How I picked up python (fast)

azzenabidi profile image Azzen Abidi ・3 min read

Typing Fast
Whether you are a software engineer or a just an aspiring programmer, you are always eager to polish your skills and learn new things. Sooner or later, you will want a breath of fresh air.

This article documents my transition from Ruby to Python over the past year and the process I stuck to.

why I switched to Python

When I landed my dream job, I had no idea I will be writing code again (at least not as frequent as software engineers do).

But then I started noticing that my new role involved dealing with many spreadsheets and reaching out to software engineers, interacting on forums etc. 

Don't get me wrong, I love that but as things scaled, It was challenging for me to keep up especially that I am a bit slow due to my physical disability. I would rather work on more urgent.

Honestly, tedious tasks are not my cup of tea. 

I know Ruby already so my first instinct led me there and it was fine. But then I dug deeper searching for the so called the best tool for the job.

After a lot of research online, I ended up picking up Python for 3 simple reasons:

  • Powerful for data visualization: I am managing a lot of numbers and spreadsheets daily although ruby would get the job done automation wise. If I wanted to showcase numbers into graphs, python is winner here.

  • Tons of resources available on automation: During my research, I stumbled upon a book: Automate the boring stuff with Python. I read the first few chapters and I was blown away. When I had a question, almost every time the answer online involves the use of Python.

  • Machine Learning: I am a curious guy and although I have no intent to become a data scientist, I would love to keep an open mind. In fact, I did play with that in the past(That's a story for another day)

A quick warm up over the basics

I knew I didn't have the time of the world and I needed write
automation scripts ASAP. But first I needed to get familiar with syntax(Loops, Control flow, data structure, classes etc). So I relied on some interactive tools from the official documentation.

I Learned on the go

A lot of developers especially in the beginning have a perfectionist mindset and this is usually a huge blocker to their progress.

Without much of a surprise Within one hour, I was writing python scripts. But in order to build something useful, I had to understand how to manage spreadsheets and how few other libraries work notably: Selenium and Beautiful Soup.

I don't know everything and that's fine. I will add to my knowledge basket as I go.

I Read other people code 

I have been writing python scripts for almost year now and although I made progress, reading code from open source projects on Github is still one of my guilty pleasures that actually made a big difference during this journey. 

I understand it can be intimidating to navigate a large code base but you gotta start somewhere.

Happy Hacking :)

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Azzen Abidi


Developer Evangelist at Veamly helping software engineers take their focus back at work. Passionate about software automation and growth hacking.


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