Zed Shaw Visits Hackbright Academy

Zed Shaw is the author of “Learn Python the Hard Way”, an introduction to the language intended for beginning programmers, as well as a number of successors dealing with Ruby, C, SQL, and Regexes. A software engineer, Zed is best known for creating the Mongrel web server for Ruby web application. Mongrel was the first web server used by Twitter, and the inspiration for Node.js.
Zed Shaw
Author, Learn Python the Hard Way
Zed Shaw is the author of “Learn Python the Hard Way”, an introduction to the language intended for beginning programmers. As a software engineer, Zed is best known for creating the Mongrel web server for Ruby web application. Mongrel was the first web server used by Twitter, and the inspiration for Node.js.

The summer students at Hackbright Academy were treated to a free range Q&A session with Zed Shaw on Monday. The author of “Learn Python the Hard Way” talked about learning how to code and the thinking behind his seminal texts on programming.

“You are a not a Python person, or a Ruby person. You are a PROGRAMMER.”

Programming languages and their popularity changes over time. Zed cites real estate and Wall Street, and compares their popularity and funding allocations in converse to that of programming.

As the esteemed author of well-known texts for beginning programmers, Zed had some advice:

“Secrets to learning a programming language… You get a book, you type all the code in it, and you make it work.”

New programmers are advised to “put your code out there! Contribute to open source and post it on Github…” He clarifies that “if I had to crank out a website… it would be in Python or Django.” In the end, Zed emphasizes writing your own language as the best exercise for learning to program, as you learn the full inner workings of programming languages generally. Several Hackbright Academy students have invented their own programming languages for final projects at Hackbright, and successfully!

Due to popular request, Zed brought his guitar and amp over to Hackbright Academy and played two songs for the class after the Q&A session.

Thank you to Zed Shaw for coming out and meeting the students at Hackbright Academy – we use his text “Learn Python the Hard Way” in class and enjoyed meeting the author!