ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

Taking the Deep Dive into Py Ocean

Python From the Eyes of an Adventurous Amateur

Background by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash, Logos are Property of their Respective Owners

Technology has always been in my blood. Since high school, I’ve been repairing computers and am “that guy” that family goes to when they have technical issues. (I’m sure some of you share the same experiences as well.)

My background in technology has led me to believe that learning some code was inevitable. I recently received an Arduino kit from my brother based on C++; that will be exciting to play with when I return to college.

This kit opened a world I’ve been waiting to explore, and my adventurous self wanted to learn other code as well. I was curious to see how I could use code to streamline aspects of my life and make mundane tasks happen at the click of a button.

Curiosity led me to dip my toe into the ocean of Python and challenge myself to learn some code. The first wave of knowledge came from a Udemy class that offered to teach me how to build my first ten python applications. Twenty dollars later, I found myself lost in the Pythonian waters, yet was floating quite nicely.

The instructor was showing me how to create the necessary code to build and add items to lists. I was looping code so it would repeat until a certain number was printed. He also showed me a program that asked a user for text and decided if it was a question or not, then printed it out.

This foundations class had taught me to float on my raft in the ocean, but I wanted a yacht.

With only 35% of the class completed, I chose to build my own programs, starting with a Medium authenticator and stats scraper. I liked to copy my stats in a spreadsheet, and typing each number and story title took a decent hour. I found a Medium stats chrome extension, yet wanted the feeling of building my first little program.

The code for the authenticator took a mere few hours to complete using Selenium. After seeing my Medium stats page appear after hitting enter in PowerShell gave me a rush of motivation. I used this motivation to spend the next three days scrubbing every line of code I found on this page. Unfortunately Medium has some HTML and CSS that resembles a web of nonsense scattered with <div> and <td> tags.

I turned to other help, but after several hours and countless inquires on Stack Overflow, I began to feel discouraged, and my raft had been losing integrity. I chose to put this project on pause as I returned to Udemy and find more materials for my raft. I wanted to have a sturdy boat before rechallenging this.

A quick break from the Udemy class was spent in r/python, where many senior developers had admitted that even they have issues and look to Google also while building a script. I felt relaxed and refreshed. This new energy had led me to create a bot that allowed me to navigate a COVID-19 check form easier.

My college highly encourages us to use a Qualtrics form that works as a self-check for COVID-19 symptoms. I found it monotonous to navigate this form every day and answer the same questions to notify my college I was not symptomatic. While the form was a great concept, it was one of those trivial tasks often forgotten about.

Thanks to Tkinter, I created a basic GUI that allowed me to click a button rather than ask PowerShell to run the command for me. I found this useful as I plan to tell Windows to run the command for me at a set time every morning. Filling out the form takes just a click now, and I’m able to make my first cup of coffee while the bot handles the rest.

My boat has also been getting a bit stronger, and I can better manage the Py Ocean’s waters. The Medium scraper project remains on pause until I’m able to read webpages better, but I continue to follow my Udemy instructor’s guidance. Thanks to the community of programmers and enthusiasts, I will have this bot working sometime soon as this is the first of many Python projects for me.

Cheers to Fábio Neves for being my first exposure to Python on Medium. His Instagram Python bot has helped me learn so much!

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Zach Goreczny

Zach Goreczny

College Student. Coffee Lover. Writes about Leadership, Business, and Data Science. https://www.udemy.com/user/zachary-goreczny/