Edouard Mathieu at Five Books talks to Ana Bell on her choices for the best five books on Computer Science and Programming. Dr. Bell is a lecturer in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at MIT for “Introduction to Computer Science and Programming using Python” and “Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science”. In 2017, she published “Get Programming: Learn to code with Python”, with the goal of helping beginners learn their first real programming language.
Mathieu and Bell discuss, in question/answer format, some of the topics that has led to her choosing five books out of thousands on the subject. A good example is the question ‘which language should I start with?’ and why the shift to Python:
The first reason is that more people want to learn how to program, and languages like C/C++ and Java are cumbersome, so the syntax is not as easy to understand. What makes Python interesting and easy to learn is that it’s like a rough translation of English into code. You’re speaking this sort of broken English, and if you read Python code out loud, you can often tell what’s going on, which is nice. In Python you also don’t have to declare types of variables, as you’d have to do in C/C++ or Java; that makes it even more accessible. You don’t have to think about that aspect, the language does it for you. Having eliminated these annoying little things is what makes Python enjoyable to everyone.
The article is an excellent read on how to approach learning the best aspects of programming and computer science.