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It’s that time of year again! Time to set goals for expanding your programming skills while perfecting what you already know. This year, why not make a resolution to learn a new computer language? A new language under your belt—or new tools and services— doesn’t just give you more choices when deciding what projects to work on. It also helps you to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the computer language(s) you already know as you figure out why the new language does things the way it does.

 

Throughout this month, we will continue to help you with setting your learning goals. We will be sharing beginner’s content on some of the most used as well as fastest growing languages, tools and services.

 

According to GitHub statistics , Python is now the second-most-popular language by repository contributors, having just surpassed Java this past year. Python is commonly considered one of the easier programming languages to learn. With the growth of data science and machine learning, it has also become one of the more powerful languages being used in the marketplace.

 

If you are looking to learn Python, a great starting point is the Introduction to Python course on Microsoft Learn. This is a 1-hour course made up of 10 modules. The course teaches you the theory behind the Python language. It then gives you Python exercises that you can complete in the browser using Azure Cloud Shell. This will ultimately get you through the Hello, World! phase of language learning. When you are comfortable with the basics, you should also take a look at this great 44 video series called Programming with Python that we have been working on. And then, for a fun way to get into the more philosophical aspects of the Python language, join Brian and Cecil for their discussion of advanced looping techniques!

 

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One reason many developers are currently learning Python is to become fluent in machine learning. Machine learning is one of the fastest-growing offerings on Microsoft Azure. You can apply and extend your Python skills by working through the 2-hour Introduction to machine learning with Python and Azure Notebooks course, also on Microsoft Learn. With this learning path, you will get started using Jupyter Notebooks – one of the most popular ways to do data science with Python. You will then dig deeper through exercises like creating a scatterplot, performing linear regressions, and using seaborn, a popular tool for data visualization. After you complete all of that, you can try out the next course where  you’ll try your hand at training a machine learning model in Python to predict flight delays based on actual flight data. Finally, you will learn about Keras, an important machine learning library that works with multiple platforms such as TensorFlow and Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit. Like everything else here, you will learn by doing as you  analyze sentiment with Keras. All together, the entire machine learning path takes about four hours to finish, and just think how much you will have accomplished in only half a day!

 

If you intend to use your new Python and machine learning skills for open source projects, it might be a good time to level up on your GitHub commands as well. To this end, you can work through the Microsoft Learn module Implement a code workflow in your build pipeline by using Git and GitHub or Monitor GitHub events by using a webhook with Azure Functions. In just one afternoon, you can master some awesome GitHub skills that will get you a step closer to Git mastery.

 

Don’t let another year slip by as a monoglot when you can set a goal to become a programming language polyglot! Microsoft Learn is a great place to plan out your learning goals at your own pace as you master the tech skills you need to become proficient in the newest and coolest tools, technologies, and platforms.

 

Feel free to check back throughout the month of January to get more tips on upping your software game.  We are going to keep this series rolling with advice on which programming skills are going to be big in the coming year along with pointers and resources to get you started learning new languages, tools and platforms.