Like A Girl

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Learning Python From The Perspective of an Absolute Beginner

As a complete beginner, I have realized that it can be a struggle to find out where to start.

I’ve decided to document my journey of learning Python, primarily through the book Python Programming For The Absolute Beginner 3rd Edition (pictured below).

However, I also plan on including content from other online tutorials and random projects I come up with.

Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner Book Cover


I chose the book Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner by Michael Dawson for several reasons. I began by reading reviews in which people found it to be perfect for beginners because it’s challenging enough that it’s not boring, concepts are explained very thoroughly, and the syntax is beginner friendly. Concepts are taught with quick example programs and at the end of each chapter Dawson presents several challenges that combine everything that was learned and leaves it up to the reader to figure out. One of my favorite aspects of this book is that the example programs are first displayed in full and then explained upon line-by-line. The book also includes a website where you can find all the source code for the in-chapter programs, with the exception of end-of-chapter challenges.

As I advance through this book, I will be posting individual articles with the source code and thought process for every end-of-chapter challenge. If you are interested in purchasing the book, I got it on Amazon.

Introduction and Setting Up Your Environment

The book begins with an introduction to the way you will be learning and how each chapter is designed. Dawson explains that his goal is to teach you programming by creating simple games. He describes Python as a great language to learn because it’s very easy to use, it’s extremely powerful, object-oriented, can be used along with other languages, can be run in any computer, and it’s free and open source. Throughout the chapter he has little signposts named “Hint”, “Trap”, “Trick”, and “In the Real World” to note important concepts. These allow you build a proper codestyle that is efficient, organized, and reader-friendly.

The first task in Chapter 1 is installing Python on your computer. He goes over the process of downloading Python and then advices to use IDLE as your development environment when writing code throughout the book. Personally, I didn’t follow this step and instead downloaded Virtual Box on my computer and used Ubuntu 18.04 as my virtual environment. I chose this because it’s safer to run code in a virtual environment as opposed to my actual machine. This way, if I were to run code that doesn’t work as expected, my actual computer is unharmed.

In the next article of this series, I will be showing how to set up Virtual Box as well as the Ubuntu 18.04 environment in Mac OSX, here’s the link. After that, I’ll begin covering the rest of the chapters in the book, here’s the link to Chapter 1.

Thanks for reading! 🙂