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Struggling to learn the fundamentals

sarlacpit profile image McParty ・1 min read

So, having been a Sysadmin for 10 years, it dawned on me - I don't really know how to code and it frustrates me. I have dabbled in a little bit of Python and BASH. I have bodged together some scripts. However, when I sit down to learn a scripting language, like Python, I seem to fail because most tutorials concentrate the first few chapters from 'Hello World' to mathematics which I can never be bothered with. It all seems repetitive and I loose interest very quickly. I have never been an academic. I have always learnt what is necessary to do a job. Also, time is not on my hands - I have two small children and a full time job.

If I am honest with myself I should probably not worry about it too much and just learn enough code to do the job in hand, though I don't really do this either... I find example code and alter it. I can do some guess work though 50% of my scripts - I have never been able to complete due to a lack of fundamental knowledge.

This kind of gets recursive. I was wondering if anyone else has been in similar situations and how you overcame them.

Posted on Dec 20 '19 by:

sarlacpit profile

McParty

@sarlacpit

Tired father of twins

Discussion

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I think you should start with defining your WHY?
This is always useful, but especially if you have twins and limited time.
What are you trying to achieve?
Programming is an immense field and you could do machine learning stuff with it in Python, but that's not what you want to do.
What would count as a success if you were able to achieve it?

 

I think we're the same when it comes to learning new things. In the sense that very often the beginning material bores me pretty quickly, especially since there is a lot of beginner programming concepts mixed in which I already understand.

What I found to work for me is to choose a project and build it, if I don't understand how to do something I first look up the documentation, then if I need more I look up the tutorials.

But each time I look up only enough to push that project forward. This isn't an approach that works for everyone but it does for me. And it has some benefits, like:

  • getting practical experience with something (because you're building stuff)
  • improving your understanding of how a language/framework functions (because you're reading the docs first)

Also I think that when it comes to understanding something, it's not a black n' white thing, like you either get it or not, but more of a spectrum, you understand certain parts and others not/are learning.