How can I know if I will be successful in NLP

Hello, everyone!

Thank you for taking interest in my question and I hope you have an advice for me.

I am a linguist (32y/o), and I want to learn NLP. I have searched for online courses to study. And I found that background knowledge of statistics and probability, programming language, data structure, and algorithms are required.

I chose python based on multiple recommendations. I’ve started to study a Python course on Edx since last week, however, I have noticed that with most of the tasks I needed to search online for help, because I encountered errors that were not mentioned in the course itself. But I eventually get them fixed.

However, I wonder if anyone can tell me if this kind of difficulty I am encountering with such introductory course counts as a red flag and I should reconsider my decision (given my age). Mostly because programming is just the first step, I still need to study data structure and algorithms + refresh my memory regarding statistics and probability.

Thank you so much for taking the time to advise me!

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Yes, Python is likely to be the right choice for both the absolute wealth of resources related to what you’re interested in and on a more basic “learning a first programming language”.

Yes, it is normal to encounter difficulties; learning a complex skill is hard, you can’t get around this, there aren’t shortcuts. It will naturally be harder the older you are. But you’re coming from a related field and I’m gonna guess you have a fairly realistic target in mind given age and that you’re basically wanting to apply a branch of programming to something very close to what you know.

You’re actively looking up help to deal with issues you’re encounter with the course you’re following, and applying the answers. This might sound daft, but that alone sets you apart from a helluva lot of other people trying to learn programming (also it’s exactly what a large % of programming work consists of). It will get easier the more that you practice if you’re actively pushing yourself.


Than you so much, @DanCouper, for your comprehensive and reassuring reply! It is good to know that I am on the right track!

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