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Learn to code with Microsoft

"You can dive straight into the areas that you're most interest in (or confused by!)."

Microsoft has launched a free, 44-video "Python for Beginners" video series to encourage aspiring coders to get involved.

"You might be taking a look at Python," Microsoft's senior program manager, Christopher Harrison, said in a blog post. "Maybe you're drawn because of its popularity. Maybe you're drawn to its flexibility. With Python you can create solutions of all shapes and sizes. You can dig into web development. Simplify your life through automation. Or maybe begin building the future with machine learning.

"Picking up a new language is a common situation for modern-day developers. The days of going your entire career focused on one language are long since gone," Harrison added. Fortunately, concepts typically don't change as you move from one programming language to the next. Sure, the syntax might be different, but an if statement is still an if statement even when it's written using { } or End If. So, we don't need to learn how to program, but rather how to program in a new language."

Together with Susan Ibach, business development manager for Microsoft's AI gaming division, Harrison says the course is primarily for those with some programming experience, regardless of whether it's in JavaScript, Java or C# and so on. This means that while it covers the basics of Python, it does not delve further into the basics of programming itself - or as Harrison puts it, you won't be "taught what an if statement is, but rather what an if statement looks like in Python".

"While we won't cover everything there is to know about Python in the course, we want to make sure we give you the foundation on programming in Python, starting from common everyday code and scenarios," Harrison added. "At the end of the course, you'll be able to go and learn on your own, following along docs, tutorials, books, etc. We promise we're keeping things quick and to the point, so you can dive straight into the areas that you're most interest in (or confused by!)."

Admittedly, some of the videos are pretty short - as PC Gamer points out, one's just a couple of minutes long - and the lessons don't apply specifically to gaming, but it's a great place to start if you've ever been tempted to "learn to code", just as those angry internet strangers routinely insist.

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