Start with the foundational knowledge

Melkizedek Mirasi Image

I recently completed a Python 3 course on Codecademy. Python is the most popular programming language in the world. Python 3 is the latest version of the language.

About a year ago, I completed a course on Python 2, the previous version. Although it’s outdated and uses older syntax, programmers can still use it – especially for configuration management in DevOps.

When learning Python 2, a myriad of friends laughed at me for learning an outdated version of a programming language. At the end of the day, it seemed I wouldn’t apply the knowledge in any way in the future. And nobody would hire me for knowledge in Python 2.

I was aware of my friend’s concern. They wanted me to spend my time learning valuable skills that I could use in the future to build stuff or get employed. However, I was learning Python 2 on purpose. I wanted to understand the fundamentals of the language. 

For any skill, I have always wanted to understand the fundamentals before I dig further. Laying the foundation, as you may call it, is important if someone wants to learn quickly while at the same time not often finding him/herself in the dark.

Foundational things are principles, they’re algorithms, they’re deep-seated logical understanding… So, you really want to focus on the foundations.

Naval Ravikant

Learning Python 2 gave me a better understanding of Python as a programming language. For example, I learnt that Guido van Rossum, the language’s inventor, named the language Python because while he began to implement the language, he was reading scripts from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a British comedy series. So he named it after his favorite comedy group, Monty Python. Not only that but also how the language has evolved. 

When I progressed to Python 3, I easily noticed and understood the difference between the two versions of the language. As a result, I became more equipped and awoke while undertaking the latest version of the Python course.

Learning computer programming is more enjoyable when you know why various syntaxes are used. For example, you become more confident when you know why brackets – which were not necessary for Python 2 – have been introduced in Python 3.

This principle applies across all fields of study. I prefer to learn blockchain 101 before I could learn about NFTs or cryptocurrencies. As a world student of economics, I prefer to read “Wealth of Nations”, although it’s a hard read than to read any latest books on the discipline. 

I challenge you to take this approach and let me know how you find it.

By Melkizedek Mirasi

Lifelong learner.

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