I am currently taking a course in Python at Coursera.org called “Programming for Everybody“. This is a beginner’s programming course using the Python language.
“What on earth is this man doing in a beginner’s programming course?” you may ask. Please bear with me for a moment and I hope you will understand.
First of all, this seems like quite a popular course. I was just told that there are over 100,000 students enrolled for the course. From presentations in the forums, I’ve learned that there are people of all ages, from teenagers to people over 70, taking this course.
It is literally “programming for everybody”! It has been very inspiring to see the older persons and their determination in learning to program – age is but a number.
The course material is well structured, the (video) lectures are easy to follow with clear explanations and plenty of illustrations.
Each week there is also a quiz covering the contents of the week’s lectures and a couple of assignments, in which you can apply your new knowledge in a more practical manner.
The estimated work-load per week is 2-4 hours, which is a good estimate. Not as far off as some other Coursera-courses I have taken on earlier occasions.
The reason for me learning Python is that I am not very good at writing shell-scripts and I hope that I will be able to use Python instead. In addition, Python is not just a shell-script replacement, but a full-fledged object-oriented language.
Python can be run on the Java Virtual Machine (Jython) and developed in Eclipse using the PyDev plug-in. When using Jython, you can call Java libraries from Jython code. I had greater success trying Jython in an existing Eclipse installation in which I installed the PyDev plug-in, rather than using the pre-prepared LiClipse IDE.
Finally, it was fun to feel a bit like I did when I first started programming as a teenager. 🙂
I recommend this course both for beginners and veterans alike.