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11 December 2017

"Python Crash Course by Eric Matthes" - Reading Journal 4

If you are new to Python and want to quickly ramp-up to become no non-sense developer in Python, you might want to read this post, these posts that are related to this book and probably all of these posts to become Python Super Star.

This post gives an overview of what I learned in Chapters 10 and 11.

Chapter 10: Files and Exceptions
It looks to me that the last few chapters are really informative. This chapter didn't disappoint me. The first part talks about file operations - reading a file, writing to a file, appending to a file with few variations. The second part talks about handling/managing errors using exceptions (try, except and else). As a bonus, the chapter covers storing data using JSON module and at the end talks about code refactoring. Overall it is written well and does the job.

Chapter 11: Testing Your Code 
This chapter seems to be very easy and yet at the same time very informative. It is great to see a book that boots up someone in a language (programming) talks about "testing the code". I feel that it makes a lot of difference in developer's life (others too) when we test our own code using automated unit tests. This chapter talks about testing your functions and classes using Python's unittest module with cool examples. And the side effect, it kindles the interest to explore further on creating automated tests too. Great job by the author

The next set of posts from me would be code journal. I will try to write a couple of posts sharing the coding exercises. With this, I concluded the basics of Python and I am excited to start the projects :-)

If you wish to join me in the journey of a lifelong student, add yourself to my blog list and I will not disappoint you :-). 

10 December 2017

"Python Crash Course by Eric Matthes" - Reading Journal 3

If you are new to Python and want to quickly ramp-up to become no non-sense developer in Python, you might want to read this post, these posts that are related to this book and probably all of these posts to become Python Super Star.

This post gives an overview of Chapters 7, 8 and 9

Chapter 7: User Inputs and while Loops
This chapter covers how to get input from the user, how to convert it to numerical values if you need it. It covers while loop, how to exit from the loop using flag, break, continue and how to avoid infinite loops. It gives a couple of examples of when and how to use while loops with lists and dictionaries. This chapter is extremely light for a developer and might be interesting to someone who is new to programming. You should complete this in less than 30 minutes including the exercises.

Chapter 8: Functions
The chapter covers quite a lot of ground with functions, modules and a bit on PEP8 styling guidelines with respect to functions. You will see how to define a function, without and with parameters, returning value, keyword argument, optional values, default values for parameters, passing a variable number of arguments, passing a variable number of arguments with keywords, importing a module, importing a function from a module, importing all the functions from a modules and aliases for module/functions with sufficient examples. The chapter closes with the styling guidelines from PEP8. An awesome chapter and I really liked this chapter. This chapter might take a little longer including exercises and reflection. It is best to pause here for some time to reflect to ensure you got everything. After completing this chapter, you will really feel that Python is powerful. Kudos to the author for giving us a wonderful chapter.

Chapter 9: Classes
Like the previous chapter, this chapter too covers very interesting paradigm of Object Orientation using classes and objects. If someone is new to programming, I recommend for a slow reading solving all the exercises and trying out all the examples. It is worth the effort. Ensure that you understand the essence of the chapter (classes, objects in OO paradigm) before moving further. If you already know another OO language like C++ or Java, it should be a cakewalk for you. This chapter talks about creating classes, __init__ method, self, creating objects, accessing attributes, calling methods of the objects, subclassing/inheritance, overriding, importing classes and styling of classes. Another wonderful chapter with real-world examples.

If you wish to join me in the journey of a lifelong student, add yourself to my blog list and I will not disappoint you :-). Together, let us transform ourselves.

09 December 2017

"Python Crash Course by Eric Matthes" - Reading Journal 2

Like me, if you are new to Python and want to quickly ramp-up to become no non-sense developer in Python, you might want to read this post, these posts that are related to this book and probably all of these posts to become Python Super Star.

This post gives an overview of what I learned in Chapters 4, 5 and 6

Chapter 4 - Working with Lists
In this chapter, you will work with Lists in a much better way and you will see how much easier is working with Lists. You will learn the operations such as iterating the list using for loop, working with numerical lists using range, slicing a list, copying the lists, difference between copying and assigning lists. You also get to know various errors (runtime and logical error) that are likely to happen when you do not indent properly. At the end, you have a very nice section on how to Style the code. Refer PEP8 from here. This chapter is engaging and you can complete this chapter in 30 to 45 minutes including solving exercises.

