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Ask HN: High School Student Looking For Learning Resources
9 points by crispycret 1764 days ago | hide | past | web | 11 comments | favorite
Hello everyone, my name is Brandon and I'm a junior in high school. I have been programming in Python for almost a year now and have been, for the most part guided by my teacher. Now I'm reaching a point where my programs are to complex and asking my teacher for feedback is time consuming, preventing me from programming as much as I want. So I would like to take on the role of teacher for myself, and be active in the hacker community.

I have the basics of programming down and have been practicing MVC framework for desktop applications. I'm currently getting into Django to start learning web frameworks and databases. I’m not sure where I should go from here. I am stuck on what resources to use, and how to get word of upcoming resources.

Can anyone recommend some resources I can use for independent learning such as websites to follow, and books to read, that will make sense to me but is respected by the professionals. The resources I find are either not complex enough or to complex. If anyone can help me get on a path so that I can be in charge of my own learning, I would be very grateful.

One thing that worked really well for me when I was learning was StumbleUpon. Choose the python, html, css, web design, photoshop, etc categories and stumble along until you find a tutorial or article that interests you. It will expose you to alot of concepts and topics you otherwise wouldn't have thought to teach yourself.

Also, come up with an idea that you think is just out of reach of your current skill and just dive in and build it! It doesn't have to be the best thing in the world, and you don't have to be focused on making money with it, but the process of trying to architect the thing, and then putting together all the pieces will be a more valuable experience than any classroom could give you. You have IRC, stackoverflow, and other similar resources to ask for help if needed.

Hi Brandon! I am also in high school (currently a sophomore). Personally, I would suggest two main things.

1. Just build something. You said you were using Django. Find an idea, and build it! You will learn a lot as you build it. 2. Udacity. I found the Udacity online courses to be amazing! They are very helpful (I took Web Development (CS253) taught by Steve Huffman)!

Thanks for the Udacity resource I will definitely go check that out. Just wondering but do you have any finished public projects? I would really like to see how another high schooler approaches programming.

Don't worry too much about whether or not the sources are "respected by professionals." Rather, you should focus on whether or not the information is good.

If you're interested in theory, I would point to iTunes U; I've been impressed with what I've seen of the courses there. I personally can't recommend any books (that's not really my learning style; I'm much more hands-on).

For the mechanics of programming, there's nothing better than just writing code. The Python docs are a great source of information, as are sites like Stack Overflow; search engines will be your friend if you get stuck. Open source code can be a good reference, as mentioned below, for seeing approaches to a specific problem (or implementations of a specific algorithm), but pouring through reams of others' code probably isn't the best use of time.

Overall, you sound like you're off to a good start. I'm a senior in high school, but, a year into my learning, I wasn't nearly as far along as you.

iTunes U, that's very interesting. I've never really used iTunes so I had no idea they offered tutorials.

I have tried open source projects a little on github but the files were too long. I'll look more into open source but I need to dig around to find smaller projects. If there are any small projects you can recommend that would be great.

Thanks for the help, I will start digging into the resources you gave after I take a look at Udacity.

I've not done enough work with Python specifically to be able to recommend any projects; sorry. As for iTunes U, it's all recorded college courses (some with exercises and the like, others without); some are better than others (both in terms of content), but you'll have to look in the description about prerequisites and languages used.

Yeah that was what I thought when you mentioned iTunes, thanks.

I guess you're mainly looking for python related stuff. But if you're open to alternatives and me being a c guy, I would suggest hacking through the linux man pages and libc, it will definately help your overall programming skills and understanding of cs.

Here's a link (posted elsewhere on HN) to intro c programming resouces online: http://www.mycplus.com/featured-articles/best-free-programmi...

So something that worked for me when I was starting out was to reverse engineer an existing Opensource project or maybe even look at their buglist. IMO reading code and figuring out the intuition behind it is almost half the battle. You may also want to pick up some engineering/algorithms/computer science books to get the underlying (and almost universally) applicable concepts.

Coursera is a good place to start.

Shoot me an email Brandon. You might enjoy hanging out with the Nuuton team. We work with python and django.

Thanks everyone for the response it helped a lot.

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