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[Discuss] learning python - formal training opportunities ?

On 06/12/2013 10:00 AM, Stephen Goldman wrote:
>          Would the community know if a scripting language such as Python would be offered at a community college ? If not other means .. other than buying a book?

Classes are a great way to drive focus and have a place to ask 
questions. So if you want to do that, cool.

As for "other means" a neat thing about Python is that I can sit at a 
Linux shell prompt, type "python" and get an interpreter that lets me 
start playing with real code, right away.  With something like C I need 
to declare and initialize so damn much stuff before I can begin to do 
anything interesting. In Python typing "import somenewlibrary" instantly 
gets me into a usually interesting place.

I use Python when I can, and certainly a real program requires an 
editor, but I still use the interpreter frequently, pasting in code 
fragments, verifying syntax (making sure I have my "slice" specified 
correctly), etc. Something about the design of Python lets me do real 
stuff quickly.

Whether you find a good class or not, I encourage you to play with 
Python. Look for excuses to use it for little things.

As for books...a few years back I spent a few hours at the Harvard Coop 
looking at all their Python books and decided upon "Python Essential 
Reference" by David M. Beazley. A key feature is that it was about 
Python, not about computers via Python.  (I think Python is a great 
beginner's language, but I am not a beginner.)  I went through the book, 
making something completely trivial out of most of the described 
features or libraries, then proceeded on to the next chapter.

While on the topic of books, the O'Reilly "Python Pocket Reference" is 
great. Really small (and so handy), it can keep reminding you of correct 
syntax. "And what the heck are the available string methods again?"  
Bring it to your class...

One thing that might be particularly useful about a physical class is 
wrapping your head around what it is to be "pythonic". (You don't want 
to write Python as if it were C, you want a different style.) In looking 
at potential classes, try to figure out whether the instructor 
him/erself understands what it is to be "pythonic"...


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