Many people learn to program because of their interest in building their own video games. Once the necessary skills have been acquired, it is often the case that the original idea of creating a game is forgotten in favor of solving the problems we confront at work. Game jams are a great way to get inspired and motivated to finally write a game from scratch. This week Daniel Pope discusses the origin and format for PyWeek, his experience as a participant, and the landscape of options for building a game in Python. He also explains how you can register and compete in the next competition.
There are many aspects of learning how to program and at least as many ways to go about it. This is multiplicative with the different problem domains and subject areas where software development is applied. In this episode William Vincent discusses his experiences learning how web development mid-career and then writing a series of books to make the learning curve for Django newcomers shallower. This includes his thoughts on the business aspects of technical writing and teaching, the challenges of keeping content up to date with the current state of software, and the ever-present lack of sufficient information for new programmers.
Writing a book is hard work, especially when you are trying to teach such a broad concept as programming. In this episode Ana Bell discusses her recent work in writing Get Programming: Learn To Code With Python, including her views on how to separate the principles from the implementation, making the book evergreen in its appeal, and how her experience as a lecturer at MIT has helped her maintain the perspectives of beginners. She also shares her views on the values of learning about programming, even when you have no intention of doing it as a career and ways to take the next steps if that is your goal.
There are a number of resources available for teaching beginners to code in Python and many other languages, and numerous endeavors to introduce programming to educational environments. Sometimes those efforts yield success and others can simply lead to frustration on the part of the teacher and the student. In this episode Nicholas Tollervey discusses his work as a teacher and a programmer, his work on the micro:bit project and the PyCon UK education summit, as well as his thoughts on the place that Python holds in educational programs for teaching the next generation.
Machine learning models are often inscrutable and it can be difficult to know whether you are making progress. To improve feedback and speed up iteration cycles Benjamin Bengfort and Rebecca Bilbro built Yellowbrick to easily generate visualizations of model performance. In this episode they explain how to use Yellowbrick in the process of building a machine learning project, how it aids in understanding how different parameters impact the outcome, and the improved understanding among teammates that it creates. They also explain how it integrates with the scikit-learn API, the difficulty of producing effective visualizations, and future plans for improvement and new features.
Many developers enter the market from backgrounds that don’t involve a computer science degree, which can lead to blind spots of how to approach certain types of problems. Gary Bernhardt produces screen casts and articles that aim to teach these principles with code to make them approachable and easy to understand. In this episode Gary discusses his views on the state of software education, both in academia and bootcamps, the theoretical concepts that he finds most useful in his work, and some thoughts on how to build better software.
Learning to program is a rewarding pursuit, but is often challenging. One of the roadblocks on the way to proficiency is getting a development environment installed and configured. In order to simplify that process Aivar Annamaa built Thonny, a Python IDE designed for beginning programmers. In this episode he discusses his initial motivations for starting Thonny and how it helps newcomers to Python learn and understand how to write software.
Whether it is intentional or accidental, every piece of software has an existing architecture. In this episode Neal Ford discusses the role of a software architect, methods for improving the design of your projects, pitfalls to avoid, and provides some resources for continuing to learn about how to design and build successful systems.
Learning to code is one of the most effective ways to be successful in the modern economy. To that end, Marlene Mhangami and Ronald Maravanyika created the ZimboPy organization to teach women and girls in Zimbabwe how to program in Python. In this episode they are joined by Mike Place to discuss how ZimboPy got started, the projects that their students have worked on, and how the community can get involved.
Learning how to read is one of the most important steps in empowering someone to build a successful future. In developing nations, access to teachers and classrooms is not universally available so the Global Learning XPRIZE serves to incentivize the creation of technology that provides children with the tools necessary to teach themselves literacy. Kjell Wooding helped create Learn Leap Fly in order to participate in the competition and used Python and Kivy to build a platform for children to develop their reading skills in a fun and engaging environment. In this episode he discusses his experience participating in the XPRIZE competition, how he and his team built what is now Kasuku Stories, and how Python and its ecosystem helped make it possible.