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How to get past the beginner stage in Python?

Bhavani Ravi
Backend engineer currently moving chatbots, and products with machine learning to production
Originally published at thelearning.dev on ・2 min read

So you learned python, picked one of the best tutorials online, and aced through it. You loved Python and decided it was the one. But you ended up feeling completely lost when you tried to do your own project. It feels as if you have learned nothing.

You wonder if those hours you have spent on learning the language is utter waste, that you missed something. You are urged to start from the beginning again in hopes of finding something new, only to end up with the same old variables, data structures, and loops.

You switch to other online resources, books that teach Python, but the result are the same. The next resort is to look for advanced python concepts and receive pointers like

  • Start building your own projects
  • Learn advanced concepts
  • Solve Leetcode problems
  • Keep experimenting

By this time, either it feels too humongous of a steep climb, or you have concluded programming not something that’s meant for you.

I would have suggested the same 3 months back. Infact I would have even nudged you to attend my Bootcamp. As I was teaching the last batch, something came out. It’s not the technology, programming construct, or what I taught that made the difference. What made the difference was the ability to split the problem into smaller solvable chunks. It is this ability that gave my students to tackle any projects that they wanted to build. You would be using this skill years into the industry as a Software Engineer.

As soon as I started to program in chunks, I realized how everything pieced together.

So how to do it? Given a problem, how do you dissect them into smaller solvable chunks? Like how the construction of a building starts with a basement followed by layers of other constructional elements, your program starts with a base structure and layers of logic plugged into it. The skill is not rocket science but comes with a little bit of practice. Your practice can be as simple as solving a single problem in a single Python script.

Program Construction

Let’s start with an example, A calculator program that does the basic mathematical operation. Your first intuition might be to start searching “How would you write a calculator app in Python?” instead, hold your horses. The goal is not to find the answer but to train your brain to solve the problem by yourself.

Now take down a piece of paper or open a notepad and answer these questions? It might not come naturally the first few times and that’s completely fine. But before moving on write down the answers.

  1. What are the core functionalities of the script?
  2. What inputs do I need to achieve it?
  3. How do I get the user input?
  4. What data do I need to achieve it?
  5. Do I need to store anything? If so, how? — Files, DB, cloud storage

Here is a tip to ace it, have a conversation like talking to your friend. As the questions that are popping up and answer them. Spend about 10 minutes on it. Set the timer and start

Done? Continue reading at https://thelearning.dev.

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