Where do beginners start?


#1

I'm interested in learning to code, becoming more comfortable with data analysis and technical skills in general, and I have no idea where to start. Someone mentioned Code Academy might be a good place, so here I am. However, I don't even know what the best first class to take is! Any recommendations are greatly appreciated! (even if the response is "you're not ready for Code Academy yet, go to XX...") Does one come before the other (data analysis skills before coding?), or are they entirely unrelated? Do I need one to do the other? Should I learn them both in tandem?

For context:
-I have no idea what Python/SQL/Java/HTML/C++ are, except from what a quick Google search tells me
-I struggle with vlookups and Pivot tables in Excel, and those are the most advanced functions I even know about. I'm alright building the automated charts/graphs, but not much else.
-I've used SPSS and Stata maybe thrice each, and not since my 200-level psych stat classes in university years ago.

I've never had to use Excel much in any setting (professional or academic) to gain comfort and fluency in it, and so every time I have to (which is maybe 5x/year), I just get flustered and frustrated I have no doubts, though, that if pressed and actually found myself in situations where I needed to use quantitative analysis skills, I could become comfortable.

Does Codeacademy have any introductory offerings that may get me off on the right foot towards learning to code and run data analysis?


#2

@meaghanpk: Data analysis you say, huh? Oh well, Python and SQL are great for such thing!
I can talk about Python, even though I know a few things when it comes to SQL, and it's safe to say you work just fine with Excel, DB, XML, JSON, etc.

The thing is: if you have no idea what to do, just don't jump straight into the advanced topics. It might be problematic when you don't know how to deal with them.

Data analysis and coding walk side-by-side, as far as I know. Unless you want to manually do things, then there's no coding, Python/SQL/etc, involved.

Codecademy has no prerequisites, if you've coded before in your life,sure things will be easier but if not, don't worry so much!
If you're in the middle of a lesson and you have no idea what to do or what you've done, come to the forums and many people will come to help you!
I'd recommend you to start with Python and work hard on it!

As far as I know there's no such data analysis here on Codecademy but I'd suggest you take a look at course "Python for Everybody" by Dr. Charles Severance from the University of Michigan.
I'm taking the course as well, last week of the last part of it, working with databases and boy, that sure can be tricky sometimes!

Python it's not difficult but the syntax and a few other things might be tricky every now and then.

Hope this post was helpful, if not, let me know and I'll find another way to explain!


#3

Thank you, that is really helpful! I'm a bit intimidated by it all. Honestly I just want to become more comfortable with quantitative analysis and commonly-used platforms (Excel being the main one) in general. That's at a base level. Synthesizing large data sets (especially quantitative data points) to a point where I can draw conclusions and actually do something with the information is my first big goal. After that, I'd love to learn how to create new things (I say that because I don't know what the right term is), which is what I associate with coding - actually creating "things" (apps, websites, tech-y things, the understanding of which at this point elude me).

Is Python the best place to start? Like I said, my current job doesn't actually require me to use Excel very often (except for organizing qualitative data into sheets, with minimal if any analysis), so I don't have an opportunity to practice what few skills I have. I tried to do CS50 through Harvard edX and failed miserably at keeping up with it - is that a better place to start?

Thanks for all your help!


#4

@meaghanpk: Hey, at the first time I've faced coding I was abit afraid of it and at the same time amazed but I faced it !
Coding is indeed for those who are strong to handle failures but it's truly worth it!

If you have no background at programming, I'd suggest you to go with simple things such as understanding how to print data, obtain data, calculate data (+,-,/,*, **) and those basic things, for now.
Going to CS50 through Hardvard edX sure wasn't a good idea, that's mostly intended for those who are studying CS or areas who are similar to it.

I think if you study here, at Codecademy, and also at tutorials/videos/courses (like the one I mentioned), you'll see Python isn't this monster but a small but tricky kitty.

I believe Python is a great start but that's up to you with which language you feel more comfortable with.


#5

@g4be and @meaghanpk I have read the comments and find it very helpful. Now, I was wondering, if, for a person like me with no advanced math level - just a few stat at business school which if forgot 90% of it - and absolutely no code experience - coding won’t be too hard? I have learned Python - well started to - a year ago and the program drove me nut at exercise 2…Just wondering if I should keep learning it.
I don’t need I for work as of today, but I would like to have basic knowledge of website, data analysis…

Thanks a lot guys,

Jennifer


#6

Truthfully? Programming is very difficult. And its not for everyone. But this only applies when you really want to do this for work.

Now, with that out of the way, lets look at the positives.

You don’t need to know advanced math, its not needed, so that is good.

Learning the basics of programming is not that difficult, there are plenty of sites (like codecademy) where in a fun and practical way you can learn to code.

this is certainly very doable :slight_smile:

Programming is not just writing code, its mostly problem solving. Getting the grips with the logic needed can be frustrating, but if you persist, you will see you get better at it. And then solving problems can be really rewarding.

It takes time to learn to program, but its time well invested in this ever growing digital world


#7

Hi spoer,

Adding to what stetim94 has said coding isn’t simple but truly worth it. It doesn’t only help you solve problems (sometimes real life problems) using the computer but it helps us develop our logical thinking.

If you really want to learn how to code, and not only simple stuff, you’ll need to have discipline to work on it on a daily basis (at least that’s what I usually advise to others).

You don’t need to have a degree in mathematics to code, you just need to use the required libraries/modules that implement mathematical functions for you. All you’ll need to know is when to use a certain function which is basic mathematics.

I wish you the best of luck and hope you enjoy! :slight_smile: