Independent University Newspaper

Copenhagen Business School

Python? My kind of snake

(Illustration by Carla Altes Mas)

Blog |   04 Nov 2019

A few months ago, I decided it was time to embark on a journey into the new world and started learning some code.

Why?

Simply because I enjoy studying business and all the aspects of shipping. But what I enjoy even more is transformation, and how technology and digitalization manage to morph even the most traditional businesses.

I want to be a part of that! Yes please, count me as desperate to get involved!

Before starting with Python, as that is what I have chosen to learn, I knew little to nothing about code, coding, programming or anything in these concepts’ proximity.

So how did I pick and choose?

Well, once I started to look for information about where to start, what language to learn, what I could use that language for etc., both a good thing and a bad thing appeared in my way.

Good thing: information is everywhere, hurray!

Bad thing: information is everywhere, good luck!

That is why this searching around for everything and nothing has occupied more of my time than it should have…

The truth is, if you decide to go into that rabbit hole, you will soon figure out that Python is one of the most accessible languages for someone new to this world, and also one of the most flexible.

Websites ad Udemy, DataCamp, Coursera and many more offer courses at super accessible prices but it can still be hard to find a direction. The free trials are great, but they give you such a narrow intro, it is tough to say you have built some confidence afterwards.

My advice is: for starters make use of your nearby environment.

Learning about something new is easier in a face-to-face setup (at least that works for me): The questions can fly freely, and the ideas can be easily discussed. My way around that was just giving up on any internet hope and trying to find a course in Copenhagen. Also, like any student who is very flexible with money, I wanted the … cheap but truly amazing course, of course.

As you can imagine, it is not the easiest thing to find a course matching those criteria. But it made me think, and that is when I realized that even though I study something super specific, my studies are still moldable because of the truly undermined ELECTIVES.

Oh, how I wish my studies would have at least three or four electives…

Unfortunately, CBS does not offer, or at least last year, it did not offer a course that involves coding that required very little prior knowledge about a specific language. I figured; you can only make your living better at home if you learn from your neighbors. I do consider CBS a bit of my home as I spend so much, just SO MUCH time in that library. And so, I started to look for alternatives at other universities in and around Copenhagen.

(Illustration by Carla Altes Mas)

Copenhagen’s University (KU) had a great solution to my need in the form of an intensive one-month course in Social Data Science. Afterwards, I found out from different places that ITU has similar courses, so if you are not a fan of KU but want to find a similar elective: there’s your other option.

To be fair, I was not sure whether social data science is an interesting path or not, but it was a good opportunity to see how the strange wording of Python can help in any way.

With this in mind, my view of this elective was strongly rooted in the following ideas:

  1. It was a first attempt
  2. I’ll get to learn a bit of Python
  3. I will definitely know for the future what I either want or don’t want to study more

How did it go?

Pretty bad… but I survived.

It turned out that what I had got myself into was much harder to process than I had thought, and that the exam for that specific course hit me harder than any other exam I had to go through.

Bear in mind that these summer courses are intense, and when it comes to learning another language while using it for data analysis… that may come as overkill. Especially if you are trying to work a day or two in the meantime, just to make sure you pay the rent…

I cried quite a few times just thinking the worst about myself and how I am not able to process new knowledge. Also WHY did everyone around me seem to get it so easily even though we were at a similar level? WHY?

I still don’t know why. And I dreaded that exam! In fact, I didn’t even do well in that exam. I barely passed!

Then why am I still talking about Python?

Because, true, the course was too much for me at that point in time. And I should certainly have considered taking time completely off work. But that course showed me that I’d like to understand the problems that we had to solve, and that I’d definitely like to learn more about how to use Python for data analysis, data handling and modelling. It was just too much to learn for that but just enough to learn from.

Do I still keep in touch with Python?

Yes. It definitely ‘bit’ my interest and seems quite a helpful snake to have around.

After the course, I redid almost all the exercises and have gone through the curriculum again and now I am starting an AI course offered by this awesome student society at CBS: TechLabs. At this point, I feel like Python has conquered me and it is only fair for me to try to conquer it back. I can only wish myself good luck!

To you, the interested you: The best of luck! Don’t be afraid! You’ll be proud of yourself and very satisfied with that self-pat on the shoulder!

 

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