Explore the basics of Python, a popular programming language, in this introductory guide designed specifically for beginners. Understand what Python is and how to get started with it.
For new coders, Python is probably one of the first languages you’ll learn. And for experienced programmers, Python is a standard and reliable language that’s used in a variety of development projects.
Let’s learn more about what Python is, how it works, and why coders and programmers should consider learning it (and how).
What is Python?
Python is a powerful and versatile programming language. It is commonly used for website and software development, automating tasks, data analysis, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI). Python’s adaptability, simplicity, and readability have contributed to its popularity as one of the most widely used programming languages today.
Python is an interpreted, object-oriented language with dynamic semantics to give it more flexibility. This means the code is executed line-by-line and is modular and reusable. It’s ideal for rapid development, scripting, and connecting components. Python’s syntax is simple and readable, reducing the time spent on program maintenance.
Why is Python So Popular?
Python is one of the most popular programming languages used today. As a software engineer, learning Python can open many doors for your coding career.
Python Uses Simple Syntax
Python’s clean and readable structure reduces mundane and repetitive programming tasks. This simplicity allows even experienced developers to write code more efficiently. It promotes productivity, readability, and ease of maintenance.
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Python is Easy to Learn
Python is easy to learn because of its natural-sounding, clear, and concise syntax. It emphasizes readability and simplicity, making it easy for beginners to pick up and use immediately.
Python is Open-Source
Being open-source means anyone can access, modify, and distribute Python. As an open-source language, Python inspires a broad community of developers to contribute to the language. This is invaluable for beginners, as they can seek support from experienced programmers. Collective knowledge results in a wealth of resources, tutorials, libraries, and frameworks.
Python is Extremely Versatile
Programmers use Python for a wide range of tasks. Its general-purpose nature, extensive library support, simplicity, and cross-platform compatibility enable developers to solve more problems with greater efficiency so that programmers can work on various projects seamlessly.
Python Has Extensive Libraries
Python’s libraries are pre-built collections of code that offer specialized functionalities and tools for different tasks, such as web development, machine learning (ML), or data analysis (just to name a few). These libraries expand Python’s capabilities, simplify programming, and allow developers to leverage existing solutions to solve specific problems.
What Can You Do with Python?
Python is used for various programs and applications because it’s so versatile and easy to learn – and has such a comprehensive, supportive community of users. What are some of the most common uses for Python today?
Creating Web Applications
Python is widely used to create web applications thanks to its robust selection of frameworks (like Django). These frameworks provide a foundation for building a variety of scalable web solutions. Python’s simplicity, readability, and extensive library support make it ideal for server-side programming, resulting in powerful and feature-rich web applications. And it’s so easy to learn that even new coders can easily create amazing applications.
Python is popular for data analysis due to its vast libraries (like NumPy). These libraries provide powerful tools for data manipulation, analysis, and visualization. Python makes it easy to work with complex data because it’s much simpler to read and use. Its extensive availability of libraries enables tasks such as data cleaning and statistical analysis.
Machine Learning (ML)
Python is widely recognized as one of the best coding languages for machine learning. Python’s libraries (like TensorFlow) are also commonly used by programmers interested in the future of ML and artificial intelligence (AI). These ML-specific libraries provide programmers with the tools for building algorithms and training ML models. Python’s simplicity, versatility, and vast library support make it suitable for data preprocessing, model development, training, evaluation, and deployment tasks.
The concise syntax of Python makes it ideal for rapid programming development by quickly translating ideas into functioning prototypes. It’s a fantastic tool for experimenting, validating ideas, and iterating designs more efficiently.
Python’s scripting capabilities allow for automating repetitive tasks like file operations, data processing, and system administration. This enables software developers to spend more time focusing on more complex tasks and big-picture problems.
Advantages of Python
In addition to its simple syntax, versatility, and ease of learning, Python also offers exceptional productivity benefits. With no compilation step, the “edit-test-debug” cycle is incredibly efficient.
Debugging with Python is straightforward and can be done in real-time. Python’s introspective power is evident in its source-level debugger, allowing inspection of variables, expression evaluation, breakpoints, and step-by-step code execution.
