Isolated? Learn or improve your Python!

January 05, 2021

Don’t just sit there – learn something!

We’ve rounded up some resources for anyone who wants to learn or improve their Python coding skills.

Ylab has held Python for Programmers classes in the past and created some new Python bigots fans. But there’s only so much knowledge we can impart in a two hour session. Plus, with COVID isolation, it’s kind of hard to look over people’s shoulders to help them with the coding.

A web search will return an avalanche of Python training sites and site recommendations. A lot of them are for paid sites, and it takes some time to filter through if you just want to try a few things without cracking open your wallet.

We’ve rounded up some free Python training sites that cover the range from beginners to help in specific and fun areas like space exploration and A.I.

IMPORTANT: WHATEVER YOU CHOSE, MAKE SURE IT’S FOR PYTHON 3 OR HIGHER. Python 2.X versions are no longer receiving patches or new releases.

For beginners – and to improve

We found two interesting flavours.

If you are accustomed to the Microsoft tools like Visual Studio, or really interested in space stuff, this page is for you. It starts with an Introduction to Python for space exploration, and has links for installing Python tools and using Notebooks in Visual Studio Code.

If you want the more portable approach that you can use on Linux, Raspberry Pi, Windows, Mac and everything else, Real Python Tutorials has it all. Full training map here. Click in the Learn Python pull down and you get options ranging from articles and tutorials to video courses, and quizzes. Beginners can start here – an overview of the language and follow the links after each lesson that will take you through downloading and installing the traditional Python environment and writing your first code. More advanced sessions get you into web development and using source code management tools like git.

Coding with a project in mind

Some people work better when there’s a challenge or a task to accomplish.

Elements of A.I. is a free on-line course that covers that basics of Artificial Intelligence and takes you through some programming exercices. It was developed by the University of Helsinki and Reaktor and it’s been getting great reviews.

Want to see the real power of some of the Python libraries? Try Facial Recognition in 25 Lines of code.

Run your own search for whatever interests you!

For some serious challenges

For heavy-duty data science and machine learning, scikit-learn is used in university courses right up to the Masters level in Computer Science,.

If you are into solving complex logic puzzles, Python Challenge is for you. It takes you through increasingly complex puzzles that use various facets of the Python language, right up to network programming and graphical image manipulation. Warning: after about the 9th challenge, it’s much more about solving puzzles than learning the language. And if you’re stumped… google is your friend.

We’re working on some on-line events to cover some specific topics with the language and development. The best way to stay on top of announcements is to join our meetup group.

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