How much Python do you need to learn to start creating projects? What’s a good balance of information and hands-on practice? This week on the show, Eric Matthes is here to discuss his book Python Crash Course.

As a former high school science, math, and programming teacher, Eric saw something missing in the programming publishing landscape. We discuss the guiding questions that inspired the book’s development and the title. Eric covers how the crash course takes readers through a fast-paced introduction to Python that culminates in three unique projects.

We also discuss Eric’s blog, Mostly Python, where he digs deeper into technical subjects. He also occasionally shares more topical posts and includes many exercises.

Course Spotlight: Plot With pandas: Python Data Visualization Basics

In this course, you’ll get to know the basic plotting possibilities that Python provides in the popular data analysis library pandas. You’ll learn about the different kinds of plots that pandas offers, how to use them for data exploration, and which types of plots are best for certain use cases.


  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:02:04 – Why Alaska?
  • 00:05:33 – What do you like about Python?
  • 00:06:40 – Becoming an author & the intended reader
  • 00:15:56 – History of programming books
  • 00:17:39 – Having a purpose for learning
  • 00:20:22 – Exercising as you go
  • 00:24:45 – Including projects in the book
  • 00:26:32 – Is the “crash course” a book model?
  • 00:29:20 – Video Course Spotlight
  • 00:30:29 – How much of a topic to reveal
  • 00:35:08 – Guiding questions
  • 00:42:43 – Moving from functions to testing in four chapters
  • 00:46:21 – What were you excited to update in the book?
  • 00:50:28 – Were there doubts about preparing readers for projects?
  • 00:53:52 – Space invaders clone pygame project
  • 00:55:52 – Data visualization project
  • 01:00:38 – Django web app project
  • 01:04:15 – Cheat sheets and additional resources
  • 01:07:54 – Python flash cards
  • 01:09:54 – What are you excited about in the world of Python?
  • 01:10:54 – What do you want to learn next?
  • 01:11:46 – How can people follow the work you do?
  • 01:13:06 – Thanks and goodbye

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