The very first step in learning a new programming language is making sure that you understand how to learn. We often get a very common question from our students which is – “What is the best way to learn Python?”. How you approach learning is the best way to learn any programming language.
So, why is it important to understand the way of learning. The answer is simple. As the language evolves, new libraries are created and tools are updated. Knowing how to learn will be critical in keeping up with the latest updates and becoming a successful programmer. In this article, we will tell you several strategies that will help you and guide you in becoming a successful Python programmer.
Consistency is the key when you want to learn any new programming language. We recommend you to make a commitment and code every day You may be surprised to know that muscle memory plays a great role in the programming. Coding on a daily basis will help you to develop that muscle memory. It may seem hard at first. But starting from small will help you to get at a high level.
As you progress in your journey as a Python programming, you should take notes as you progress. Infact taking the hand written notes is most beneficial for the long term retention. This will especially be beneficial for those who are willing to become a full time developer as you will be asked to write code on a whiteboard in interviews. Writing down the code also help you to plan the code before you move to the computer. You can save a lot of time if you write the classes and functions beforehand.
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Whether you are learning the basic Python data structures for the first time or you are debugging the application. The interactive Python shell will be one of the best learning tools. To make use of an interactive Python shell, first, make sure that Python is installed on your computer. We will provide a step by step tutorial on how o do that. In order to activate the interactive Python shell, just open the terminal and run Python or Python 3 depending on your installation.
When you are learning, it is important to take some break and absorb the concepts. This technique is useful and can help. Work for 30 minutes, take a short break and then repeat the process. Taking a break is critical to have an effective study session particularly when you are taking in a lot of information. Breaks are especially important during the debugging process. In the programming language, you must follow the rules of the language. Even a missing semicolon can break everything. Fresh eyes can make a big difference.
Start looking for the bugs in the program. You will come across bugs when you write code. It happens to all of us. While debugging, it is important to have a methodological approach to find out where the code is breaking. Going through the code step by step is a great way to find the bugs in the program.
Once you get an idea where things may be breaking, insert the following line of code in the script: import pdb; pdb.set_trace() and run it. This is the Python debugger and it will drop you in the interacive mode. You can also run the debugger from the command line with python -m pdb <my_file.py>.
The coding works best when you work together. It is extremely important when you learn Python to surround yourself with the people who are learning Python as well. This will allow you to share the tricks and tips as you learn along the way. Don’t worry if you are alone. There are a whole lot of ways to communicate with others who are willing to learn Python. You can join online communities, Facebook pages and forums which have Python developers from around the globe.
It is said that the best way to learn something is to teach it. This is true when you are learning Python too. There are many ways to do this. Writing blog posts as you learn, recording videos in which you explain something you learnt will improve your concepts and expose any gaps in your understanding.
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Pair program is a technique that involves two developers working at one workstation to complete a task. The two programmers switch between being the driver and navigator. The driver writes the code while the navigator helps the guide in problem solving and reviews the code as it is written. The programmers can swithch the sides to get the benefits of both the sides.
When you are asking for help from someone who has little or no context of the problem you are facing, it is always best to ask questions in a clear way. Give the context of what you are trying to do. Clearly, describe the problem. Outline the things you have already tried to fix those problems. Offer the best guess to the problem you are trying to solve. This helps the person who is trying to help you out and know what you are thinking. Demonstrate on what is happening. Include the code, an error message or explanation of the steps you executed to get to the error.
When you are a beginner, there are many small exercices that will help you in becoming confident with Python. Once you have a solid grasp on the basic data structures strings, lists, dictionaries, sets , object oriented programming and writing classes, it is time to start building.
In the open source model, the code is available publicly and anyone can conribute to the code. There are many open source Python libraries and take contributions. Many companies publish open source projects. This means that you can work with the code written and produced by the engineers working in these companies.
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