Learning to code in Python: a beginner's journey
In today’s post, we hear from Magali, Recruitment Coordinator, as she shares the challenges she faced coding Python for the first time.
But first, a few words from Mike Silley, Product Manager and Learning to Code teacher, on what inspired him to start the course in the first place:
"Learning to code can be a daunting experience. There are so many languages, so many resources, and so many complicated concepts; it makes it hard for aspiring coders to even know where to start! In fact, I've seen many people start coding with the confidence and excitement one has when starting a great new adventure. The difference is that this adventure can have such a steep learning curve that most people fall off the edge and quit within a few weeks. This is why I wanted to create a set of courses that would bring people together to learn to code in an environment that promotes longer term learning.
I chose to offer classes in learning Python because it is relatively easy to learn and the language itself has a lot of flexibility in what it can be used for. GetYourGuide has been a perfect place to host these classes. The keen interest for learning Python has been expressed by an overwhelming number of my colleagues, and since we work in tech, we are lucky to also have brilliant software developers who have offered their time to tutor our class when needed."
Massive thanks to Mike, who is living up to our #commitment core value by dedicating his time to teaching these classes!
Taking the First Step
Working in recruitment for a tech company, I heard certain tech terms mentioned repeatedly from day one. At first it was a bit intimidating to hear about all of the different projects the engineers were working on, but it also made me interested in challenging myself and learning to code.
Then, Mike pitched his “Learning to Code in Python Class” and I decided to enroll. Before he presented his idea, I didn’t know much about the language, besides the fact that our engineers use it. Having a better understanding of engineering in general, the terminology, and how to tackle certain issues sounded like a useful investment.
Every week the course is prefaced with some instructional videos and reading material on the weekly topic. After watching the introduction and reading the theory, you’re ready to tackle the assignments.
When completing the more difficult assignments, I noticed they required a very different approach than my usual day-to-day tasks. With coding, there is a very clear goal (since the desired output is usually given or hinted at) and I needed to translate this into steps that made sense. But, once I had decided on the steps, I realized there was still a lot that could go wrong.
Writing code requires a lot of precision. It can be frustrating not to understand all the error messages, unsure if I moved through the wrong steps or just missed a small detail. In completing the assignments, I had to hunt for missing plus signs, parentheses and commas on numerous occasions, and I’m sure I will have to continue these little hunts in the future.
Although the assignments are difficult, seeing even the simplest lines of code give the desired output is very gratifying. Even though I don’t have much technical knowledge yet, there is still a lot I can try!
I’ve only taken my first steps with Python and learned the absolute basics, and I have to say it is undoubtedly challenging. It requires a different approach and a very good understanding of the problem at hand. That being said, getting excited about the possibilities while learning a useful new skill makes it worth the time and effort.