Lesson 1 – Python Programming (Automate the Boring Stuff with Python)

Lesson 1 – Python Programming (Automate the Boring Stuff with Python)


Hello! And welcome to the online course
for the Austomate the Boring Stuff with Python book. I’m Al Sweigart. I’m a
software developer and textbook author. Automate the Boring Stuff with Python is
my fourth programming book and now I’ve made an online course that
follows the book’s content. “Learn to code” has become a huge mantra.
You have sites like Codecademy and Khan Academy and a massive online open
courses to teach people the program. You hear things like, “coding is the new literacy”
or how everyone in the 21st century will have to learn to code. And if you want to become a software
developer this course can be your first few steps on that path. But what if you don’t want to change
careers to software engineering. You’re still getting these learn to code
recommendations from everyone, mostly from people with a book to sell. (By the way Automate the Boring Stuff
with Python is released under a Creative Commons license, so you can buy a print
or ebook or you can read it online for free at automatetheboringstuff.com. Is there a reason the average office
worker student or administrator should learn to code? Yes. Whether you have to
send emails, visit websites, or going through a ton of spreadsheets and PDFs,
these jobs use laptops and desktop PCs as their primary tool. And sometimes
using a computer means spending hours doing tasks that require a bunch of
mindless clicking and typing. If you don’t have an intern to shuffle this
work off to, you should learn to code so that you could program to computer to do
these task for you. Or if you’re the intern, you should learn to code so that
you can program the computer to do these task for you. So how is this course is
different from all the other online programming courses? Well, I wrote
Automate the Boring Stuff with Python for people who wanted to get up to speed
making small programs that do practical tasks as soon as possible. You don’t need to know sorting
algorithms or object oriented programming paradigms, so this course
skips all of the computer science and concentrate on writing code that get
stuff done. But if you are a computer science
student for budding software engineer, this course will be a good first step to
develop your toolkit of programming skills. This course uses the Python
programming language. Python is the best first language to learn. Many
universities are switching their computer science curriculum away from
Java and to Python. It has a simple syntax and a gentle learning curve, but
it’s still a powerful language used in the real world. Google, NASA, Yahoo, YouTube and even non-technology companies like JPMorgan Chase or Industrial Light and Magic, all used
Python. So learning to code can increase your productivity but it’s also a fun,
creative skill and unlike other creative skills or hobbies, if you have a
computer there’s nothing else to buy in order to write code. You don’t have to
buy paint or yarn or power tools. All you need is some free software called the
Python interpreter. Sound good? Let’s get started. Right now. Open a web browser and go to python.org. You’ll need to download and install Python for your operating system. This is
slightly different on Windows, Mac, and Linux, so consult the course notes for
specific instructions. The one thing you need to know is that you should download
a version 3 Python, like Python 3.5 and not a version 2 Python, like Python 2.7. When we say “Python” we usually mean either the Python interpreter software that you’ve just
downloaded installed or the Python language. Python (the software) comes with
an editor program that you type your Python (the language) code into. The
editor is called IDLE. Consult the course notes for how to start up IDLE on
your operating system. Beginning in the next lesson we’ll start writing code
using it. I highly recommend that you have IDLE open and follow along with the
videos by typing the examples into it. Don’t just sit and watch the videos. It’s
easy to passively watch the videos and think you understand the concepts. Typing
the code build your muscle memory and forces you to see if you can get the
code working. One last thing that you should know from the start: Half of the software engineers day is
spent googling for information. Programming can be complicated and no one can keep all this
information in their head. So don’t feel bad about constantly looking stuff up on
the internet. That’s exactly what professional software developers do
every day. So if you get an error message and you have no idea what it’s talking
about, a good starting point is copying and pasting this message into a search
engine. The first 3 results will probably be to a website
called Stack Overflow, which is a great question and answer site. So before
asking people for an answer, try to find the answer yourself on the
web. One, this will almost always be faster because, two, other people have
probably had your question and already had answered. But when you do ask questions, provide as
much detail as possible Here’s a few things to keep in mind.
Explain what you’re trying to do, not just what you did. Your helper can then
tell you if you’re on the wrong track. If you get an error message, specify the
point at which the error happens. What line number does it happen on? Does the
error happen every time or does it just happen randomly sometimes? Copy and paste the entire error message
and your code to a pastebin site, like pastebin.com or gist.github.com. These websites will give you a link to your text which makes it easy to
share with other people. Explain what you’ve already tried to do
to solve your problem. This trims down the list of possible causes
and tells people that you’ve already put some work into figuring things out on
your own. List the version of Python you’re using. Also, say if you’re running
Windows, Mac, or Linux and what version you’re running, like Windows 7 or Mavericks 10.9.2. Asking effective questions and knowing
how to find answers are invaluable tools on your program journey. Let’s begin!

About the Author: Michael Flood

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