Project Python: Part 1

The above image is so far from being representative of my coding abilities, but it’s royalty free.

What is ‘Project Python’? Well, two weeks ago, I decided to take up the challenge of learning a programming language. The prospect of being able to code has interested me for years, but I’ve always viewed it as being esoteric and requiring a decent grounding in maths (a popular myth, apparently), so I’ve never pursued it – until now.

I set my sights on Python – a programming language with a name inspired by the ‘Monty Python’ comedy series – about a month ago after watching a documentary about the late Aaron Swartz – who was proficient in many things, and Python was one of those. I have registered on the computer science equivalent of Duolingo, a website called Sololearn, as well as using other resources. I’ve even purchased a chunky Python manual for beginners.

Why do I need to write about it? I feel I need to in order to progress. I have a short attention span and sometimes lack the motivation to fulfil goals that seem arduous and daunting, so publishing a web diary is my way of keeping on track. I can look back on it in months or years to come and feel proud of how far I’ve come; or, conversely, it could be a glaring reminder of something else I never managed to finish.

Since starting, I’ve got my head around the basics; now I’m coming across some activities which pose more difficulty and require a lot of trial and error, staring at my screen for prolonged periods of time, and several tea breaks, followed by an eventual solution. I’m up to Chapter 4 in my Automate The Boring Stuff With Python book – which is highly recommended by a lot of people, including me – and I registered for a free online course today, taught by MIT professors. Too much, too soon? Maybe. I mean, that three-letter acronym does represent one of the most reputable universities in the world, but I’ve been assured that I won’t be too overwhelmed.

Anyway, I bossed the ‘Collatz Sequence’ today. If you don’t know what that is, I don’t even understand it that well; I just created code based on the instructions I was given. I like it, though, all this problem solving. I’m spending a lot of time on my arse, which means my physical form is suffering, but I’m gaining…mentally.

Part 2 coming up when I’ve learnt a bit more.