Does this sound familiar?! Did you also had multiple goes at scripting before?
Something weird is happening in the last few years. The desire to improve your own life and acquiring new skills is rising while the actual execution is falling. Often we kind of learn something new but rarely enough to actually have a deeper impact on our lives.
At the start of all of my masterclasses I ask my students "What do you want to achieve here?". The most common answer these days is:
"I tried to learn scripting before and failed.
This time I finally want to get it once and for all."
On one side I get it. I once was in the same shoes of not being into scripting and avoiding it since "I am not a programmer" until I was. On the other side I always wondered how those successful people who learned professional skills on their own - mostly without any school to teach them - are failing to learn scripting? It's kind of bizarre but the difference lies in admiration. Most of us admire films, games, work or people. I don't think any of us here admires software or pipelines. (Okay maybe I do a little but it wasn't always like that.)
Most of us want to learn scripting because we were told that it's good for work and career and we saw how practical it can be in action. So why isn't that enough?
Because it's alien and it's hard. We forget how slow we crawled through the process of actually acquiring our current skills. We invested countless of hours often without noticing before deciding to become good or professional at it. Most of us never even touched scripting before until we decided to become scripter.
A lot of professionals joining my masterclasses are there to finally get it which is a great challenge. To learn something like scripting I believe you have to have a community of similar learners, being held accountable, need assignments and deadlines, clear and current goals so you have the motivation, daily scripting routines and chances to ask questions and opportunities to get feedback on your scripts to know what you're doing well and what needs to be improved. It's just that simple! 😄
Okay, maybe it's not thaaaaaaat simple especially when we actually break it down like this. But it's not that hard either. Here is what I think you need to learn scripting in a short amount of time so it sticks:
Well structured learning materials with videos and notes
Q&As to ask questions
Regular assignments to test your understanding
Deadlines and assignment feedback to learn and keep pushing
A community of similar minded people who go through the same process
A clear and current goal to see success
After teaching Python for years now this concept works best for most. If Alcoholics Anonymous told us something than that we can get through anything if we do it in a group. I can't promise to get everyone - believe me I tried - because life gets in the way, some overestimate their motivation and commitment and maybe you don't get my teaching style. But I am aiming to get most of you so you can finally say to your colleagues, friends and family - who will ask you to fix their PC afterwards:
"I know scripting!"
Here is how I got into scripting:
After studying law for a few years I noticed that it wasn't for me. Surprise! Law is incredibly boring. So I was looking for other ways to do "something with media". Journalism had too much history in its curriculum and all those fancy private schools for games and animation just looked awfully expensive but cheap in their education. For non Europeans: Education is mostly free in Germany. My eyes landed on media computer science and I thought: "I like the media part but I'm not a fan of the computer science part." remembering how I cheated my way in computer science at school.
I decided to give it a try anyway. So I went to the library where I worked part time and collected all the books for beginner I could find - I probably picked the one with the prettiest covers - and started to read. The first few weeks felt like looking into a void. "What is this binary and hex stuff?!" I was wondering. After a few pages I stopped and opened another book and another one and another one and so on.
A few weeks went by until I noticed something. I noticed that I slowly got it. I still wasn't sure why I learned all this unnecessary bullshit but I got the basics. So I started to actually write some code in Java and had my first eureka moment when the computer told me: "Looks okay!". I remember sitting alone in my room and celebrating with a loud "Yeah!". That was the moment I got hooked on scripting and applied for a degree in media computer science and the rest is history or a story for another time.
Here is my story and a few tips in video form:
Learning scripting can be tough but it doesn't need to be. If you also want to finally get Python and have the will to execute the next semester for my Python masterclasses starts in April. They're now open for enrollment and limited to a certain group size. Check out my Python for Maya and Python for Nuke masterclasses. See you there! 😊
Thanks for reading,
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