My python learning journey on Sololearn

I have been hoping to learn, at least, a programming language long before now, but lacking the necessary drive to make the move. I even started watching videos about python a few years back but abandoned it at a very early stage. The drive to learn came back recently and just when I was about to jettison the idea again, I saw this post from @pusen about starting python programming for beginners. My attention got hooked right away. It was through him I got to know about sololearn. I signed up almost immediately after reading and commenting on the post and commenced my own beginner's course in python.

The initial enthusiasm was really high and this was due to a couple of factors:

  1. I already had a personal motivation to learn, even though I dither sometimes. The ultimate aim is to be able to analyze data using python codes.
  2. The way learning is structured on the platform really got me hooked
  3. I finally got to put my mathematics skills into the test after what seemed like eons.

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The way learning is structured on the platform is game-like. I think gamified learning will come in handy going forward instead of having to sit down and be watching lengthy boring videos (for a start though). Concepts are first explained using texts and short, runnable codes in a very terse manner. Immediately after, questions relating to the just concluded concepts are asked. The questions can be in the form of solving or completing shortcodes or just text-based with multiple options. Thus, you are not just learning but also putting the knowledge to a test concurrently.

At the end of each lesson, there are practice questions relating to writing codes to solve real-life problems. The practice questions have a chat room where learners can interact and get ideas on writing or debugging their codes. Without completing these practice questions, learners will not be able to move forward with the lessons. This can be a pain in the ass but a worthwhile challenge if one can be able to solve the problems.

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Each module has 10 lessons and immediately after each module are relevant quizzes. These quizzes must also be solved before one can progress to the next stage of learning.

Like @pusen pointed out in his post, there are paid and unpaid versions of learning on the platform. For less than $70, learners will have unlimited access to all the courses on the platform. Without paying, learners have only got 3 hearts to play with within a specific period. Each question missed consumes a heart and it takes roughly 5 hours for the heart to refill. This can be very frustrating for someone that wants to learn fast.

The good thing is that for every completed lesson, learners get bits, which can be used to refill hearts at the rate of 21 bits per 3 hearts. This is one of the motivators that made me go a bit far into the python for beginners course on the same day I signed up on the platform. I was able to accumulate hundreds of bits to the extent that refilling hearts was no longer a problem.

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Within a few days, I was able to complete the course and was given a code project to complete before a certificate was issued.

What Next?

Of course, I was able to understand concepts such as variables, strings, lists, tuples, dictionaries, and boolean's operations from the course. I am also able to write simple programs to solve simple day-to-day problems. However, I feel like I am yet to scratch the surface of python programming. In other words, I am not flattered by the certificate. Thus, I looked for a more advanced course in python on the platform and commenced the lessons almost immediately after I got my certificate.

The course that got my attention was 'python data structure'. It has everything to do with what I have already learned in the beginner's course but just a little more advanced. I am currently 54% into the course but the enthusiasm with which I started has waned a bit. Why?

Some restrictions have started being put in place because I am an unsubscribed user. I can longer play in-lesson shortcodes and also need 170 bits in order to unlock practice questions. What really dampened my zeal is not because I ran out of bits but the realization that I will soon run out of bits, perhaps before I can complete the second course. Worse still, I am not in a position to pay 70 bucks right now. Paying is something I would have loved to do anyway because I think the platform is awesome!

Posted with STEMGeeks



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If you feel so, I can propose to you a small project related to the development of the MadAnalysis 5 platform. Do you know that we on-boarded non-particle-physics developers through the Google of Code Summer program (it is too late for this year, but maybe in the future)?

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I will be interested. I will make it a point of duty to remind you at intervals.

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I am sure Jack and I will be able to propose you something going along with your skills (note that mastering C++ is definitely a plus in this context).

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I think many people try to learn a coding language because blogs on the internet have convinced them that everyone needs to know a coding language, and I think that's not the case. It's good that you have specific goals in mind, like data analysis.

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Learning to code without any specific target in mind is a recipe for wasted knowledge. I have always worked with data and moving away from applications like SPSS is the way to go.

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