Published by: Julia
The Coursera Python for Everybody course is for people with zero programming experience. This review covers how user-friendly it is, how easy the content is to follow. As well as what you will learn, and what to do next to build on the skills you have just learned.
Who is Charles Russell Severance your Python instructor?
Your instructor for Coursera´s Python for Everybody course is Charles Russell Severance (Chuck). He is a very personable guy, who has a great teaching style.
I was surprised by how much fun his classes were. His sense of humour really helps to keep you engaged. This is quite important because without this approach the course would be heavy going for someone who is completely new to programming.
At the time of my writing this review he was the Clinical Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. There he teaches a range of programming, web development, and database design courses.
By the way, I’ve reviewed a few different Coursera options, and you can read my full Coursera review here.
Clear and easy to follow python course
His experience as a teacher really shows through. As does the fact that he is the author of multiple books. Chuck manages to break complex subjects down and explain them in a way that most people can understand.
He speaks clearly and slowly enough for those who are not native English speakers to understand. Although there are subtitles available in several languages.
What the course covers
The course is broken down into the following sections :
- Install python on your device
- Learn the basic python commands
- Learn how to use variables to store, retrieve and calculate information
- Understand how to utilize basic programming tools such as loops and functions
- Practice arranging them into simple programs and executing them
Who is the Python for Everybody course designed for?
It really is a course for absolute beginners. If you can use a computer you can potentially take and complete this course.
You don´t even need to worry if you are not good at maths. No maths skills are required.
When you take the course, and engage in the forum you soon realize that quite a few IT professionals dip into it as a way of growing their skillset. In particular, engineers who want to get started with Python.
I saw this as a good sign. Although it did mean that some of the question and answer session threads went right over my head. But, that does not matter. If you are struggling to grasp even the basics, you just have to ask a fresh question, follow only that thread and wait for someone to answer you. Usully you do not have to wait more than a few hours or a day or two.
The fact that there is so much potential help available on the platform is a big plus. It is one of the reasons I like Coursera so much, to find out more about what Coursera has to offer, just read my full review.
How long will it take to complete this course?
The course description says it requires 19 hours of work to complete everything. But the truth is it takes a lot of students far longer than that. If you want the certificate, you will need to complete and pass each assignment. Something that not everyone can do quickly.
The first few tasks are super easy. But, after that, it gets far trickier. If you get stuck it can take you many hours to work out what you have done wrong.
How much support do you get?
It is against the rules to share even a line of code with other students. So, nobody will be able to review your code and say “ah I see the one mistake you have made, just add parentheses to line XYZ”. Not being able to get this type of feedback, is crazy frustrating. Half the time it is a stupid mistake like that which is holding you back. I was not surprised to learn that a significant percentage of students give up at some point.
I only managed to work out what I had done wrong, by asking in other forums and using Python code checkers. If I had not been able to get help elsewhere online I would have given up sooner.
Don´t get me wrong the TAs (assistants) will give you plenty of support and guidance. But, they will not tell you the answer.
The forum also allows other students to help you out. In some ways, this is more useful. If they are at a similar level to you, it is easier for them to “step into your shoes” and better understand what is confusing you. Some of the TAs lack the ability to do this and can come across as a bit exasperated.
What can you do with what you learn?
If your aim is to land a programming job, what you learn from the Python for Everybody class won´t be enough to allow you to do that. It will however set you on the right path.
This is a good introductory course. One that those that already work in the IT industry respect enough to use themselves.
Build some tools for yourself
To get a job programming in Python, you will still have a long way to go after completing this course. Your next step is to start to cement what you have learned. Completing a few simple projects is the best way to do this.
It could be something like creating your own hangman game. Or maybe automating the updating of data in a spreadsheet you use, or the process of searching the web and downloading information. You can also go online and complete some of the simply Python challenges. Using what you have learned is the best way to master thoses skills.
Take the other Coursera Python Specialization courses
At the same time, you can move on and take some of the other courses that are a part of Coursera´s Python Specialization. There are 5 included in this specialization, which are designed to gradually increase your skillset as you complete them. They are:
- Python Data Structures
- Using Python to Access Web Data
- Using Databases with Python
- Capstone: Retrieving, Processing, and Visualizing Data with Python
All of the above courses are taught by Charles Russell Severance (Chuck) from Michigan University. Most people really like his teaching style. If, for some reason you don´t just try one of these two introductory Coursera Python courses instead:
- Crash Course on Python – provided by Google
- Python Basics – provided by another Michigan University professor
If after getting the basics down you want to build your skills further or apply your Phyton knowledge to a specific industry, take a look at these other Coursera Python courses:
- Python 3 Programming
- Statistics with Python
- Applied Data Science with Python
- Google IT Automation with Python
- Python for Data Science and AI
Start to apply for jobs
As you begin to finish those and challenge yourself by completing more personal projects, you will be able to start to think about applying for jobs. Firms are desperate for people with these skills, so even though you don´t yet have a lot of experience and only Coursera certificates you should be able to get a job.
It will likely be a junior role and not very well paid. But working in the industry will soon build your experience levels up to the point where you can secure a good salary.
If that turns out not to be possible, once you have completed the 5 courses in the specialization you will definitely have enough skills to work voluntarily for a charity you care about. Enabling you to demonstrate to prospective employers what you are capable of and breakthrough into the world of IT.
How much does the Coursera Python for Everybody course cost?
If you do not want the certification, you can complete the Python for Everybody course for free. You can review everything and complete the assignments yourself. But, they won´t be marked, so there will be no certificate.
You can complete this course and get the certification by signing up for the specialization. At the time of writing this, that cost $43 a month. This enables you to access all 5 courses in the specialization. But, don´t worry you are not committed to taking them all and staying signed up for the subscription until you do.
If all you want to do is to take the Python for Everybody and get the certification, you can knuckle down and get it done in just a month, then cancel your subscription.
A lot of people do exactly that. Or you can take longer and continue to pay the $43 per month until you have completed it.
If you do want a programming job, but cannot afford to go to college, I would say that this Python course is a good first stepping stone.
Read about some of the other Coursera courses I have taken
If you have enjoyed this review, why not read about some of the other Coursera courses I have completed, starting with one of the most popular ones on the platform – The Yale Well-Being and Happiness Coursera course.