Someone sent me an email the other day asking which Python course would accelerate their learning the most.

It’s a tough question, because there’s many different courses out there.

What makes it harder is most of them are good, follow them and you’ll learn something.

When I started, I used Treehouse and Coursera to learn Python. But you could use YouTube, the Python documentation, edX, DataCamp.

All of these are viable options. They all have world-class teaching materials.

Best to choose one, stick with it, learn the foundations, the base knowledge. Base knowledge is what all of the resources you find teach well.

After you’ve acquired some base knowledge of a concept, what you want to do next is build specific knowledge.

Specific knowledge is knowledge which can’t be taught. And it’s the most valuable kind of knowledge.

It’s what you use to differentiate yourself from the other people who can sign up to the courses and complete them just as well as you.

How can you build specific knowledge?

The beautiful thing is, there’s no set way to do this. The hard thing is, there’s no set way to do this. This is what makes specific knowledge valuable.

One approach you could take is to take what you’ve learned and apply it. Turn your base knowledge into applied knowledge.

Perhaps you’ve already got the skills, maybe what you need next is bravery. Bravery to use them. Make something you’d like to see in the world.

Build your own project.

Build your own application.

Share your work. Especially if it’s not ready. An amateur waits until something is perfect to put it out in the world. A professional knows perfection gets in the way of progress and delivers instead.

The email was focused on learning Python. But the process of building specific knowledge is the same for any concept, data science, machine learning, writing.

Start by doing your research, find a resource, a course, a book, for developing base knowledge, 1-2 is enough.

For Python code, it may be YouTube along with the Python documentation.

For machine learning, it may be Coursera or DataCamp.

Once you’ve got base knowledge, the knowledge everyone else can acquire, use it. Build specific knowledge with it.

The best course is the one you create yourself. The one you use to build specific knowledge. The one where you're in charge of what you learn next.