Monday, 27 November 2017

My Django Girls Experience - Miriam Darteh

So I woke up on Wednesday the 4th of October with the normal routine of scrolling through my whatsapp messages and there was a message from one of my IT geeks about a workshop on Django for girls. I was intrigued about the workshop to the extent that my mind didn’t process the fact that I was going all the way out to koforidua ( my first time travelling alone, I was so freaked out).
I really didn’t think I was going to be selected because the program was in Koforidua and logically it was most likely those in Koforidua would be the main targets but I wasn’t perturbed not to register. On Monday I received a call from a co-organizer of the workshop and he said that I had been selected to participate in the DjangoGirls workshop so I needed to confirm my participation via mail. Adrenaline rushed into my veins and I couldn’t control my excitement. Days felt like weeks and weeks felt like months as I waited for 11th November to come, it was like a groom waiting for his bride in a church.

It finally did arrive!!!!

Well with the tutorial that was sent to us before the day of the workshop I aimed at learning how to build a website on my own.
Did I achieve that? Yes I did and more.
I learnt how to use the command prompt to program and create files and servers. I never knew the very first computers had just the command prompt as the main screen. I never knew what the command prompt was used for until I met the DjangoGirls team. You see I did a bit of programming in university but I didn’t really enjoy it because it seemed so complicated but when my coach introduced me to python (I thought it was a snake at first), I was awed at how simple programming could be.
I also got introduced to github, amazingly I had once in my life signed up to this service but trust me I didn’t know what I was doing until DjangoGirls took me there. I didn’t know I was signed in to one of the efficient repository services and it didn’t end there, my coach told me that it did great stuff. Imagine you want to create an app that wakes up a patient and tells the patient it’s time for him to take his drugs you don’t have to code from scratch an alarm app or a date app, you just have to look for similar projects on github and here you go, you continue your coding from there. Isn’t that just amazing?!

I also got to do what has become my favorite and lazy part of the coding which is to push and pull from the Git console to the “pythonanywhere” console. Its just like how you would pull a movie from a laptop to your pendrive and pull it to another laptop. YEA! that’s what is it but this time everything is done on a black screen with a punch of commands to push and pull from one console to another. I know you are saying now that “is this all it takes to create a website”, wait till you meet Mr. Bug. Mr. Bug is the enemy or better still the friend no one wants to have as a programmer. If you ever meet Mr. Bug you might end up looking like this.

If every programming class was handled in this manner and environment I can vouch for the emergence of a wide breed of programmers in Ghana.
I didn’t even feel like I was in a programming class, the atmosphere was so relaxed even though there was a bit of frustration in the air but each time someone got stuck somewhere our coaches were very available to help and they indeed were helpful. I couldn’t believe I was sitting behind a laptop for 7 full hours without feeling bored.
I forgot to add that I had cupcakes and a drink and a meal. I was really pleased with the food.

And I got stickers for my laptop too.
So soon the program had to come to a close, we all didn’t want to leave , we literally had to be dragged off our chairs. The program didn’t end there, we were giving certificates for participating. Did I say the workshop was free, it was , right from the tuition to the food to the certificates .

I have really not regretted attending this workshop and I know my knowledge won’t end up only on my laptop but on several other laptops in my vicinity.
My drive to help other ladies like me to learn programming has been boosted by Django Girls. They made me see how possible such plans could become realities. I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who came together to make this workshop a success, the sponsors, organizers, coaches , participants (myself too) and the people who brought the food and drinks and cupcakes. I know I have joined a great family and I am waiting for what more Django has in store for me.
Have a Djangolicious day! 
Miriam Darteh

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Why you should learn Python

Python is a general-purpose language, which means it can be used to build just about anything, which will be made easy with the right tools/libraries. Professionally, Python is great for backend web development, data analysis, artificial intelligence, and scientific computing. Many developers have also used Python to build productivity tools, games, and desktop apps, so there are plenty of resources to help you learn how to do those as well.

Python was designed to be easy to understand and fun to use (its name came from Monty Python so a lot of its beginner tutorials reference it). Fun is a great motivator, and since you'll be able to build prototypes and tools quickly with Python, many find coding in Python a satisfying experience. Thus, Python has gained popularity for being a beginner-friendly language, and it has replaced Java as the most popular introductory language at Top U.S. Universities.
Python can be used for a wide variety of applications, and as you learn the basics of Python, you’ll be able to create almost anything you want. Many great developers contribute daily to the Python community by creating Python libraries. These libraries can help you get started so that you don’t have to write code to reinvent the wheel. So for example, if you want to do complex image processing, the Python Imaging Library will help you get started. Want to create games? PyGame is a Python game engine. If data science is your thing, SciPy is the library for you.
“Why” Python has emerged as one of the most popular programming languages on the market:
  • Quick to setup: Python is easy to download, even for the newbie; careful documentation takes you through the download and setup steps in either Windows, Mac, or Linux environments. Tons of support and documentation make Python learning fairly manageable. If you want to jump right into Python without any need for download on your machine, just go to one of many online tutorials like Codecademy.
  • Python is fast: Python has developed a reputation as a solid, high-performance language. Lots has been done in recent years to get to this point. The PyPy project aims to speed up Python as a whole (and is doing a great job of it). And Numba is another tool that can offer amazing speedups by implementing high performance functions written directly in Python.
  • Python has broad support: The applications for Python are broad and varied; it’s used by individuals and big industry players alike in everything from systems automation, testing, and ETL to gaming, CGI and web development. Disney uses Python to help power their creative process. And Mozilla releases tons of open source packages built in Python. Bank of America uses Python to build new products and interfaces within the bank’s technology infrastructure.
  • Ease of use: Python gets a lot of accolades for being easy to learn, and rightfully so. The learning curve is very gradual. Other languages can be quite steep. Python places a heavy emphasis on readability, as shown by its comparison with other object-oriented languages.
 Python powers Django, a complete and open source web application framework. Frameworks - like Ruby on Rails - can be used to simplify the development process. It has a massive support base thanks to the fact that it is open source and community developed. Millions of like-minded developers work with the language on a daily basis and continue to improve core functionality. The latest version of Python continues to receive enhancements and updates as time progresses. This is a great way to network with other developers. 
Finally Python is widely used, including by a number of big companies like Google, Pinterest, Instagram, Disney, Yahoo!, Nokia, IBM, and many others. The Raspberry Pi - which is a mini computer and DIY lover's dream - relies on Python as it's main programming language too. You're probably wondering why either of these things matter, and that's because once you learn Python, you'll never have a shortage of ways to utilize the skill. Not to mention, since a lot of big companies rely on the language, you can make good money as a Python developer

If you are a beginner of want to learn the Python Programming Language, here are some Links to get you started