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Gateway to coding: Python essentials

Updated Thursday, 14th November 2019

Discover programming and possibly gain a professional certification, via an online interactive experience – where you are not required to install software.

Programming is a skill that goes beyond computer science. Many data experts, scientists, mathematicians and engineers (among many others) also use programming as a core skill within their professional lives. Not everyone needs to become an expert programmer, however having a modest level of programming skill is useful. This helps you develop your professional profile, employability and problem-solving skills.

Python – named after the Monty Python comedy phenomenon (who said that computer scientists lack a sense of humour!), is currently a popular programming language for two reasons:

  • You can gain instant feedback from the code; discovering what works and of course, what didn’t work.
  • It has key coding components found in many professional programming languages. It is also used commercially, making it a great starting point for any wannabe programmers.

The Open University, in collaboration with Cisco NetAcad and the Institute of Coding, are pleased to be able to offer a professionally recognised Python essentials programming course – for free! Presented in two stages within the same course, you can complete the Principles phase, covering programming fundamentals, and the Essentials phase, taking you towards the first steps in professional competence.

The course is 70 hours, this is based on an average learner. For some, it will be quick, others may take longer – we know that many people have very busy lives. The Principles phase is approximately 40 hours in length, followed by the Essentials phase covering a further 30 hours. At each stage, you can test your proficiency – the course has its own in-built web-based Python coding platform. This means that you are not expected to install any specialist software.

You can take this course as a taster, use it to develop your confidence, discover a new programming language or, while not obligatory, consider taking the optional internationally recognised profession certification associated with this course. Potentially improving your employment prospects.

There is no timescale for this course – when you click on the link at the bottom of this page, you may notice a notional end date – this rolls forward slowly over time.

Enrol now.

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