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I am a Linux server administrator first and foremost... Having said that, I have been asked by a former high school teacher of mine to teach students a bit about programming. Like any Linux administrator, I know my fair share of Python and Bash. The problem is that I know NOTHING about the lower level stuff like "machine code" and compilation.

The main purpose of this series is to teach programming, not computer science, so I don't need a graduate degree's level of knowledge for this, they will be learning Python first and foremost.

However, I would like to learn enough to at least broach the subject with them, any ideas where I can learn that kind of stuff relatively quickly?

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closed as off topic by gnat, Mark Trapp, ChrisF Apr 11 '12 at 9:10

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Hello, I think this doesn't belongs here, and it is requesting the miracle books and formulas to learn 'quickly'. The last thread I saw this got closed I believe. But, I'm pointing the same book I always point for introductory Python anyway: <ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-computer-science/…;. Please see the syllabus, the book is there. Don't teach the poor grasshoppers Python, teach them how to program! Thats what the book is about. Python is not the end, is just the means. About quickly, I don't know. –  Oeufcoque Penteano Apr 11 '12 at 4:53
Do you have an undergrad degree in computer science? I would think that would be the bar minimum if it will be a multisession comprehensive series for absolute newbs. –  Rig Apr 11 '12 at 4:53
@Rig I should have been more specific... I do not have a degree in computer science (or in anything for that matter), I am simply a humble systems administrator who is between jobs right now, and was asked by a former teacher to help students learn programming, since in her mind, I know "programming"... I fully understand that true "programming" is different from some Python I threw together to get through a project, but if it's a choice between the students learning Python from me, or nothing... I would choose Python... –  Soviero Apr 11 '12 at 4:59

3 Answers 3

This book could be of interest: Code - Charles Petzold

It touches lower level stuff but in a manner that could be interesting to students (high school?)

It's an amazing book. The stuff in there is explained so well that it's almost impossible not to get. It also touches the history, the why, the how we got to where we are, etc, etc.

In short, it is an awesome piece of work.

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The trouble with understanding the "lower level stuff" is that it really doesn't make sense until you understand a lot of the fundamentals, and these, in turn, are not really easy to pick up.

Essentially, I am not aware of any ways to short-track this process, you basically have to read (and think) a lot, and eventually you get a fairly complete picture of how everything fits together.

One approach you might want to try is to work through some lower-level programming tutorials. One example is Carl H's guide (which started as a subreddit). What is interesting about Carl's tutorials, is that he uses a lower level language, C, and explicitly goes through many of the fundamentals. In that sense, it's a "bottom-up" approach to programming, which is the long route, but leads to thorough knowledge. I would highly recommend it, if you have the time and energy. Going through these lessons, you could learn a thing or two about the lower level stuff, and perhaps about the contents of your own Python lessons, a win-win.

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As an undergraduate I was thought Python using:


I really like the book in that it does not assume any knowledge and is very complete. In addition, it is freely available from the URL above.

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