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So before I started a Computer Science Degree at Oregon State I got into programming through my own self-study. Because of this, I have a lot of opionions and experience with the topic so I thought I would throw together a quick post on what has worked for me.

Consistency

You need to set aside dedicated time to study every day, even weekends. I believe this gets your body into a study habit and makes it easier to stick with it long term.

Follow some kind of structured program

Its great to just crack open a Python book and start reading it but I seem to find better success by following some kind of structured learning experience.

Online courses are great and you can find a lot of good free courses on Coursera and EDX.

If you are looking to learn Programming in general then I reccomend CS50. If you are looking to learn Python specifically then I reccomend the Rice University Python Course on Coursera. I took it and it is very challenging, but a great course!

Study for shorter periods several times a day

Programming and CS topics are very intense topics and its hard for me spend 3 hours all at once focusing on that. What I do instead is study 1 hour in the morning, 1 hour at lunch, and then 1 hour at night.

It takes a lot of discipline to do this but I feel like it really pays off in the end. I also try to study real intensely when I do this so that I am getting more bang for my buck. 3 focused hours of studying spread throughout the day is a lot better than 3 consecutive hours at night of half studying.

Most of my study time now is taken up by homework and reading for my Oregon State CS classes but I still use the same 3 hour a day study method.

Ironically, I learned about this method when I was still studying for the CPA exam and before I threw my CPA books out the window and started learning Python (actually, I sold them on Craigslist.)


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