Automate the Boring Stuff is offered by Udemy as an online course. It is a beginner-friendly course that teaches how to automate with Python. It is for students and working professionals who are looking to create scripts that can make their workload more efficient. This review of the online course includes an outline of what I learned and how the modules can be applied in a work or school setting. A few examples include PDF and web scraping, moving and renaming files with Python and using Python to open webpages.
No prior coding experience is necessary to understand the modules, but some experience with Python and Excel is helpful. Let’s dive into the review.
The course includes 16 sections with 1-7 lessons per section. There are a total of 51 lectures and 10 hours of video content. Ideally, you will be comfortable moving files, entering queries in the command line and using Excel beforehand. The course ranges from simple string creation to making your own automated functions. Each section has a separate learning objective. This makes it easier for working professionals to jump ahead to the sections that best fit their goals.
Udemy’s Automate the Boring Stuff with Python is akin to a crash course for those with zero knowledge of Python, but I was surprised by how complex some of the lessons were. Do not expect to move briskly through the course. Each module is like a little puzzle to solve with new values, expressions and functions introduced.
The video lectures are fast-paced, and you may need a more in-depth explanation after completing one. For this reason, I encourage learners to branch out of the course and use other resources such as www.python.org, and Sweetcode’s automation tutorials for deeper understanding.
Learning to Automate with Python
I began learning Python as a way to automate certain tasks for college and work. Like many others, I sought ways to make functions and formulas in Excel more efficient, open folders without having to go into each directory separately, and maybe even send emails from Python. I also wanted to understand the very basics of coding with Python so that I could build on that knowledge for future projects.
I think the average user can accomplish some of these learning goals with this online course. However, there are some limitations. The lessons are very “bare bones,” but enlightening. I learned how to install Python and additional modules as needed. I also was able to create small scripts that performed tasks after only completing one or two lectures in the course.
But if you’re looking for the basics of coding etiquette, you will need to research outside sources. Otherwise, there is a risk of developing bad coding habits. Also, many of the coding techniques taught use repetitive methods, which can result in pages upon pages of repeating lines. This can be difficult to read, so learners will have to find ways to increase neatness and readability after completing the course.
Applying Automate the Boring Stuff
As someone who uses PDF files and spreadsheets every day at work, learning to use Python to perform tasks on my behalf has been invaluable. The process has saved me at least 20 to 30 minutes of administrative work each day.
Some examples are using openpyxl modules to open, read and write to spreadsheets. Also, using PdfPy2 to read, write and gather information from PDF files. Using shutil.copy and shutil.move modules, I created scripts to automatically move certain documents into their respective folders.
When a college semester begins, I regularly have up to 10 tabs open in my browser just for one class. Many students, myself included, use cloud-based apps and storage for sharing documents with other students or just for the accessibility from anywhere. The benefit of these being online is that you can automatically open them with Python using the webbrowser.open module.
Similarly, after learning a bit of Python, I created small scripts that automatically open all of my streaming services at once. After a long day, it’s nice to just click a button and choose which movie I would like to watch, rather than opening each and every streaming application in my laptop browser.
Udemy’s Automate The Boring Stuff with Python course is a valuable resource for beginners. Topics covered teach you to automate simple tasks using Python and encourage users to expand their coding knowledge. For deeper understanding of coding etiquette and uses, the course may be a bit too simplistic and fast paced. However, after completing this I now yearn to learn even more coding languages as well as how to use Python for more projects.