An introduction to programming with Python for complete beginners

14 Apr 2016 21:14 GMT

Earlier this week I ran a workshop teaching basic Python to people with little or no programming experience. I promised on Twitter that if it went well I would share the slides, which you can download here in PDF or PowerPoint format.

This is the first time I have ever tried to teach anyone how to program from scratch, and designing the workshop was not easy. There is a basic minimum you need to know before you can do anything useful as a programmer, but expecting beginners to absorb a lot of theory before writing a single line of code seems like a mistake.

The joy of programming comes from seeing your code run. To this day I think there is something magical about typing a string of symbols and making something happen. So this workshop tries to give people that experience as quickly as possible.

It's built around typing very short code examples into an online Python interpreter in order to see the concepts being taught in action. When running the workshop I tried to give everyone enough time absorb what they were doing, to experiment with the code, and to test their intuitions about how it worked.

I felt this approach worked reasonably well, but I need to reflect more before deciding whether to change anything in future. In the meantime, here are the slides in case they are useful to anyone teaching or learning to code for the first time.