s grammar is much more simple than French grammar. I do think that in many cases it would be easier to learn to write in Python than it would be to learn to write in French. Writing properly in French takes a whole lifetime. I know people in their 70s and 80s and beyond who still make grammatical errors. Surely, experienced Python writers are likely to still make mistakes, but you know what I mean. It doesn’t take a lifetime to learn to code, at least code something or other, even if it is simple.

Python, however, is much less forgiving than any language like French or English. I can still communicate in English, say, and make mistakes. What I mean is that I won’t get an error message slapping me in the face. And that’s actually what made it so much easier to learn. Imagine learning a new language, like German or Italian or something and having your very own private interpreter. They are there all the livelong day, telling you about every single error you made. Like a personal German teacher. And they never let a mistake slip by. So you tend to learn pretty quickly, even if only by trial and error.

In any case, I hope to start posting more often on this blog, sharing my experience with Python with the world. Stay tuned for updates. 🙂

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