Coursera – An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python

In April of last year I took the Python Coursera online course. Even though I took it a year ago, I think I’ve got some good insights into what you’re getting into, especially if you’re a mom.

The course is fairly well paced. You start from scratch(what’s a string?) and get all the way to a functioning Asteroid-esque game. I had a little coding under my belt before beginning the course so I didn’t feel like I was a total beginner. That being said, I don’t think I could’ve taken that course this past April. In 2013, I had one kiddo and my wife was able to help me with her while I studied. You’ll be studying quite a bit. With two children, a 6 months old and a two year old, I doubt I would’ve found the time to really understand the course or complete it this year. Of course, if you have childcare or can work with little sleep, you’re capabilities might be greater than mine. Depending on proficiency and base knowledge I’d say you’ll be working on the course about 4-10+ hours a week. And you’ll want to do it in at least 2 hour chunks of uninterrupted time. You have lectures, quizzes, and weekly projects. The first few weeks don’t take as much time, but as you progress your time commitment increases. Our local PyLadies group had a small study group for it and with all the due dates and time needed I think only about 2 people finished the course.

I found the course to be very helpful in learning the basics of Python. But, I just wasn’t that interested in coding games. The whole course is geared at coding games. And while I understand it’s a great way to teach, it just didn’t speak to me. I have grand ideas of manipulating data and making little bots to scour the internet. Maybe even little bots to help you or remind you to do a little task. So building games, was a bit out of my area of interest. I am glad I took the course, but I’m also hoping to find another with a bit more variety to it. Overall, I’d give it a B+. It had good instructors, easy to understand interfaces and it gives you a good idea on how most basic things in Python work. Plus you really come out of the course with a great sense of accomplishment.

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