Learning to code...again!


#1

Hi!

I have fond memories of trying (and failing) to learn to code my ZX Spectrum back in the 80s; I also tried and failed to learn electronics in the after school electronics club.

Now in present day I’d love to rekindle this desire to learn to code (and ideally to learn a bit about electronics too); however, thus far - try as I might - I’ve failed to stick at it. Perhaps because I’m yet to find the right beginners book?

I’d be extremely grateful for any advice / pointers covering learning materials, perhaps where you’ve also had similar issues in staying the course and where you’ve found that ‘something’ that’s made the difference between giving up and finding a new all-consuming hobby?

With grateful thanks.


#2

I’ve always found the Codecademy courses to be very good.

The most important thing when you’re beginning is to get your head round i) the syntax (computers are very precise, unlike most humans), and ii) the way that code is structured with variables, types, operations, loops, functions, data structures, and so on.

Once you’ve got a grip of those basics, and it’ll take hugely varying amounts of time for different people to get it, then it’s a matter of applying it to electronics-type things like “how do I use code to light up an LED using a Raspberry Pi?”

For me, when I was learning Python at University, the biggest barrier was learning the very formulaic way of thinking and breaking down problems into their component parts. It’s a very unnatural way of doing things that takes some getting used to.

In terms of your last point, that’s very important… You need to find the balance between knowing enough of the basics that you can actually apply them to a task, and not spending too much time on the theory side of it that you get completely bored. :-) However, if you start completely blind then you’re likely to get downhearted when you don’t have the foggiest about how to do anything!

We’re always happy to help however we can here too, so if you’re struggling then just pop a post up here and we’ll try to help out. :-)


#3

These may or may not be useful at this stage, but I’ve written a short series on some Python basics (and in retrospect the tone of my writing assumes a lot from the reader that it perhaps should not) which you can find here:

https://learn.pimoroni.com/tutorial/python/python-introduction
https://learn.pimoroni.com/tutorial/python/python-arguments
https://learn.pimoroni.com/tutorial/python/python-list
https://learn.pimoroni.com/tutorial/python/python-range

And you might apply these concepts to do something like:

https://learn.pimoroni.com/tutorial/unicorn-hat/making-rainbows-with-unicorn-hat


#4

Hi Sandy

Thank you so much for your advice. You certainly were spot on when you mentioned getting down-hearted when you don’t have the foggiest! I’ll check out the link that you posted to Codeacademy.

To close, I would like to thank you and the wider team at Pimoroni not only for the breadth of amazing products for sale, but also for promoting and maintaining such a great community spirit.

I look forward immensely to the return of the Bilge Tank on YouTube!!

Sincerely

Julian Herbert


#5

Hi Gadgetoid

I’m extremely grateful for your advice and the for links provided; rest assured I’ll be working through these from this evening!

Everyone at Pimoroni is a rock star of the electronics world, in my humble opinion.

Again, with sincere thanks

Julian Herbert