Chapter 5 - if Statements
This is another easy chapter that covers conditions/tests, condition evaluation to boolean, test equality, test inequality, comparisons, multiple conditions using "and" and "or", check for existence of a value in a list and non-existence of a value in list, test to check whether the list is empty, simple if, if..else and if...elif...else. Like the other chapters, this chapter is also engaging and one can complete this within an hour

Chapter 6 - Dictionaries
This chapter covers the basics of another important feature of Python - Dictionary. This chapter teaches what is dictionary (you will understand the difference between list and dictionary when you work through examples),  adding new key-value pairs, modifying key-value pairs, removing a key-value pair, various ways of looping (items, keys, values) and various types of nesting (dictionary inside dictionary, list inside dictionary and dictionary inside list).

If you wish to join me in the journey of a lifelong student, add yourself to my blog list and I will not disappoint you :-). Together, let us transform ourselves.

08 December 2017

Switch by Chip and Dan Heath - Notes

This page contains my notes, my reflections and various other references that would aid my readers. Finally my recommendation on the book.

Book: Switch - Switch - How to change things when change is hard
Authors: Chip and Dan Heath

These posts are not a replacement for the book. The book is million times impressive and insightful. After reading these posts you might get an urge to buy the book but after reading the book you would like to change something. I would rate this book a five star (*****) and encourage all my readers to buy one. These posts should shed some light on your investment on this book and potential huge return on investment.

  1. Book Review after first reading
  2. Switch (Part 1) - Three Surprises
  3. Switch (Part 2) - Direct the Rider, Find the Bright Spots
  4. Switch (Part 3) - Direct the Rider
  5. Switch (Part 4) - Motivate The Elephant
  6. Switch (Part 5) - Shape The Path
  7. Switch (Part 6) - How to keep the Switch going?
  8. Found an excellent video review of the book in Youtube
  9. Other Resources to aid in learning

!!! Happy Switching !!!

07 December 2017

Interviewer Essentials

A great part of my weekend goes to interviewing and a considerable amount of my time during my weekdays is devoted to hiring and activities related to hiring - profile screening, talking to the candidates, interviewing - technical and softer aspects.

What I learned are (over a period of time)

To Interviewers and to their managers (the source of problem but who think that the fault is on everyone but them)
  1. In the part of the world that I live in especially - be ready to read more (do not get bored or scared of seeing the projects and skills that one acquired 10 years back that never eroded)
  2. Shortlist quickly and ask HR to schedule interview
  3. Be available on time. If you have some work and you would join late, send someone who can do interviews (not just filling the space/time)
  4. Interviews are a business transaction. The interviewer has to sell the company and the future employee is likely to undergo. Not a fancy future that would never materialize. Be pragmatic on what you say
  5. You cannot get super-man when you pay peanuts. Reset your expectations
  6. Expect that someone can become super-man after she joins. Look for track record
  7. People want career, money, satisfaction, appreciation, feedback and a great culture (only the order differs from people to people). Do not oversell anything (as people might feel they won't get other stuff)
  8. You may be leading machine critical things but do not expect the folks to burn might night oil. Do not boast either
  9. Interview for the position (do not interview like you are hiring a CEO when you are hiring a developer). It is big sin to hire a developer without coding. Satisfied with pseudo code or "I can tell the logic" is the biggest sin. If you are hiring for senior position, start with design and drill down to coding (or start with code and move to design - bottom-up or top-down either way is fine, but do it)
  10. Often neglected piece is asking them to write unit tests for their own code. They might even write just two test cases, but it is fine. The question is whether they "think". If someone is allergic to writing unit tests - never look back
  11. Giving clues is not a sin. When you give hints, you really know more about the candidate (whether he picks up quickly and able to connect the dots). When you give clues, ask them to enhance.
  12. Do not ask funny or fancy questions on DS and Algo (which you were not able to solve for three hours but once you solved you want others to solve in 10 minutes) when your daily work is something else
  13. The world is moving more towards OpenSource, please see whether the candidate has allergy towards the word - OpenSource (and self-learning/training/exploring on their own)
  14. Give them the runway - Not all will be able to crack everything first and not always. Warm them up
  15. Listen properly and be attentive. Ask questions and answer questions properly
  16. Most often you will learn things from others, interviewing is no exception
  17. Decide as soon as the interview is over. Overthinking is killer
  18. Help HR. Maybe they have so many candidates to take care. Pick your resume, invite the candidates and take care of interviews. Keep HR informed on outcomes
  19. If the candidate asks feedback, spend some time with them in giving feedback (especially if they are very junior to you and looking to improve themselves). You never know when you will work for a nerd
  20. No frustration (even if your day is tiring)
  21. After hiring, connect with the candidate. Try to see whether you can be of any use to them.
  22. Wait for them to join
  23. Most importantly - remember that you are hiring a human, not a machine. Behave appropriately
Of course, this is not the bible to do interviews and there are zillions other things to do.

