I spend just about every day teaching Python to people at companies around the world.
I’m always amazed to see just how popular Python is, and how many people are using it — and in how many ways they are using it.
But I’m also amazed by how many people are just “getting by” with Python. You know, they’re able to write some basic functions, and read data from files, and even perform some basic manipulations on their data, without too much help.
But those people are turning to Stack Overflow for just about anything non-trivial. And that might seem fine, except:
- They’re spending lots of time just searching for the right answer to their questions
- Then they’re spending lots of time modifying the answer they found online, usually through trial and error
- Then they’re not really sure what they’ve done, so if it breaks, they’re out of luck.
Does this describe you? Because it describe a huge number of the people I teach.
These people can use Python, in the same way that you can use a phrasebook to get around in a foreign country whose language you don’t speak. Yes, you can get through some basic tasks. But you’ll never be able to take on big jobs, and you’ll always feel frustrated, or stuck, that you don’t really know what you’re doing.
And maybe you’re even a bit nervous that your boss will discover just how little Python you know.
And besides, let’s face it: There are many problems you can’t Google your way out of.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem: Practice. If you have already learned Python’s basics, but you haven’t learned how to actually use the language, then you need practice. Just as if you want to learn a language, you need to surround yourself with it, so that you start to think in that language.
Weekly Python Exercise, now in its third year, is my best solution to this problem of Python non-fluency. Each WPE cohort has 15 exercises (and detailed solutions), which you solve along with others taking the course at the same time as you. WPE is designed to force you to think in new ways, to become more familiar with Python’s syntax, libraries, and capabilities — and then to be better at your current job, or even (I hope) get a better job in the future.
On May 14th, I’ll be starting a new cohort of Weekly Python Exercise A2. “A” is the level (for beginners), and this is the 2nd course in the A series. A2 focuses on Python functions and modules. So we’ll talk about function parameters and defaults, a bit of passing functions as arguments to other functions, and then how to best use the modules in Python’s standard libraries to accomplish your goals.
Registration is only open until May 10th. So if you want to join this cohort, you should act now!
Click here, and learn more about Weekly Python Exercise!