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Thread: I'm having a hard time learning python.

  1. #1
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    I'm having a hard time learning python.

    Hi,
    I do have a thread about beginning programming, but this is a bit of a different topic.

    I'm actually having a really hard time learning python, so I'm also really losing motivation.

    I'm doing the exercises from learnpythonthehardway.org, is this good or bad? I started out enjoying the pace, but now I'm not understanding anything no matter how many times I go back or how much I research. Is there any other sites or programs to learn it?
    Or am I just going through a slump, having never done this, or even self teaching something quite this big, I have no idea what's involved.

    Thanks!

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    Re: I'm having a hard time learning python.

    I agree - learning in the abstract is hard for me, too. Writing code to address problems you actually care about is much better motivation. Fortunately for me, my job gives me plenty of opportunities to write code (even though I'm not a developer). And when that occasionally dries up, I switch to my personal projects.

    Have you read about things like complexity, genetic algorithms, and cellular automata? These things involve lots of computation, but the solutions are not necessarily complicated, and the resulting behavior can be fascinating. Genetic algorithm optimization, in particular, was surprisingly simple to code up.
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    Re: I'm having a hard time learning python.

    Quote Originally Posted by cwblanch View Post
    Hi,
    I do have a thread about beginning programming, but this is a bit of a different topic.

    I'm actually having a really hard time learning python, so I'm also really losing motivation.

    I'm doing the exercises from learnpythonthehardway.org, is this good or bad? I started out enjoying the pace, but now I'm not understanding anything no matter how many times I go back or how much I research. Is there any other sites or programs to learn it?
    Or am I just going through a slump, having never done this, or even self teaching something quite this big, I have no idea what's involved.

    Thanks!
    From what I have seen of that family of sites, they are not meant to teach you programming, but to make you proficient and efficient in a given language. They are likely to be a bit too hard for someone who has never written code before.

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    Re: I'm having a hard time learning python.

    Quote Originally Posted by ofnuts View Post
    From what I have seen of that family of sites, they are not meant to teach you programming, but to make you proficient and efficient in a given language. They are likely to be a bit too hard for someone who has never written code before.
    You're probably right. I'm having a hard time.

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    Re: I'm having a hard time learning python.

    Quote Originally Posted by cwblanch View Post
    I'm actually having a really hard time learning python, so I'm also really losing motivation.
    People have different learning styles. Some are hands-on, some are researchers, some are figure-it-out, some work best in groups.

    If your current method is not fun, then try a different method.

    For example, if you want to learn Python to work on a project, then do the project instead of exercises.

    If you prefer face-to-face or group work, contact your local Ubuntu LoCo or Linux User Group and see if anyone else is interested in forming a learning group.

    If you just don't like the site's teaching style, other excellent Python learning sites are available. I learned much from diveintopython.org.

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    Re: I'm having a hard time learning python.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesehead View Post
    People have different learning styles. Some are hands-on, some are researchers, some are figure-it-out, some work best in groups.

    If your current method is not fun, then try a different method.

    For example, if you want to learn Python to work on a project, then do the project instead of exercises.

    If you prefer face-to-face or group work, contact your local Ubuntu LoCo or Linux User Group and see if anyone else is interested in forming a learning group.

    If you just don't like the site's teaching style, other excellent Python learning sites are available. I learned much from diveintopython.org.
    What project could be done with how far I am in learning though?
    I've looked up developing on Ubuntu and found the program Quickly. But I don't want to have to look up or ask for every bit of code I would need, although I'm sure that might help with the motivation part.

  7. #7
    prodigy_ is offline May the Ubuntu Be With You!
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    Re: I'm having a hard time learning python.

    Quote Originally Posted by cwblanch View Post
    What project could be done with how far I am in learning though?
    That's a strange question. ;) Why would you even learn a programming language if you don't have any ideas about where you could apply it? I know just enough of Python to write scripts because that's what I often need to do. If you want to use it for actual programming, start your own project, define goals and work towards them. Or find something abandoned and broken and try to fix it. Your first experiments will most likely fail to be elegant or feature rich but most likely you'll get over that "understanding" roadblock. You'll realize that in some cases "understanding" is just knowing what to do from previous experience. :)

    Keep in mind though that for serious programming you still need some theory - mostly advanced math.

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    Re: I'm having a hard time learning python.

    Quote Originally Posted by prodigy_ View Post
    Keep in mind though that for serious programming you still need some theory - mostly advanced math.
    I have developed a lot of serious projects in a lot of different languages - including tools for myself and for work - and I have never needed advanced Maths. Whether you need advanced maths (i.e. above basic addition and multiplication, and maybe some simple trigonometry) entirely depends on the type of project.
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    Re: I'm having a hard time learning python.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Flury View Post
    I have developed a lot of serious projects in a lot of different languages - including tools for myself and for work - and I have never needed advanced Maths. Whether you need advanced maths (i.e. above basic addition and multiplication, and maybe some simple trigonometry) entirely depends on the type of project.
    Your definition of "maths" is very restrictive. Turing was a mathematician.

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    Re: I'm having a hard time learning python.

    Quote Originally Posted by cwblanch View Post
    But I don't want to have to look up or ask for every bit of code I would need, although I'm sure that might help with the motivation part.
    In the early days of learning a new language (or framework or toolset), that's the way it is. For all of us. How do I format a date? How do I parse a string? How do I create an object? Obviously if this is your first language, it's doubly difficult because you are trying to learn a language and learn programming but the same applies. Every little thing you learn is a step in the right direction but there's a lot of fumbling around and feeling lost.

    Cheesehead is right that different people learn in different ways. For me, I get bored with tutorials very quickly and I like to create a project. Something non-trivial but manageable that I have a chance of finishing. I wouldn't try learning on a public project but I always treat the learning project as a serious thing even though nobody else will ever see it. When I decided I needed to learn a bit of C++, for example, I wrote a Monopoly simulation -- not a serious subject but it's written as though I was getting paid for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesehead
    you'll get over that "understanding" roadblock
    I agree, and I usually find that when the transition from the fumbling around phase to the reasonably fluent phase happens, it does so quite quickly. It's like all the little bits of knowledge come together and you start to "get it". Not exactly a eureka moment but there's a point where progress speeds up significantly.
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