• jared@discsanddata.com
  • Siem Reap, Cambodia
Beginning Python
Decision Time: Python

Decision Time: Python

So, with pandemic kicking in, I decided to do what most people in the world decided to do, study Python and start playing disc golf. My disc golf career is of to a spectacular start, but you’re probably not here to read about that.

Many newbies, including myself, who wanted to study Python and were either not afraid of paying or not ashamed to apply for financial aid, started with Dr. Chuck and the Python For Everybody Specialization from Coursera (University of Michigan), with good reason. Dr. Chuck is a great teacher. The curriculum is clear. The exercises are helpful. Classes one and two get you figuring out the basic structure of language. Class three has you scraping web data. Class four has you working with databases. Awesome.

Then class five, The Capstone. You actually don’t even have to take the class or do a project. You get honors if you do though. The project-based aspects of the class had you develop and execute a project of your own choice. No one ever had to look at it, and even when I wanted to discuss it in the discussion forums, no one was interested. I was happy with my project though. It grabbed Fantasy American Football data from and API and stored it in a database. It was fun to do and a great learning experience. I could have done it on my own though.

The other parts of class five dealt with building a web browser with a page rank algorithm and spidering data from emails. The related exercises were basically just running programs with little customization. This really was not engaging at all and turned me off from Python being used for data science a bit. So much that I changed my study program.

I had planned on taking the obvious route and starting the Applied Data Science with Python Specialization (University of Michigan). Seemed like an obvious continuation, until class five. It left a bad taste in my mouth. So I decided to see what else I could do with Python. Therefore, I started the Django for Everyone Specialization (University of Michigan). Web development. Led by Dr. Chuck! Why not?

Because It’s really hard. The first class in the specialization was cake. It was an introduction to Django and a review of CSS and HTML. The second course, “Building Web Applications in Django”… I think I need more Python. And I don’t hate data science as much as before, especially after my awesome SQL capstone about the olympics. So the plan now is to finish the Django course and then start the applied data science specialization. Well, that’s the plan for now. Wish me luck!

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