Phase 2: Setting Up Your Learning Environment

2.1 Initial Learning Setup

This guide is part of a larger roadmap to data engineering. Please refer back for context.

 

In this section we’re going to introduce two easy to use and completely browser-based python coding tools: Repl.it and Colab Notebooks.

 

Browser-Based Python Coding

 

Ready to dive into the world of coding? 

 

Python is your ticket to a thrilling journey in data science, data engineering, and AI. Known for its simplicity and versatility, Python is often hailed as the easiest first language to learn. It’s not just beginner-friendly; it’s a powerhouse, becoming the de facto standard language for AI and data-driven technologies.

 

Fun Fact: Python is named after the British comedy series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” – a choice that reflects the language’s focus on simplicity and fun!

 

 

Getting Started with Repl.it – A Browser-Based Code Editor

 

Repl.it offers a seamless and accessible way to start coding in Python directly from your browser. No downloads, no complex setup. Just pure coding fun! Here’s a quick guide to get you started:

 

  1. Create an Account:
    • Visit Repl.it and sign up for a free account. It’s a straightforward process that opens the door to a world of coding.

  1. Start a New Python Project:
    • Once logged in, click on the ‘+’ button or ‘New Repl’ to start a new project.
    • Choose Python as your language from the list.
  2. Write Your First Python Code:
    • In the editor, you can start typing your Python code. Try something simple like print(“Hello, World!”).

    • Click the ‘Run’ button to execute your code and see the output instantly.
    • Use AI to write code for you, explain concepts, or digest other code you found online.

  3. Explore and Experiment:
    • Choose from a wide range of available python learning sites like YouTube or Scrimba while having your repl.it tab open for exercises.
  4. Save and Share:
    • Your projects are automatically saved. You can also share them with others or collaborate online, making it a great tool for learning and teamwork.
 

Advantages of Using Repl.it:

  • Accessibility: Code from anywhere, anytime. All you need is a browser.
  • Ease of Use: User-friendly interface, perfect for beginners.
  • No Setup Required: Forget about installation hassles. Just open and code!
  • Real-Time Feedback: Instantly see the results of your code, which is great for learning.
  • Collaboration: Share your code and collaborate with others online.
 
 

Understanding Python Notebooks

 

Imagine a magical book where your Python code comes to life. That’s essentially what Python notebooks are – a go-to tool for data scientists and data engineers. And guess what? They’re also browser-based, combining the power of coding and documentation in one place.

 

What Are Python Notebooks?

Python notebooks are interactive documents that allow you to write and run Python code in chunks (called cells), interspersed with notes, comments, and any other content you’d like to add like images and graphs. It’s like having a code-friendly diary!

 

Advantages of Python Notebooks:

  • Interactive Learning: Run code as you write it. Instantly see what works and what doesn’t.
  • Documentation: Mix code with markdown cells. Leave yourself notes, explanations, or even breadcrumbs of your thought process.
  • Resource-Rich: Embed links, images, and resources directly in your notebook. It’s a centralized hub for all your learning materials.
  • Collaborative: Share your notebooks with peers or mentors for collaborative projects or feedback.
 
 

Introducing Google Colab Notebooks

Google Colab is a free, browser-based notebook environment that requires no setup and runs entirely in the cloud. It’s perfect for machine learning, data analysis, and education.

 

Getting Started with Google Colab:

  1. Access Google Colab:
    • Visit Google Colab. You’ll need a Google account to sign in.
  2. Create a New Notebook:
    • Once in, click on ‘New Notebook’ to start your adventure. A new tab with a fresh notebook will open.
  3. Write and Run Code:
    • Click on a cell, type in some Python code, then press ‘Shift + Enter’ to run it. Watch as the results appear right below the cell.
  4. Add Markdown Cells:
    • Click on the ‘+ Text’ button in the toolbar to add a markdown cell. Here, you can write notes, add links, or explain your code.
  5. Save and Share Your Work:
    • Your notebooks are automatically saved to Google Drive. Share them directly with others for collaboration or feedback.
 

Why Colab Rocks for Learning:

  • Zero Setup: Just open your browser and start coding.
  • Powerful Resources: Access to GPUs for machine learning, completely free.
  • Seamless Integration: Easily import data from your Google Drive, GitHub, or other sources.