The last time I posted a piece about how to download totally free Python ebooks and other materials, someone emailed me and wanted to know how I got into Python Programming as a lady. Like most things I have done so far in my life, it started when I was in school and didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. Luckily of me, one of the classes in school those days included a class in introduction to computers.
It was there that we first got exposed to programming in Modula-2. I picked it quite quickly that I was writing and debugging my own code properly within days of learning the language. It felt surprisingly natural and exciting to anything I had ever done. Imagine coming to class explaining to my colleagues how to get their programs to run. I was always moving from one desk to the other just helping people to get their program running. The buzz I got was awesome. The go-to girl :)
Fast forward several years later...having used Java, Perl, and C++, I thought I would learn Python Programming. I had many project ideals and wanted to work on some of them with Python and learn the language in the process. I did a bit of research and found wikiversity's introduction to computer science - managed by the same folks behind Wikipedia. This is good for beginners new to programming in general and Python in particular. Being a veteran of programming languages, I didn't find it too useful as it caters for beginners. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot to learn from that site if you are new to programming in general. In fact, it has a number of quality links to other resources you might find quite handy. You should get a solid understanding of programming background, problem-solving and what algorithms are.
That said, you might find Head First Programming to be a nice place to start learning python - it uses Python as the main language to teach the basics of programming. This is what I always recommend to those who enjoy having exercises at the end of every chapter. This Head First Programming assumes that you are just starting off in programming; as such approaches it from a teacher-student perspective. Be sure to look around for bargains, but you can pick one up for $12 on Amazon.
If you prefer to read online, I would suggest you check out Dive Into Python - there's a free online version - or you could download the PDF onto your computer. What I like about the PDF version is that it comes with searchable feature making it possible to jump around the huge file using the table of content.
I had the link to the MIT Open Courseware program, but can't seem to remember where I bookmarked it. I will post here when I bump into it again. But in the mean time, if any of you know the link please post it in the comment.
The book I have now that I'm working my way through as we speak is Programming Python - it is the latest version published in 2011, updated for Python 3 and still manages to cover all the advance topics you would expect. Try and get a copy if you can
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