Learning any programming language requires a lot of patience, perseverance, commitment to action and above all, a keen interest and love for the language! Python programming is increasingly becoming popular among millennials both in India and abroad owing to its vast career scope. However, when it comes to computer programming, ‘learning how to learn’ becomes the most critical skill ever.
Python is a highly dynamic programming language, which is quite easy to learn and provides powerful typing as well. Besides having a natural tint to it, it is extremely readable and manages to run on any platform ranging from Windows to Linux to Macintosh, Solaris etc.
The simplicity of Python is what makes people gravitate towards it. Its’ aesthetic quality includes a highly readable language, clean visual layout, lesser syntactic exceptions, interpreted typing among others and its flexibility to fit in many platforms. Python also finds relevance with Artificial Intelligence (AI) which is the next big advancement in the tech world, besides offering an array of framework for developing websites like Django, Flasks, Pylons etc.
Clearly, there are ample reasons to learn Python Programming as it will definitely add another feather to your cap! Also, anyone can learn it, like really! So, we bring to you 10 simple and useful tips which will enable you to learn Python Programming.
- Code everyday: Practice, and only practice makes a man perfect! Therefore, consistency is of supreme importance while learning a new language. Committing to 30 minutes of coding every day will build up your muscle memory which is so important for programming.
- Write your heart out: As you embark on the journey of being a new programmer, you should be in the habit of making notes for long term retention. Especially in the case of those working to become full-time developers, one must have handwritten notes to aid them for interviews as several interviewers will involve writing code on whiteboard.
- Start being interactive! Whether you are learning about basic Python data structures, or debugging an application; the interactive Python shell will be one of your best learning tools. To use the interactive Python shell, ensure that Python is installed in your computer. To activate the Python shell, you just need to open your terminal and run Python or Python3.
- Take breaks: While learning, it is important to at times walk away from whatever you have absorbed so far and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Notably, the Pomodoro technique is widely used and is effective as well: work for 25 minutes straight without any distractions, followed by a short break and then rinse and repeat! Breaks in general are important as it is good to look away from the screens every once in a while, and especially when you are debugging! In case you hit a bug and cannot figure out what is wrong, take a small break and maybe discuss the issue with your peers. Missing even a quotation mark can ruin your effort altogether. Therefore, it is important to work on Python with fresh eyes.
- Become a Bug Bounty Hunter: Once you start writing complex programs it is inevitable that you will run into bugs in your code. However, you should not let these bugs ‘get’ to you and instead reimagine yourself as a Bug Bounty Hunter. While you struggle with debugging as you will during your early days, lay out a methodological approach to help you find where things are breaking down. Following an order while going through your code will provide you awareness that each part is working as it should or not.
- When you come to the point where things might be breaking down, insert the following line of code into your script import pdb; pdb.set_trace() and run it. This is known as a Python debugger which will drop you into an interactive mode. The debugger can also be run from the command line with python -m pdb <my_file.py>.
- Expedite your learning through collaboration.
- Surround yourself with other learning peers: Though coding is a solitary activity, it is actually better to work together. A peer group is important when learning how to code. This way, you can relish both constructive criticism and discussions as well.
- Teach: The best way to learn something is to teach it! Same goes for Python, which you can do through whiteboarding with other Python lovers, writing blog posts, explaining new concepts and recording videos sharing the knowledge which you gained all this while. This way your learning will also solidify as it may expose any gaps in your understanding.
- Pair Program: It is a technique wherein two developers working together on a common workstation to complete a task. The two developers would switch between the roles of being a driver and navigator. The former writes the code while the latter helps in problem-solving and reviews the code as it is. Switch frequently to get the benefit of both sides. This arrangement has a lot of benefits: it gives you a chance to not only have someone to review, but also to find out other peoples’ approach to your problems. Ask many questions as you can! Like they say, if you ask a question, you might look like a fool for a minute, but if you don’t ask one, you might remain a fool forever! Similarly, where Python Programming is concerned, there are no bad questions! Frame your question properly, describe the problem and the context and outline all issues which require fixing.
Follow the aforementioned tips and your are good to go! However, the one thing you should not underestimate in programming is the significance of building something. Doing exercises can only take you so far, the real process happens on the ground when you actually implement your knowledge. It is recommended that one you start building once you get solid grasp on basic data structures.
You don’t need to be a Zuckerberg to build something, so no pressure! The journey of building your very own product is extremely fulfilling and satisfying and speaks volumes for your learning and capabilities.