If you’ve never written a line of code before but you’re ready to get started, here are a few steps to get you started.

Assuming you’re using Windows…

  • Open your start menu and search for Powershell.
    • Open it. We’re just going to have a quick look.
    • type in ls and press enter.
    • You’ll see a list of files and folders in your user folder. That’s what the ls command does.
    • Close Powershell.
    • That Powershell thing is your terminal, aka your shell. You’ll be seeing it again soon. It’s more fun than it looks like at first.
  • Install the latest version of Python 3. This will be the engine that runs your Python code.
    • You can get it here, the link at the top that says Latest Python 3 Release is fine. If you’re not sure which installer to use, just use this direct link. It says AMD, but it also runs on Intel.
  • Install Visual Studio Code.
    • This might look insane at first if you’ve never written code before, but ultimately it’s just a very fancy text editor. It’ll help you understand your code with colors and things.
    • Code is just text, so you could write a python program in notepad or any plain-text editor and it’ll run just fine.
  • Get a hold of Learn Python 3 The Hard Way somehow.
    • It’s not actually hard, the name is just to grab your attention.
    • The book recommends using Atom as a code editor. You can use that if you want, or you can use Visual Studio Code like me. They are pretty similar.
    • Work your way through the exercises in the book. As it says in the book, you shouldn’t copy and paste, you should type the code in yourself. This will help you learn more quickly.
  • Have fun.
    • Some things will be confusing at first. If you keep at it, and keep your head, you’ll figure it out, it’ll be fun.
    • Use Google when you’re stuck. Copy and paste the errors that pop up, or search python how to count letters in word or whatever.
    • Sometimes you might feel like you’re getting nowhere but you are often learning more than you realise.

You can email me at donncha@focalise.ie if you like and get in touch via our contact form.