Learn Python - fast

Just how fast can you learn Python? The question was prompted by Learn Python in Y minutes by my friend Carl Dowthwaite over at Jove Actuarial.

So, here are a few suggestions, motivated by Carl’s piece. I recommend them in the sense that I’ve read/done them and would do so again.

Learn in minutes or hours

Carl’s suggestion of Learn Python in Y minutes is probably most suitable if you are fluent in at least one programming language, you need a Python refresher, or you are going to be hands-on right now. By that last point I mean you intend to run rather than read and think about code.

Here are a few hands-on resources:

  1. learnpython.py direct from Learn X in Y minutes but you’ll need tweaking to run it.
  2. Carl’s port to Google colab means you can run the code in your browser.
  3. learn_python_in_y_minutes.ipynb is a notebook I downloaded from Carl’s colab.

A minor technical point. While (2) mean you can run code in a browser and (3) mean you can run in locally in Jupyter, you’ll find “cell” 63 gives an error. This is easily fixed:

String literal is None error

Finally Learn Python in Y minutes has a Ready For More? section with further resources.

Learn in a day or two: short books

Data Science from Scratch has a 28-page chapter “A crash course in Python”.

A Whirlwind tour of Python is a super resource. Clearly at just under 100 pages there’s a little more room for explanation. Similarly Jake has made his Python Data Science Handbook freely available.

Learn in 30 days course

30 days of Python by Udemy author Jose Salvatierra is a great way to build learning momentum.

Learn in a month or two: a longer book

Python 101 will take you well beyond the basics - and so it should at 587 pages! But it is a fast read.

Final confessions: I got this last one for a birthday and I have not yet completed it. But it looks like Michael has me covered for future birthdays.