People keep asking me what’s the best place to learn Python. In this article, I’ll explain why to learn Python if you are a Computer Science student or want to start a career in fields like IT, Data Science, Computer Science, and Web Development.
What is Python?
Python is one of the hottest buzzwords going around the tech space today. But what Python is an easy to learn scripting language whose roots go back to the 1990s. When its creator Guido Van Rossum laid its foundation as a successor to ABC Programming language while working in the National Research Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science. Contrary to popular belief, its name is based on a British TV show called Monty Python rather than the snake. Guido decided to include concepts like lambda, map, filter, and reduce to the infant scripting language along with classes, lists, and exception handling. This made it quite similar to functional programming languages, which is one of the reasons for its popularity.
Why is Python popular
You might ask, “How did a side project get this big?” well, a lot of it can be traced back to the creator himself. Guido tirelessly pushed for more beginner friendliness, developer productivity, idiomatic style, and simplicity in the language. These are the fundamental features of the language it is known for today. He dedicated himself to the project and was the Lead Developer until July 2018, and this is why the community gave him the title of “Benevolent Dictator for Life”.
Python’s versatility, extensibility, large community, and battle-tested ecosystem of packages only add to its charm. What took hundreds of lines of code in languages like C/C++ or Java became a matter of a few simple lines of Python code. As they rightly say, “Time is money”, and that’s where Python gets ahead of the curve, it saves you time. There’s no need to install and manage complicated tooling, no compilation or build times, it runs everywhere, and if you want to implement something, chances are someone has already made a module for it. It has saved tech giants like Google and Netflix millions of dollars; it is no wonder today that its hold on the IT Job Market is simply indisputable.
The software development Q & A platform Stack Overflow crowned Python as “The fastest growing Programming Language” in 2017. It had around 27% share in the job market then (it has grown in the past two years), making it clear that it’s both large and growing fast. It has become so increasingly popular that many Ivy Leagues and Universities worldwide have made it the default programming language to learn for undergraduate courses. Almost every metric points that this explosive growth of Python will continue in the years to come. Some people go as far as to claim that Python will be the only dominant programming language left in the future. And I, for one, partially agree with these people. The lack of static types and a unified library for implementing Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) are the only real ‘drawback’ of the language. That isn’t to say that community. Today, the dominance, power, and popularity of Python can’t be ignored.
How to get started with Python
Due to its vast popularity, there are millions of Python tutorials on the web, but I’ve linked some of the best python resources to help you get started with Python. Each entry in this list has its uniqueness and can provide you something valuable in your journey of learning Python
- Learn Python The Hard Way – If you are someone who has never coded before, this book is for you. The author Zed A. Shaw starts the book from the very basics (how to install Python on your computer) and then drills down on advanced concepts. The book includes a ton of exercises and short programs to make sure you really get the hang of the programming language. I always say that learning a language is like playing a sport. You have to put in the practice. Sure it is time-consuming and might feel boring, but if you want a solid foundation in programming, this is the way to go.
- Real Python – Real Python is a helpful website if you want to take your Python skills to the next level. Real Python has a lot of intermediate and advanced Python tutorials and courses that’ll teach you how to apply the language in practical applications. I’ve used this site quite frequently in the past. While you’ll have to Pay for some courses, a lot of stuff is free.
- The Python Documentation – Real developers learn from the documentation! I’m not kidding as a developer you will have to work with libraries and tools that won’t have millions of tutorials or youtube videos to help you out. The only way to get reliable information will be documentation. So, I highly recommend that beginner developers start referencing the documentation while learning any language or framework. If you are confused about a topic or want to know what arguments a method takes, this is the place to visit. The Python documentation is very comprehensive and beginner-friendly, so don’t forget to take a look.
- Automate the Boring Stuff With Python – This is hands down the best book I’ve read about Python. Yes the book does teach you the basic syntax of the language, but then it dives into practical python applications. The author Al Sweigart covers topics like Web Scraping, Image Manipulation, Regex, File Handling and interacting with Spreadsheets. These are some of the great applications of Python, and he explains everything in great detail. This book is a must for any aspiring Python developer.
Python 2 vs Python 3
If you’re thinking about learning Python, keep in mind that there are two versions of Python programming language (Python 2.X & Python 3.X) with quite significant differences. Note that Python 2 has been discontinued since January 1, 2020. So, while there are many tutorials based on Python 2, there is no use in learning the 2.X version. Please make sure that the resources you use are based on Python 3.
If you’re reached the end, thank you and I hope enjoyed. 🙂