In part 5, we looked briefly at version control, in particular Github and the primary benefits it provides. In part 6, we cover some of the training resources available to help you take your knowledge to the next level.
Mix it up
Some people like to learn by reading a book, others prefer videos and some people say that you just can’t beat hands on experience. I think it is fair to say that, certainly for people who are not natural students, a blended approach that utilises multiple methods works best i.e. reading, videos, hands on, perhaps classroom training too. Some recommendations I would like to make based on me having found them really useful would be:
- Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner. Really good introduction that builds your knowledge up, chapter by chapter. The last third is based on GUI/games building which may or may not be your bag but the journey up to that point is definitely recommended
- Hacking Secret Ciphers with Python. This book combines Python with cryptography and really helped drive home concepts on both topics. The fact I am interested in both meant this was a great learning technique i.e. using learning about coding to help learn about something else at the same time. Win/win!
- There are loads of online coding sites that offer courses on a wealth of different languages and subjects within each e.g. Code Academy, Code School. These offer interactive training but your mileage may vary across the different platforms so try before you buy. One option I can highly recommend, having used it myself is RealPython. Initially it just looks like some videos and PDFs, but the way they are written really helps you get to grips with increasingly advanced topics. By the end (which I’m still way off!), you should be able to build full stack web apps. Really good value too
- Podcasts can be a great way of learning new skills or keeping up to date on a particular topic. Two Python related podcasts you should check out are Talk Python To Me and Podcast.__init__.
Double the learning for half the effort
For the 2nd book choice above, I make a key point. Learning how to code as a standalone goal will probably make the journey a bit boring. Without any goals other than learning syntax, you’ll soon lose momentum. However, as soon as you start using coding as a tool to achieve other things, the learning experience grows beyond enjoyable to actually being something you look forward to.
Want to be more productive at work? Want to get better visibility out of your monitoring? Want to make your home smarter? Want to create some educational games for your kids? The list is potentially endless. Using coding to hit those goals is one of the most rewarding things you can do.
In part 6, we looked at a variety of training resources that will absolutely take your learning to the next level. In the final part of this Getting Started With Coding series, part 7, we look at next steps and try to keep the fires of motivation and inspiration burning bright.
Till the next time.