Chapter 19. Be a Pythonista

Always wanted to travel back in time to try fighting a younger version of yourself? Software development is the career for you!

Elliot Loh

This chapter is devoted to the art and science of Python development, with “best practice” recommendations. Absorb them, and you too can be a card-carrying Pythonista.

About Programming

First, a few notes about programming, based on personal experience.

My original career path was science, and I taught myself programming to analyze and display experimental data. I expected computer programming to be like my impression of accounting—precise but dull. I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it. Part of the fun was its logical aspects—like solving puzzles—but part was creative. You had to write your program correctly to get the right results, but you had the freedom to write it any way you wanted. It was an unusual balance of right-brain and left-brain thinking.

After I wandered off into a career in programming, I also learned that the field had many niches, with very different tasks and types of people. You could delve into computer graphics, operating systems, business applications—even science.

If you’re a programmer, you might have had a similar experience yourself. If you’re not, you might try programming a bit to see if it fits your personality, or at least helps you to get something done. As I may have mentioned much earlier in this book, math skills are not so important. It seems that the ability to think ...

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