Learning Code the Hard Way

I like learning things. I mean, really like learning things, to the point of masochism (you have to be to attempt the CFA exams). Lately I have been fascinated by computer programming — generally the nuts and bolts of what makes the electronic would go round. As such I’m trying a crash course in coding. So far I am relying on Learn Python the Hard Way, by Zed Shaw.

It’s a whole course in coding, available online for free (if you prefer you can pay for an ebook version or instructional videos).

In his preface, Shaw describes the program thusly:

This simple book is meant to get you started in programming. The title says it’s the hard way to learn to write code but it’s actually not. It’s only the “hard” way because it uses a technique called instruction. Instruction is where I tell you to do a sequence of controlled exercises designed to build a skill through repetition. This technique works very well with beginners who know nothing and need to acquire basic skills before they can understand more complex topics. It’s used in everything from martial arts to music to even basic math and reading skills.

This book instructs you in Python by slowly building and establishing skills through techniques like practice and memorization, then applying them to increasingly difficult problems. By the end of the book you will have the tools needed to begin learning more complex programming topics. I like to tell people that my book gives you your “programming black belt.” What this means is that you know the basics well enough to now start learning programming.

So far I’ve done about a third of the exercises and I’m really enjoying myself. If you have any interest in computers you would do well to check it out.


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