Per an earlier Formspring post (avert your eyes, Justine Bateman), I mentioned [what I think is] the importance of acquiring skills outside of your primary areas of interest/career focus and it occurred to me that I mostly do that incrementally. Couple that with the fact that a lot of what I do work-wise isn’t so new to me at this point and that my learning curve seems to have flattened off (read: I know how to blog! Finally!) and I have to conclude that I’m not doing much that makes me work hard intellectually. And I think I’ve killed enough brain cells at this point with various recreational activities that I can’t afford to lose any more.
One caveat: Fiction writing is very stimulating in that respect, but it’s very right-brained creative stuff, and part of the reason I feel brain dead sometimes is that not a lot of left-brained activity in my work anymore. Finance was draining in other ways, but it was a nice balance.
So I wanted to do something new that’s more left-brain-y and difficult [for me, at least] than what I mostly do for work, and decided to opt for programming. I’m attempting to learn Python via MIT’s Open Courseware Comp Sci courses, Google and general determination to crack something I don’t know how to do.
So here’s a newbie question for programmers: if you were starting from scratch as one of The Olds (which I am, vis-a-vis most people who learn Python as a starter language), what would you do? What would you read? How would you practice?
(I’m not guaranteeing that I won’t completely flake and drop this in two months, but I was trying to decide between this and some general mathematics stuff, and it seemed more practical.)
So what would you do?