Free programming class for non-programmers

Aren't programmers weird?

I've been a programmer for a long time. I've gotten the impression that most people think programmers are somehow born, not made. We are just a little bit different (or a lot different). Probably introverted and anti-social.

Well, that's just not true. Programmers (like people of any other profession) come in all types. More importantly, anyone can learn to program! In our society, it's probably to everyone's benefit to learn a little programming.

Most people use computers at home, at work, or both. You can often make your life a lot easier by being able to write a simple little program to automate something that's a waste of your time. Plus, it'll give you insight into how the other programs you use work, resulting in less frustration when using computers in general.

Why this class?

One: Real help from a real person. You can e-mail me when you have problems and I'll help you. Where else can you get one-on-one training like this?

Sure, you can go take a class at your community college, or buy a book on programming. But if you haven't yet, you're probably not going to. Or maybe you tried and it was too confusing.

This class is explicitly for people with zero programming knowledge. Topics are introduced in the order that they are used, without a bunch of extra stuff thrown in.

I created this class because some friends and co-workers recently asked me about getting started with programming. Most don't ever want to write code for a living. They just want a better understanding of what their companies do.

Who should take this class?


Examples of real-life reasons people are taking this class:

  • A professional video game tester who wants to understand more about how games are made.
  • IT recruiters who talk to programmers every day. They want to understand enough to better screen candidates, and relate to the people they chat with.
  • A professional software tester who wants to know more about how the software being tested is made.
  • An IT professional who runs servers and manages software who wants to know how to write programs to help clients.
  • A tech support professional who wants to better understand error messages and the software they support.

What will I learn?

Lots of stuff, in bite-sized chunks. The ultimate goal is to build a Web application used to maintain information about your personal video game collection.

The programming language used is Python, because in the opinion of many people, it's one of the easiest languages out there. Also, it happens to be my personal favorite and the one with which I make a living. So I know a thing or two about it.

You're lying -- this is hard!

If you peeked down at the names of the lessons and saw things like elif, docstrings, sqlite you may have said "Ah ha! Look -- confusing stuff!" Please don't.

For example, do you know what a philtrum is? It's that groove between your upper lip and nose. Was that so hard? No. And we'll be taking it really slow, and you're not training to do brain surgery here. Just some typing.


If you do the lessons, please give me feedback. It'll help me make the class easier for everyone. Just e-mail me at

Wait, is that it?

More lessons will added as I create them. You'll know when we're done, because you'll have lost all fear of computers and you'll be dreaming up new projects during your commute.

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