I work as an analyst and a LOT of my work involves very repetitive tasks such as looking up 1,700 websites and searching for particular things within sections of these websites, or sending 100+ emails daily. I currently use a mouse recorder that opens websites and does other menial tasks but obviously its limited and takes time.

My question is: which program could I begin to learn that I could apply to these types of repetitive jobs without months of studying. Preferably it would be something that you can use for many different applications. I can devote around an hour a day to learning. I have no experience with coding or programming and know practically nothing about it.

Any advice is welcomed!

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  • Are the sites unrelated to each other (as I think it seems) or instances of pages provided by a single organization? Are those 100+ emails basically the same? How many templates do you use? I think there are very probably solutions for you within the scope of dedication you write about. :) – 59507 Oct 10 '19 at 21:50
  • Thanks for the reply. They are different website from different companies but share a similar layout. This is just one example but something that could have practical applications for automating this type of work is what I am looking to learn about. – miner49er Oct 10 '19 at 22:06
  • That's probably bad news if your time or knowledge is tight, but if the mailing is simple, you might be able to improve that one easily. – 59507 Oct 10 '19 at 23:00
  • Wrong approach. You don't need tools but you do need to spend months on studying (or ask and pay someone else for the job). Read norvig.com/21-days.html for an insight. My personal recommendation is first to read SICP - it is an excellent introduction to programming, you'll need a month of work to read it, and later, if on Linux, this. But you need to accept the fact that you have a lot of work in front of you. – Basile Starynkevitch Oct 11 '19 at 5:35
  • BTW, what is an analyst? I am not a native English speaker, but for me it refers to being a psychoanalyst - my wife is one - (and if you were one, you won't ask your question the way you did) – Basile Starynkevitch Oct 11 '19 at 5:41

My question is: which program could I begin to learn that I could apply to these types of repetitive jobs without months of studying. Preferably it would be something that you can use for many different applications

Since you have an hour or two a day, you might want to learn to code Python, but expect to spend a few months at least (I am still learning after a decade).

Python is one of the easiest languages to learn, and one of the most powerful, for small amounts to code.

There are many, many, many add-in modules. You should take a look at Scrapy for web crawling and scraping data from web pages.

Read Automate the Boring Stuff with Python. And use the excellent and free PyCharm to write your code (important learn to use the debugger).

There are a heap of free videos, books and training courses to get you started.. And once you start coding the possibilities are limitless.

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    Thanks. I will check out python. Do you know anything about Shell Script? – miner49er Oct 11 '19 at 13:41
  • Just doing some at work this week, by coincidence. For the first time in 10 or 20 years. Ick! So primitive! Stick with Python, for power and elegance – Mawg says reinstate Monica Oct 12 '19 at 10:15
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    Exactly what I was going to recommend. It might be worth mentioning that Automate the Boring Stuff includes how to perform several of the tasks that the OP mentions. – Steve Barnes Nov 11 '19 at 20:00

Find someone to write a little program (shellscript) that scrapes websites for you and extracts data into a text file, or a collection of textfiles.

Find someone to write a second program that reads in the text file and (for each line of text) carries out the repetitive task for you, or, for each file in the folder, does something with the data.

Maybe this way you get the tasks halfway done perhaps, and your work is fun again. And you get it done more quickly, without learning to code (which you could still do).

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