Some of the Python instructions on setup are not very beginner friendly

I’m in the Python portion of the Data Science career path. Specifically, at this video on Virtual Environments with Pipenv. (

Now let me preface this, I have absolutely 0 coding experience. None. Wouldn’t even know where to begin writing a code, let alone actually doing it. So to jump into this video and at 12:00, be told to “open a text editor, preferably one with a terminal, where you can see files at the side”, I was immediately lost. What text editor? What terminal? What application is he even using? I had to do a lot of pausing and Googling.

On top of that, we had one lesson on how to set up Anaconda prompt and Jupyter Notebook, both I have not used since the exercises specifically telling us to use them. I still don’t really know what to do with them and just do all my practice in the Codecademy page.

I really want to understand and learn, so I have been trying to do some research myself outside Codecademy but I’m still not sure how to apply it. I’m hoping there may be some additional lessons on setup that really start from the ground up. Super basic stuff for us complete newbies out there. That would be fantastic.

I can definitely understand your confusion and frustration.

Let me say that you did the exact thing you should have done when confronted with a coding concept that you’re unfamiliar with: you Googled it. (everyone does that, and if they say they don’t, they’re fibbing :wink: )

Are you on a Mac or Windows? On a Mac the terminal is called, “Terminal”. It’s your C drive and file system. It just doesn’t have a fancy User Interface (UI) (like if you click on the “My Mac” icon on your desktop you can navigate through applications, downloads, files, etc). And, knowing some basic Unix commands helps when using the command line prompt in your terminal so you can navigate around, create files, directories, etc. (I see that he uses commands like pipenv and cd, etc. in the video).
Have you taken the command line course by any chance or ever poked around in the file system on your computer via Terminal? It might be worth looking into. If I recall correctly, it’s a short course.

I can see how the video would be confusing b/c he discusses having different versions of Python and different versions of Python libraries installed in different environments. (an aside–Python 2 is no longer supported and any company who uses it would, or, should have reconfigured their code over to Python 3 by now). And, through your research you would have read that like software is updated, Python libraries are updated from time to time (certain methods are deprecated, or, no longer used but replaced by something else).

Anyway…When you’re in the learning environment, doing lessons on the DS path, the py.script window—where you write and execute python commands–that’s exactly what you would use Jupyter Notebook for: writing and executing python commands and sharing your notebooks (code) with others. (there are code cells and markdown/text cells for notes.) You can also write and execute Python–like in the video–in a virtual environment using a text editor (there are tons of free text editors out there for Mac, Windows and Linux). In the video, I believe he’s using Visual Studio.

Did you successfully download Jupyter and can you initiate it via typing in “jupyter notebook” in the terminal/command prompt window? Open a new Jupyter Notebook session and create a new file. Create some variables and print() them out:

It’s the same as if you’re typing in the window in Codecademy.
You can also import any Python library—pandas, numpy, scipy, seaborn, etc. You have the option to do off-platform projects (import csv files, etc) on the DS path, I recommend doing it.

I hope I didn’t add to any confusion. If you have more questions, reach out to me. :slight_smile:


Thank you so much for this reply! I really appreciate all of the encouragement and tips you’ve given me and it certainly helps me feel a little less lost in this!

I’m on Windows. I think I did do the command line module, I believe it came a little earlier in the DS path. That’s also the same one where I downloaded the Anaconda prompt. I will definitely look up some basic UNIX! I also downloaded a program called Visual Studio Basic, which I heard is a pretty user-friendly text editor. I will need to poke around in it though. I wasn’t sure if this was the same as writing things in a command prompt, but it looks more closely like the ‘coding applications’ I’ve seen developers use!

I did successfully download Jupyter Notebook and seem to be able to open it no problem. Guess I’m just not as used to the interface as I’ve been using the Codecademy window, but I’ll try doing some more exercises in it to get a hang of it. Good to know that it practically operates the same way :slight_smile:

Really appreciate all of this information! I’ll keep at it until I figure it out!

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