My quest to learn python programming

Welcome to my first blog post of the ChiPy Mentorship program. I’ll be documenting my journey through the program here. In the ChiPy mentorship program, I’ll be paired up with a mentor to learn Python and Web Development. I like to think of the the ChiPy Mentorship program as a place where rookie programmers like myself are put to the grind. Well, this might not be the perfect words to depict the ChiPy mentorship program, but the program is a great avenue for novice programmers (like myself), experienced programmers, and Yodas (sorry I mean master programmers) to collaborate under one roof to all talk about programming. Most importantly, talking about Python programming.

After a million days of actively searching for programming meetup groups in the Chicagoland area, I’m glad to have discovered ChiPy. Chipy provides an open learning environment for all, especially beginners like myself. Attempting to learn programming on my own has been a great challenge. On many occasions I’ve found myself deep down the rabbit hole soul searching for the answer that gets me to the next section on Codeademy. The challenges of unstructured learning that I’ve faced on my quest to learn programming is what brought me to the ChiPy Mentorship program. HELP! I’M IN NEED OF STRUCTURE.

A bit about me

I’m a technologist with a fascination for music is how I’d describe myself if my life depended on it, well hypothetically speaking. My hobbies consist of working out, traveling, and having mind stimulating conversations. I am currently an IT manager for the Noble Network of Charter Schools. I know that if I keep learning programming I will be able to apply it at work to make many of my daily tasks much easier. I have been exposed to the following IT realms:

  • IT support
  • Networking
  • Vendor management
  • Programming (college): Visual Basic, SQL

My current programming skills

I’ve been at learning Python for only 4 months now. My quest to learn python as a programming language so far consists of the following:

  • Finished Codecademy
  • Up to lesson 20 of Learn Python The Hard Way
  • A variety of Youtube videos

I will confidently (fingers crossed) say that I can perform the following at the moment in Python:

  • Various terminal commands
  • Variable assignment
  • Control structures: If, else, while, for, range, booleans
  • Defining functions
  • Installing 3rd party libraries with pip
  • Creativing virtual environments

As 90s rapper Warren G would say, “you gotta be handy with the skills to earn your keep”. So I’m lacing up my sneakers, and jumping into gaining some new skills.

My Mentor

The ChiPy mentorship Gods paired me up with my mentor Jordan Dietch. In my eyes, he is the undisputed python programming champ. He is a product manager at HomeAdvisor, and has been playing with python as a hobbyist for over 5 years. I’m hoping he will use his Obi-Wan Kenobi skills to teach me the ways of the force. We plan to meetup a couple times a week to roll our sleeves up and do some pair programming.

My future programming skills

By the end of the ChiPy Mentorship i’d like to be hanging with the A squad, pounding out lines of codes with no handlebars.

I hope to get comfortable with the following:

  • More comfortable with basic python concepts: Lists, Dictionaries, Classes, Functions, Exceptions, List comprehension, Lambdas, Generators
  • Major 3rd party libraries like requests
  • Play with at least one web framework, Thinking about mostly doing Flask, but would like a bit of exposure to (Django), Template engines (Jinja2), Web design
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Responsive Design
  • CSS Frameworks: Bootstrap
  • Bit of Javascript
  • Source Control using Git
  • Hosted Source Control Services: GitHub
  • Relational databases: PostgreSQL

If I can tackle this ambitious list, I’ll feel like a real Jedi programmer.

To wrap this up, I am thrilled to be in the Chipy Mentorship program and excited about the opportunity to continue learning python with a great organization. I hope to have a killer idea for my project that I’ll discuss with you in my next blog post. In the meantime, i’ll be in the trenches mastering the chops of coding.