[Python Mastery] Learn Python in 21 days!!!!11 (what a lie)

Hey there,

One of the first programming books I ever bought was "Teach Yourself C in 21 Days."

This four pound tome came with a CD-ROM that included an ancient version (3.1) of the Borland C++ compiler for MS-DOS.

When I dreamed of one day making a living as a programmer, the "Learn X in 21 Days" books were all the rage.

"Amazing. That's all it takes!" I thought…

Almost 21 YEARS later I still feel like I haven't figured it all out.

(And little did I know this book was basically a C syntax reference and some filler text to glue it all together. Preeeetty useless.)

The truth is:

Learning how to program—in Python or any other language—takes substantial, focused effort over months and years.

There's no magic pill in the world that turns someone into a job-ready coder from scratch "within 21 days."

There's no snake oil (ha!) that turns an intern into a "Senior Python Engineer" in that time frame…

(But that's okay. If this stuff was easy, software development jobs wouldn't pay as well as they do.)

What gets results is sustained forward progress:

Little steps forward, every day and every week, for months and years.

And at that timescale, MOTIVATION and COMMITMENT become the dominant factors for your success and growth.

Focused bursts of activity are absolutely helpful to build some initial momentum and to get the ball rolling—

I'm not talking down at all to the bright-eyed guy or gal who buys one of these books and then follows through, studying hard every day for a month.

But to succeed in the long run you need to develop the mindset and a "personal operating system" that ensures you're making forward progress in some way—every day and every week.

Here's an example:

Looking back, one of the biggest benefits of getting a formal CompSci degree was to have a ready-made system put in front of me that helped me stay motivated and committed to learning.

I moved to another city to go to university and so most of the people I knew initially were fellow CS students, TAs, and professional programmers (a.k.a nerds).

I was steeping in CompSci stuff all day, every day.

And there was always a next step in sight—another project to finish, another exam to take.

Of course you still need to follow through with that plan and work hard, but there's a benefit to having the right environment and a plan, a road map that's been laid out for you.

And I found that aspect helpful.

I'm not saying the singular focus was always great. The downside of monoculture is that it can make you one-dimensional pretty fast.

I also don't think everyone needs to go and get a formal CS education to be a programmer (or to become a better one.)

But what you should do is try and create circumstances that help increase your motivation and commitment in the long run, with the tools and building blocks available to you.

Whether that's taking courses on your own, joining a dev bootcamp, or getting a formal degree, and so on.

The magic is in the little baby steps—and keeping up your motivation.

When it comes to teaching materials for Python developers, many programming books don't do a good enough job at keeping readers motivated.

My goal with "Python Tricks: A Buffet of Awesome Python Features" is different:

Instead of overwhelming you with "braindump"-style technical documentation, it shows you the core aspects of writing clean and Pythonic code with bite-sized chapters and short and sweet code examples connected by a clear narrative:

>> Click here to learn more and download a free sample chapter (PDF/Kindle/ePub)

— Dan Bader

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