Your comments?

06 December 2017

"Python Crash Course by Eric Matthes" - Reading Journal 1

Like me, if you are new to Python and want to quickly ramp-up to become no non-sense developer in Python, you might want to read this post, these posts that are related to this book and probably all of these posts to become Python Super Star.

The best book to start (even if you are already exposed to some level of programming) is "Python Crash Course by Eric MatthesThe book consists of two parts. Part one is basics with 11 chapters and Part two consists of nine chapters with three projects. The main intention of this book is to get us up to speed in Python quickly (as you might have guessed it from the title).

The rest of the post gives an overview of what I learned in Chapters 1, 2 and 3 and what was interesting/boring. I ensure to keep it crisp so that you spend more time on learning rather than reading my stories.

Chapter 1: Getting Started
While many of us fumble when it comes to doing things for the first time, this chapter takes the installation of Python and running the first program to the extreme. All the folks who have exposure to programming to a decent degree will find it very boring (detailed steps in Windows, Mac, and Linux deserve their space in the appendix but not first chapter). What I would expect is some history of Python, principles of Python, Why Python is so popular, Where Python is used and what is the future of Python. My view is that you should download and install Python on your own and probably try run your first program (it is fine if you spend additional 15 mins to muck around and figure it on your own - believe me, it is easy). This chapter is a dull start.

Chapter 2: Variables and Simple Data Types
This chapter covers quite a lot of ground if you not exposed to programming at all. If you are experienced programmer, you will skim this chapter through but yet feel accomplished if you do all the exercises. This chapter talks about Variables, naming variables, data types - string, integers and float with some important operations on those datatypes in Python. The concluding sections of this chapter deal with importance of writing comments and The Zen of Python which in my view placed right at chapter 2. This chapter should take 30 minutes to an hour depending on whether you are a programmer or aren't. Python seems to be exciting

Chapter 3: Introducing Lists
This chapter covers an important aspect of Python - that is Lists. After reading this chapter and working out the examples/exercises one should get a fair handle on lists. Like me, if you are from C world you will find it to have some similarity with arrays but then it differs in varieties of ways. You will start feeling the uniqueness and flexibility of Python when you try out examples. This chapter should take around one hour to read and workout examples (since you are no longer new to Python). By now, you can expect yourself to start becoming comfortable with Python. This chapter was a treat for a newbie. Enjoyed it.

If you wish to join me in the journey of a lifelong student, add yourself to my blog list and I will not disappoint you :-). Together, let us transform ourselves.

04 December 2017

Learn Python with "Python Crash Course by Eric Matthes" - Getting Started

I found an excellent link that has recommendations for Python books. Looks like the most of the books are well rated on Amazon and I thought that I would start learning Python with little more focus and discipline.

First I would like to get started with the book "Python Crash Course" by Eric Matthes. The book promises that it would be a crash course with a hands-on approach with three projects after learning the basics of Python. I feel that it would be easier for me to boot-up in Python using this book by doing some projects. I expect to complete this book in 3-4 weeks time (depends on how much time that I am going to devote and most likely I will utilize my weekends).