Disadvantages of Python
Despite Python’s numerous advantages, it has a few drawbacks. As you progress in your coding career, be aware of these disadvantages when considering Python for your project’s needs.
Python prioritizes simplicity over speed. The dynamic nature of Python and its use of an interpreter (instead of a compiler) contributes to its relatively slow speed compared to languages like C/C++ or Java. This can be a drawback if you’re programming for large-scale data processing or video games, the latter of which require super-fast response times.
Python’s advantage of flexibility also leads to one of its main disadvantages: high memory consumption, such as with apps that require loading large images or videos. This is why Python is used more for desktop applications rather than mobile apps.
Some of the errors associated with Python only show up at runtime. This means programmers need to perform more thorough testing of their work. In medical devices, for example, runtime errors can cause the system to crash or produce incorrect results.
Python’s database layer isn’t as developed as some other languages, making it a less-than-ideal choice for programmers interacting with complex legacy data. For real-time and extra-large database processing needs, like those in finance, Python isn’t the best choice.
Why You Should Consider Learning Python
Should you consider learning Python? Yes, and here are just a few reasons to learn Python.
Due to its versatility, Python is used across many platforms in many industries. Learning Python won’t only help you find jobs in tech. Wherever your interests lie, there will be a job for you that requires knowledge of Python. Python programming is also used in:
- ML and AI
Python is an in-demand programming language, which means it (literally) pays to know Python. Due to its popularity in ML, Python is the coding language of the future. And, on average, ML engineers make $155,480 annually.
Learn More: Average Python Developer Salary by City
Easy to Learn
Python is one of the easiest coding languages for beginners to learn due to its English-like syntax, conciseness, and readability. It was designed to be accessible to everyone and easy for coding newbies to learn. New coders can quickly check and adjust each line of code as it’s written, providing instant feedback and saving time. Unlike compiled languages, Python allows for quick prototyping without the frustration of waiting for a complete program compilation.
Continue Reading: How Long Does It Take to Learn Python?
Ways to Learn Python
Because it’s so accessible to beginner coders, there are many ways to learn Python. We recommend choosing the method you feel most comfortable with so you get the most out of it.
Free Online Courses and Tools
These are places where you can explore Python completely free. The advantages of these programs include learning at your own pace and finding a method that works for your learning style. Some drawbacks of free online learning tools include a possible lack of feedback and the self-discipline it will take to stay on track.
Places where you can learn Python for free:
- App Academy Open includes Python in our completely free online coding curriculum
- Python.org, the official documentation of Python
- Google, which does require some previous coding knowledge
- UDemy, which offers over 6k free Python tutorials
Explore Free Options to Learn How to Code: The Best Free Coding Bootcamps
Paid Online Courses and Tools
Paid online tools will cost money, yes. However, most include instructor support, classmates with whom to work on group projects, robust alumni programs, and career help once the program is complete.
Places where you can pay to learn Python:
- App Academy has a full-time coding bootcamp and part-time coding bootcamp with tuition options and job support for our alumni
- Coding Dojo offers online and in-person coding bootcamps, as well as scholarships and financing options
- HackReactor by Galvanize has coding bootcamps at multiple levels depending on your previous coding knowledge, as well as programs for active military and veterans.
- BrainStation has on-campus coding bootcamps in three countries (the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.), online programs, certificate courses, and leadership training.
Get Started Learning Python with App Academy
App Academy teaches you Python and allows you to learn other skills you need to succeed as a software engineer. We emphasize the importance of group projects, so you’re ready to be part of a tech team. Our experienced instructors come from the fields you want to work in, and we have a robust career development program for our graduates that guide you each step of the way, from building a portfolio to job interview prep.
Schedule a call with an App Academy admissions counselor to learn more about our programs. And, if you’re ready to dig in deeper, start exploring our programs to see which one might be a good fit for you!
Full-Time Online Coding Bootcamp - Full-Time, Online Software Engineer Program
Learn to Code for Free - App Academy Open
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