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When you are afraid of snakes and neither very talented nor very experienced concerning technical stuff, what do you think you feel when you are told that you are supposed to learn Python? Correct, you may get in a panic. However, when you are a linguist, your curiosity may be piqued as well. Can a programming language be more difficult to learn than French for example?
In my opinion, it is more difficult because when you learn languages you need to master grammar and vocabulary. These requirements also apply to Python. However, there is also a mathematical component which adds difficulty for people whose mathematical abilities are rather limited.
Additionally, the teaching method may have a huge influence on success or failure. If all the basics are explained by someone with the patience of a saint, it is more likely that you acquire Python. Online interactive learning platforms such as Codecademy (https://www.codecademy.com/ ) can only be helpful when you are no longer on dummy level. If you are not familiar with the basics when starting the coding course, you may get stuck already with the instructions. Before you manage to create your first piece of code, it is likely that you become desperate and repeatedly shout out “What??” and even hit your computer. Admittedly, that is not Python’s fault.
You may wonder if my computer still works. Yes, it does thanks to my private Python tutor who did his best to make me familiar with the basic principles despite a constant flow of “What” and “Why” questions. I think that the structure makes sense and I almost consider Boolean logic (True and False == False, True or False == True) logical. Almost! But not always! If you get that part, you may be successful, else you may be in trouble.
I have not really managed to acquire Python yet but I really think it could be fun writing your own programmes. I will most certainly never be an expert programmer and the good news is that I don’t have to be. I am no longer afraid of Python because I know that it does not bite and that it takes (more or less) time and patience to learn it.
© Photos Alexandra Wurian