I’ve discovered today that the ‘official’ Python tutorial is good. It’s at about the right level for someone whose programmed before in a different language but it doesn’t make any assumption about what that language is.
This has been recommended to beginner Python programmers by Steve Burrows on the BCS LinkedIn:
5 minutes in it warns you that it is for complete beginners to software. 10 minutes later there were some very interesting definitions I don’t remember hearing on my degree course. Interesting to see how MIT lectures look too. Rolling blackboards, no handouts. Now THIS seems familiar! “A lecture is a device for getting notes from the notebook of a lecturer into the notebook of a student, without passing through the brain of either”. Their appreciation of his jokes suggested this was still true.
[Update: I found it a bit slow in the first lecture but still heard a couple of interesting points so I dived forward to where they were casually throwing maths around. An MIT introduction is non-trivial.
I was very interested to find that objects were only introduced in Lecture 14.]
I highly recommend the last lecture that sums up what they covered in the course and explains what it is to be a computer scientist. It is the most convincing argument for comp sci being regarded as a proper science that I’ve heard. It also made me realise that I’ve rarely done computer science.
In the middle there is a bit of chat about his personal research into analysing heart problem data. My first choice of a final year project at Aston in 1981 was to simulate heart irregularities on a microprocessor, to train heart specialists to recognise them. I wasn’t allowed to as I hadn’t taken the numeric option of my course because I wanted to study AI. These guys were, of course, using AI. MIT now teaches AI in Python (well, it did in 1998 when the lectures were recorded.)