There is just something about listening to people talk about a programming concept in person — or having to explain a programming concept to another person — that makes mastering the material a lot more fun, and the frustrations much easier to struggle through.

Obviously the bulk of the learning comes during one’s own time — i.e. when you’re following a tutorial, or independently writing code. However, I’ve found that the simple act of going to tech meetups and talking about the web development experience with other people has been incredibly helpful in accelerating my learning. At these meetups, I’ve:

  • debugged terminal/installation/language syntax problems with some slight guidance from more experienced developers;
  • walked newbies through pushing and pulling from git, javascript, and Bootstrap CSS;
  • solved a problem I got stuck with in the middle of doing a supplementary exercise in Tango with Django by using South, thanks to some guidance from a more experienced Django developer;
  • gotten recommendations for several good Python and Django tutorials, including Two Scoops of Django, Tango with Django, and this slidedeck about epic disasters with South;
  • recommended Udacity’s Intro to OOP course to a lot of beginners struggling through Learn Python the Hard Way (Hi! Hope it’s been helpful!);
  • reviewed basic python and OOP concepts in random conversation;
  • realized that I knew a lot more about installing Django with virtualenv than I thought I did when I had to explain it to a Django beginner;
  • reviewed Python fundamentals at two PyLadies meetups and got access to some awesome slides:
  • forked a Jekyll blog and collected some really useful tips about developing in Jekyll (hello, SASS and Grunt and jekyll serve –watch commands!) as well as migrating from WordPress to Jekyll

I am grateful to all those who’ve shared help, tutorial tips, and “talked shop” with me. Below is a collage of some photos from these meetups.

classesAndrei from a Python meetup explains OOP with drawings of houses.

datastructuresI meet Marcus, who has a well-worn hard copy of this book, which you can incidentally find online for free: This book is definitely on my reading list, by the way.

A presenter at a PyLadies meetup does a lightning talk about how his startup uses Flask and AngularJS.

I learn about how uses multi-armed bandit to do A/B testing.

Inspiration from more experienced folks at a Google-hosted event for women in technology.

This is what the office window view looked like at dawn on a Sunday morning at a hackathon.

Sometimes astronauts are present at hackathons too.

My first time being introduced to these python notebooks — great for presentations!

Python review from a presenter.

I learn about the cool things Selenium, a Python package, can do to help QA testers. In this demo, Christie (the presenter) demo-ed the browser automagically logging into WordPress and creating a post.

I accidentally took this photo on my iPhone… this was some subway light reading from another free e-book called Think Python.

Useful screenshot from a Udacity course.

Women Who Code (a mix of complete beginners and experienced javascript devs) working on javascript!

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 7.48.20 PMForking Barry Clark’s jekyll starter repo.


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  • Hi, I'm Linda! I enjoy going to tech meetups, learning web development, and blogging about the learning path. Follow me @LPnotes

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