The Self-Taught Programmer: The Definitive Guide to Programming Professionally

The Self-Taught Programmer: The Definitive Guide to Programming Professionally
By Cory Althoff

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Product Description

I am a self-taught programmer. After a year of self-study, I learned to program well enough to land a job as a software engineer II at eBay. Once I got there, I realized I was severely under-prepared. I was overwhelmed by the amount of things I needed to know but hadn't learned yet. My journey learning to program, and my experience at my first job as a software engineer were the inspiration for this book.

This book is not just about learning to program; although you will learn to code. If you want to program professionally, it is not enough to learn to code; that is why, in addition to helping you learn to program, I also cover the rest of the things you need to know to program professionally that classes and books don't teach you. "The Self-taught Programmer" is a roadmap, a guide to take you from writing your first Python program, to passing your first technical interview. I divided the book into six sections:

1. Start to program in Python 3 and build your first program.
2. Learn Object-oriented programming and create a powerful Python program to get you hooked.
3. Learn to use tools like Git, Bash, regular expressions and databases. Then use your new coding skills to build a web scraper.
4. Study Computer Science fundamentals including computer architecture, data structures, algorithms and network programming.
5. Learn to program for production: I cover the software development process, testing, and best coding practices.
6. Finish with tips for working with a team and landing a programming job.

You CAN learn to program professionally. The path is there. Will you take it?

Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #7786 in Books
  • Published on: 2017-01-24
  • Original language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.25" h x .68" w x 7.50" l,
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 299 pages

Editorial Reviews


"I always keep a few copies of The Self-Taught Programmer around to give to anyone that comes to me for career advice."
--Robin Abrams, Board Member, HCL Technologies, FactSet Research, Lattice Semiconductor and Sierra Wireless

"I am incredibly impressed with this book." 
--JoAnn Buchanan, Senior Research Associate, Allen Institute for Brain Science

"Learning to program is increasingly important in finance. Althoff's book taught me the skills I need to stay competitive." 
--Derek Schaefer, Senior Finance Manager, Charles Schwab

"The Self-Taught Programmer was a pleasure to read--something I never thought I would say about a technical book."
--Melinda Sacks, Former Writer, Editor, San Jose Mercury News

From the Author

I spent one year writing The Self-Taught Programmer. It was an exciting and rewarding experience. I treated my book like a software project. After I finished writing it, I created a program to pick out all of the code examples from the book and execute them in Python to make sure all 300+ examples worked properly. Then I wrote software to add line numbers and color to every code example. Finally, I had a group of 200 new programmers "beta read" the book to identify poorly explained concepts and look for any errors my program missed.  

Every paperback copy of The Self-Taught Programmer is printed in full-color. It is easier to read code when it is in color, so I was determined to print the paperback version in color instead of black and white.

I hope you learn as much reading my book as I did writing it. Best of luck with your programming! 

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful.
5Overall a solid read for self starters!
By Michael Horton
I am a self taught (mostly) designer trying to learn a bit of programming. I found the author's writing to be easy to read but also informative. I was worried that the technical nature of the book may cause the content to go over my head but Althoff did a good job of breaking down for us beginners. His personal anecdotes and accounts of his journey made the content very relatable and helped break up the tech talk too. Overall a solid read for self starters.

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful.
4A Good Beginner's Guide to Pyton
By Grass_Tiger
This book isn't quite what I thought it was. There are lots of free resources and free online versions of many IT books, including for Python. I thought this one would be about the "other" things you need to know as a programmer that you might have missed in not getting a degree. But no, this is "just" another book about how to program in Python. BUT, it is a good one. Is this one worth the $5 on Kindle? Perhaps. Finding a book that doesn't progress too quickly for the beginner is not easy. Finding a book with good exercises isn't easy either. I've read a bunch because it's taking me a while to get a grasp on Python. I just finished Chapter 4 and so far am really liking this book. I bought the Kindle version which has been more than adequate. In fact, I've done most of the reading on the go on my phone, then when I get home I work through the exercises at the end of the chapters. The set of exercises at the end of each chapter start easy, then the next exercise gets a little more involved, then a little more involved, till you have practiced the main ideas in that chapter. I really like this. If I run into a difficulty, I know exactly where to look for the answer, because only one new concept per exercise was called for. From the courses I've done on Coursera and EdX, and a couple online Python books, I'd say I like these exercises the best. I just wish there were more of them. I'm not sure it gives answers to the questions, since I haven't seen any, but I haven't needed any. I haven't had any problems with the Kindle version. Each example has a link to a webpage that includes the example. This is useful, because the example lines sometimes are longer than the Kindle can display, so you can't see the end of the line.

Overall, I wouldn't really expect much more than the other Python books out there offer, but I think the manner of his presentation might be a bit more "down to earth" for the beginner. If you are having trouble following a lot of the books and courses on Python, I'd recommend that you press on and read more books and take more courses and don't let yourself get stuck on the bits that seem hard right now. It all slowly starts making sense as you go on, things get cemented in your memory, and the different approaches to explaining things start helping you to fill in your gaps.

I wouldn't say this is the best book out there, but I think it might be one of the better beginner's books. I also wouldn't say this tells you much more about programming in general than the other beginning books out there. Take a look for free IT books on the web and you'll find a lot, though when you find one you love, you might want to buy it to have it on hand and to support the author. So, I have mixed feelings about this one based on what it seemed to present itself as, but for what it is, it's pretty good.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5Great introducction to programming and python
By Oliver Flinck
Got me started with Python and worked great to geat familiar with the language. This will be a good base when starting working with machine learning in Python, instead of R and Matlab. I have been scripting Matlab quite a lot and was familiar with almsot all of the concepts since before, but the books worked as a great refresher of my knowledge. It also inspired me to do some developing and I have started playing with a raspberry pi, something I really hdn't planned when taking up the book.

See all 95 customer reviews...

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