Python seems to be all the rage these days, with applications in scientific computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, finance, game development, web development, and just about everything else.
But how easy is it to learn Python? Whether you’re looking to get a good position as a developer or expand into one of the other niches mentioned above, knowing how difficult the learning will be is an important step in developing a good strategy.
What’s Your Background?
As with languages, martial arts, and musical instruments, it’s easier to pick up a new skill when you have experience with a similar skill. Speaking from personal experience, there was a definite moment when I realized I had learned a language-independent way of thinking about coding problems: like recipes. I had figured out how to ask myself a series of questions in order to reconceptualize a task as a series of really small steps that could be expressed for a computer using a programming language.
This can be learned in just about any language, and if you have this skill, Python won’t be nearly as challenging to learn.
Are You Attending a Bootcamp?
While there are tons of free and paid resources for learning Python, there isn’t one that’s more intensive than a coding bootcamp.
Determining whether a bootcamp is right for you requires assessing your goals, finances, and learning style. But I can say that there’s almost no conceivable way I could’ve learned as much about Data Science in three months as I did at the Galvanize Data Science Immersive.
Lots of bootcamps will teach you Python in the course of honing skills in web development, data science, and software engineering. All you have to do is check the bootcamp’s website to see what the main languages are.
How Much Effort Can You Devote to Learning?
As with most other things, you’ll find Python easier to learn if you can spend more time on it. This is mostly because there’s a cost associated with what is known as ‘context switching’–changing from one task to another.
Humans have a limited number of items they can hold in their working memory at a time, and the longer you’re able to focus on a single task, the less effort you’ll have to expend reorienting from the last thing you were doing.
It’s my view that, like math, coding is really hard to learn in small chunks. You can review concepts or troubleshoot a few lines in a small amount of time, but you really should do all that you can to get at least 90 minutes at a time to code as often as possible.
Remember: Python is designed to be friendly to beginners. With the information above, there’s no reason that Python can’t be easy for you to pick up.