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Code Every Day

Consistency is very important when you are learning a new language. We recommend making a commitment to code every day. It may be hard to believe, but muscle memory plays a large part in programming. Committing to coding everyday will really help develop that muscle memory.

Though it may seem daunting at first, consider starting small with 25 minutes every day and working your way up from there. Check out the First Steps With Python Guide for information on setup as well as exercises to get you started.

00:00 Let’s get started by looking at Coding Every Day.

00:05 This is really important because it helps you build the muscle memory you need to program. It’s much like learning a musical instrument or any other skill.

00:14 Little and often is better than one large chunk a week. If you only had an hour a week to spare, you’d be much better off spending ten minutes on six days of the week and having a day off, than doing one hour, one day of the week and having six days off. Leaving a long time before you practice any new skill can mean it will be lost to you and you’ll end up having to re-cover the same ground again and again, whereas covering it every day for a week will help you retain it much better, and then longer gaps afterwards won’t be so much of a problem.

00:48 Secondly, set a timetable. Again, this is totally dependent on the amount of time you have, but if you’re fortunate enough to have, say, a day a week, then look at the areas you want to study and write a timetable and try to stick to it. After a few weeks, you can review that timetable and see which areas you need to spend more time on and which areas you need to spend less time on.

01:11 Don’t be afraid to adapt it to the amount of time you need and how much time you need to spend on each subject. Many a time, the areas that we want to work on turn out to be more difficult than we thought, or maybe you need to look at the underlying maths or other theory behind it.

01:27 Don’t be afraid of this. This is the same for everybody. But this brings me on to the next point: being realistic about the time that you have for this. Everyone’s different.

01:39 Everyone’s starting from a different point, everyone will end up at a different point, and everyone has different demands on their time and resources throughout the week and the year.

01:48 Some people can spend a lot of time and will be able to make more progress than someone who only has an hour or two to spare a week, so being realistic about this and not beating yourself up over it is a really important thing. Remember, it’s not about comparing yourself to other people—it’s about comparing yourself to where you started.

02:08 One tip I’ve found really useful on this is solving small problems as time allows. If you’ve only got ten minutes to spare in a day, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to do something really complicated, but you might be able to solve a simple problem with a little bit of difficulty to it and engineer something interesting and useful to you.

02:27 There are many sites on the internet that allow for competitive coding, and while I’m not a fan of the idea of competing against people when learning a skill, it can be really useful to look at the resources that they have there.

02:40 They can often have graded puzzles for you to solve, and you can pick a level of difficulty that’s suitable for your ability and the time you have available. By repeatedly solving these problems, you’ll gain skills and learn new areas of Python that you didn’t know before, and it can give you great confidence in being able to approach more difficult problems further down the line.

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