Python Programming and the Sneaker Game; The Jumpstart

 

I was prompted to write this piece because I often get questions asking ‘where do I start learning to make sneaker scripts?’ or ‘how do I learn Python?’ I feel as though I get or see these questions daily now, and I personally think it’s awesome. Very rarely you see a combination of people with these mutual interests, sneakers and coding. I think the greatest thing about it though is the fact that it’s so easy to apply your coding knowledge to specific sneaker tools that could help you and others along the way. However, if you have no background in programming I can understand why the other side of the coin is so mysterious. Overall, the sneaker game itself is mysterious in many ways and delving into how coding can benefit users in such a place introduces you into a very niche group. Those that know what they are doing have little reason to share with others. And those who do not know what they are doing have very little direction. I’ll try to clarify some things that could possibly help you understand more about learning programming and where you can look. However, I also try to explain how it isn’t for everyone and you should reflect as to whether this is something you are actually interested in or you’re just falling into the ‘hype.’ 

Part of the reason programming and sneaker scripts are so ‘underground’ is that a lot of people who do create them do not share them. Of course, this makes sense because programming knowledge in the sneaker game can almost always directly equate to personal profit. Whether it’s access to a monitor that can scan specific websites for stock updates, or a special program to help you purchase multiple pairs from a site that people have never heard of, or scraping/pulling early available product images to find product IDs; scripting can make you money in many ways. So, why would these coders share their secrets?

It’s not always about the money though. I’m sure most of you are aware of the social stigmas that are associated with computer scientists or programmers. A lot suffer from a detraction from society and don’t possess those typical social skills a person typically may have. You won’t find many that are willing to just talk about such things. A lot of times it’s hard to just find who these people are. Many of them hide underneath nondescript profiles and just work in the background. But anyways, in the end it results in less information being available to people who are interested in learning how to do more with programming.

Both previously mentioned limitations are something that we can’t change. However, something that we do have control over is how and where we search for information. There are various resources and websites that hold information that could be beneficial to people that are attempting to introduce themselves to programming. If you’re not familiar with programming at all you may not know of these resources, and so here’s a quick rundown.

To start with the basics, you may be looking for a completely fresh introduction to programming. I know of a few resources that could help you get jump started, but you can’t expect to learn everything from them. The way you learn is by coming up with a simple project and working on it, learning as you go. That would include dealing with plenty of issues along the way and learning how to solve them as you go. You can go through introductions, but they will only provide you with the fundamentals. Now, let’s look at a few options. Keep in mind that I am only focusing on Python in this article because I feel as though it is easier for most people to pick-up as compared to other languages.

If you are more of a visual learner, you may want to focus on a YouTube series that focuses on teaching you the ropes. This playlist on YouTube runs you through all the basics of Python. You surely don’t need to watch all the videos to understand the basics of Python. However, it’s all great to know in case you run into a roadblock relating to a certain section. I recently came across this series and found it was a very good foundation for those that are looking to learn the language.

YouTube: Python Tutorial for Beginners 1

If you are more of a textual learner, you may want to look at the following resource. I typically send most people this resource because I found it very useful when brushing up on some of my own skills. It covers a ton of information and has plenty of exercises for you to use and practice with. You surely don’t need to purchase anything with this either. All of it is available for free unless you want to be given access to the video tutorials.

Learn Python the Hard Way 

If you just want the bare minimum of understanding, you can look at the following resource. It’s basic, but it introduces you to a lot of the important concepts as well. I think the best part about this one is the interactive coding plugins that let you work in real-time. You could start with the ‘Hello, World!’ exercise and only go through up until the ‘Modules and Packages’ section to get a good understanding of the language.

Learn Python

Now, you’ll want to pick one of the three paths I just introduced to you. In the end, they will all mostly take you to the same place. You’ll come out with the same understandings from most tutorials. There aren’t too many topics to cover and they aren’t too hard to understand either. Like most things in life, you just have to work at and with them to understand them better. Now, you are going to get stuck at certain points, but that’s completely normal. Those who get stuck and persevere are the ones who are most successful. The more roadblocks you face, the more information you know for avoiding them in the future.

If you do get stuck during any of the processes, you can always resort to searching your issue on a search engine, but you might want to keep this next site in mind.

Stack Overflow

This is going to be your holy grail of information. Users submit questions and answers about anything and everything. If you are dealing with a personal coding issue and you can’t figure it out yourself, I can almost guarantee your issue has been already documented on Stack Overflow with an answer. And not just one answer, multiple answers. It’s such a large community that your issue has probably been documented many times over and you should take advantage of this. Feel free to even submit your own questions if you can’t find what you’re looking for specifically.

The last place I would like to send you to is GitHub. GitHub is a public and private repository tool for storing and managing your projects. It’s one of the most popular coding tools online. An important distinction to realize is that with popularity comes a ton of information. There is a lot of good, but a lot of bad. You’re going to have to learn how to sort through some of crud to find what you’re looking for. With that though, you may have heard of the term ‘open-source’ and GitHub is designed beautifully for such. Open-source refers to the idea that original source code is made available to the public so that it may be improved or tweaked by other people who are also interested in the project. You might see where I’m going with this now. If you take a browse through GitHub, you can find projects that closely relate to certain ideas you may have wanted to undertake but don’t have a direction. With GitHub, you can search for a similar project, filter it by your language and view the source code of tons of various projects. You can visualize and understand what other people are doing. If you find something you like, you can use GitHub and do what’s called a ‘fork’ and start working on that specific project and start tailoring it to your own personal needs without modifying the original creator’s files. You create your own copy of the creator’s files and start editing the same work; that’s basically what a fork is. Otherwise, you can simply use the information that you’ve found to better understand what you want to do with your own project or how you can solve a problem.

GitHub

Ok, so let’s say you made it through all the tutorials in the world and you have your fundamentals down. Now what? Do you stay up late nights thinking about never-ending while loops and impressing your friends with how you would solve FizzBuzz in 6 lines? Do you go on to making the next premier sneaker bot or selling copies of your Barney’s image scraper? Or maybe you simply want to just create simple scripts that help you with creating excel spreadsheets for your add-to-cart company.

Anyways, what I’m trying to say here is, what exactly do you plan on doing with your newfound knowledge? The first thing that comes to mind is the quote ‘[You] were so preoccupied with whether [you] could, [you] didn’t stop to think if [you] should.’ In no way am I trying to sway you away from learning how to program. The skill itself is great to know, but before you jump in I’m asking you to reflect on why you want to do so. For some it’s an easy question to answer. They are going into a computer or tech related field and it’s a great thing to throw on a resume. You put a few projects you’ve worked on and explain how you understand how to program and things open up for you. However, if you are studying arts and humanities and you have no intention of working with computers, ask yourself why. Make an assessment. Is the initial investment, time and money worth the outcome? What are you going to be creating? You may not even create anything. In the end, you could simply have a better understanding and appreciation of programming itself. Is that alone worth the effort to you? These are simply some questions to mull about before you think you need to learn how to program to accomplish the tasks you desire.

I appreciate you taking the time to read through this article. Depending on the feedback I receive I may continue with this and start delving into more specifics for those that do decide that programming or working with Python is for them. Like I said before, direction is hard for those that do not know, and I’m simply trying to help with that. If you know, you know. Or better yet; If you know, help others know.


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Anthony