Python learning Guideline
Instruction is where I tell you to do a sequence of controlled exercises designed to build a skill through repetition. This technique works very well with beginners who know nothing and need to acquire basic skills before they can understand more complex topics. It’s used in everything from martial arts to music to even basic math and reading skills.
would like to thank Angela for helping me with the first two versions of this book. Without her, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to finish it at all. She did the copy editing of the first draft and supported me immensely while I wrote it.
I’d also like to thank Greg Newman for doing the cover art for the fi rst two editions, Brian Shumate for early website designs, and all the people who read previous editions of this book and took the time to send me feedback and corrections.
The Hard Way is Easier
With the help of this book, you will do the incredibly simple things that all programmers do to learn a programming language:
- Go through each exercise.
- Type in each sample exactly.
- Make it run.
Reading and Writing
It seems stupidly obvious, but if you have a problem typing, you will have a problem learning to code. Especially if you have a problem typing the fairly odd characters in source code. Without this simple skill, you will be unable to learn even the most basic things about how software works.
Attention to Detail
The one skill that separates bad programmers from good programmers is attention to detail. In fact, it’s what separates the good from the bad in any profession. Without paying attention to the tiniest details of your work, you will miss key elements of what you create. In programming, this is how you end up with bugs and diffi cult- to- use systems
A very important skill—which most programmers develop over time— is the ability to visually notice differences between things. An experienced programmer can take two pieces of code that are slightly different and immediately start pointing out the differences.
Do Not Copy-Paste
You must type each of these exercises in, manually. If you copy and paste, you might as well just not even do them. The point of these exercises is to train your hands, your brain, and your mind in how to read, write, and see code. If you copy- paste, you are cheating yourself out of the effectiveness of the lessons.
A Note on Practice and Persistence
While you are studying programming, I’m studying how to play guitar. I practice it every day for at least two hours a day. I play scales, chords, and arpeggios for an hour at least and then learn music theory, ear training, songs, and anything else I can. Some days I study guitar and music for eight hours because I feel like it and it’s fun. To me, repetitive practice is natural and is just how to learn something.
A Warning for the Smarties
Sometimes people who already know a programming language will read this book and feel I’m insulting them. There is nothing in this book that is intended to be interpreted as condescending, insulting, or belittling. I simply know more about programming than my intended readers. If you think you are smarter than me, then you will feel talked down to and there’s nothing I can do about that because you are not my intended reader.