For many months now, I’ve been telling people I’m “learning Python,” when in fact what I’ve been doing, and not nearly often enough, is reading about Python and then not actually doing anything in it. This is what happens when you do most of your reading when you’re away from your computer: I read a (digital) book about it, get to a part where I’m supposed to do an exercise, and then set it aside for when I have a computer in front of me. But when I have said computer in front of me, I’m engrossed in the million other shiny things it can do, and I forget.
This is also what happens when you have no accountability. I signed up for a MOOC called Learn to Program: The Fundamentals (U. Toronto) that has a certificate option, but of course the e-mails about it were filtered into a folder that I never look in, so I didn’t even go check out the first lesson when the course started. More recently, I signed up for a bunch of Python-related Meetups (The New York Python Meetup Group and NYC PyLadies), but I haven’t attended any events yet, because . . . I don’t really use Python, duh.
Sometimes when you have impostor syndrome, it’s because you actually are an impostor.
So, I thought I should finally start doing this. And that I should start writing about things as I’m learning them, again, as so many of the subjects in Kio Stark’s Don’t Go Back to School advise.
So. How I’m going to work on this:
- Trying again with the U. Toronto course. The next real-time round starts on August 16, but I’m going to start watching the archived videos and doing the assignments today.
- Continuing to read the books that I’m reading:
- Head First Python by Paul Barry – I picked up one of the Head First books while at ITP—the Java one, probably—and found it useful, though I never got far into it, so I’ve had a kindness for the series ever since and have accumulated a bunch more.
- Learning Python by Mark Lutz – I have the 4th edition, but the 5th came out last month, so I may upgrade. Next time O’Reilly has a crazy sale.
- Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science by John Zelle – It’s a paper book, so of course I haven’t opened it yet. This was recommended to me by Efrem Weiss of PivotDesk, whom I met at DUMBO Tech Breakfast. Tech Breakfast is the best; I’ve had so many interesting conversations there.
- Going to those meetups! Starting this evening, when NYC Python is having a tech talk down in SoHo.
So, for today, I’m watching the first half-hour’s worth of the U. Toronto course, installing Python 3.3.2 and ActiveTcl 8.5.14, and otherwise making sure I’m set up properly to do things.
Photo: Python curtis by Ryan Somma; some rights reserved.