As usual, I prefer reading this book twice and do things as I read the book the first time. The second reading is to fill the gaps and to ensure that I do not miss anything and probably refactor the code I have written. After I complete the book, I will write a full review of the book with pointers to the source code of the projects in a public repository like GIT and give my feedback on whether this book satisfied my expectations (I am also planning to write short summaries of chapters - what I learned, what I felt interesting and what is boring)

My expectations - Learn Python, interesting to read, interesting projects to do, some advice to programmers new to Python, Fast track my Python boot-up and guidance to go to next level in Python

Let me see whether this book satisfies me.

If you wish to join me in the journey of a lifelong student, add yourself to my blog list and I will not disappoint you :-). Together, let us transform ourselves.

16 August 2017

Wired to be Weird?

Journey of you and me

    Image result for mind
  1. Human mind is fresh when born
  2. Few days after you are born, the folks around you condition you (smile is an outcome of happiness, boy doesn't cry, so do not cry, a girl should not do this)
  3. Because of extreme conditioning, you build your faith
  4. You associate yourself with others of similar faith (things are fine till this)
  5. You tend to believe that the person who you associated with is "good" because of what you experience with him (which is ok, but things start to go bad). Instead of you liking a quality or a task, you tend to like that person
  6. Assume that the person exhibit some unusual behavior
  7. Since you like that person, you are actually discounting the unusual behavior (which is not good) and if you like that person to extreme, you actually justify his behavior
And therefore
  1. We are weird and as the result, we regress
  2. We regress and feel bad, understand our hardware (brain - how it is wired) and try to change our software (thinking/awareness). We grow (a nice possibility)

11 August 2017

Logic without Logic

Image result for ignorance
I came across an wonderful quote in a book on Discrete Mathematics. It applies to several things in life and our attitude in life. Here it goes 

Symbolic logic has been disowned by many logicians on the plea that its interest is mathematical and by many mathematicians on the plea that its interest is logical. - A N Whitefield

Inference: And as a result it is disowned by both.

Apply to Life: I have been in this is situation several times. For instance, when you study mathematics (or any complex subject that needs hard work to master) in school we hear teachers saying that you will understand it much deeper when you go to college. And after a couple of years when you are in college, your lecturer will say "you would learnt it in school" and just skim through it. 

We often get caught in the tiny window of ignorance due to negligence (when people treat you under qualified when you are young and over qualified when you are old and as a result you never get qualified). Break the window

06 June 2017

Internship for Students

Image result for internship
Writing this after a while. 

I was thinking of doing something like this for a very long time (many years probably) but took while. Dr. Sankaran's post is one of the reasons [Thank you Sir]

Hope you guys still remember OpenGyan. I am planning to do something similar but for folks who are really want to take programming to next level. The thinking is to come up with real world problems and TRY solving it and on the way you will learn some cool things. It will be like internship (of course with no stipend).

Program Structure:
  1. Identify folks who are interested to do this. Ideally someone with good (this is purely relative) programming skills and willing to put efforts to learn something new. Should be doing graduate or post-graduate course in a college (and interested in computers)
  2. Willingness to put 4-5 hours of efforts per week. I think this will be a big differentiation. 
  3. Willingness to work in latest technologies - cloud/containers/tools/http/REST (some of these are highly talked about in industry)
  4. Has Google hangout or similar tool for interaction
  5. Talking to geeks and learning from them (expands your learning)
  6. Planning to do for two teams each containing not more than two people. The members of team are co-located (either from same college or live near by each other or connected by Google hangout in the order of preference)
  7. Finally a demo of your work (a write-up on what you have done and learnt) and move on to next problem (if you are still interested)

What you will probably get (no guarantee):
  1. Problems that the world is trying to solve (tough part)
  2. How some of the problems are solved (easy part once tough part is found)
  3. Get hooked to problems (disciple)
  4. Apply what you learnt. If you have not learnt anything, learnt it first and apply it (consistency)
  5. Learn tools that professional use to debug/solve problems (smart work)
What you pay:
  • Your fee is through your commitment and valuing the folks' bandwidth
  • No exchange of money or favour to be involved

If you are interested - write to me GRABYOURFREEDOM AT GMAIL DOT COM
If you feel it will help someone that you know (or don't know) - Just Share.