Monthly Archive for January, 2014

Coding

Coding is a great skill to have. Will.i.am is going back to school to get a degree in Computer Science. It had been said that learning to program is like the literacy of the 21st century. You don’t have to be a professional programmer to learn. Writing code might help you write a macro to automate some routine tasks you do at work. Or maybe you can now design that kick ass website and finally implement that idea had in your head for years. Now you’ll have something to talk about when you go on that date with your geek crush (You had me at “Hello World.”).

I have been into computers and technology for a long time, and my profession is highly intertwined with computing. However, early on I have shied away from coding. Either I didn’t fully understand what it was about, was intimidated, or didn’t put in the effort to learn. Also, many of the books out there are very dry and a pain to learn from. Nevertheless, over the years I have gone through introductory books on several programming languages. It was enough to help me in both work and school.

Even though I know a little bit about several languages, I would like to strive to an expert in one. I have this project that I recently completed that involved me scraping information from different websites and saving it on spreadsheets. After doing some research online, I decided that coding this task in Python would work best for me. The prior year I went through Head First Python. It was really good; in fact I recommend for beginners just about any book in the O’REILLY Head First series. Unfortunately, since I haven’t touched Python in a whole year, I had forgotten too much to just dive back in.

Anyways I started learning Python again from two new sites: Real Python and Code Academy. Real Python is a Kickstarter project and seemed good, but it was in the end it was just a pdf and I never got more than 1/3 through it. The truth is that Code Academy stole the spotlight away and I ended up finishing the whole course in under two weeks. After that I was able to dive into my scraping project and know enough Python to finish it. I’ll save my full review for the next post!

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