Python is one of the most popular programming languages, and one of the first ones taught in college-level courses. If you aren’t in college (or you want to get a headstart before enrolling), there are plenty of ways to get started learning Python by yourself and at home.
This Python tutorial for beginners should help you get started with your efforts to learn Python.
Why Learn Python?
Python is an object-oriented language that was designed with readability in mind. If you’ve ever looked at a wall of code before, you may have found it somewhat hard to follow unless you were intimately acquainted with the language. Python utilizes significant amounts of whitespace that makes it easy to read the lines of code and discern their purpose.
Python is also built to be “extensible.” With regard to programming languages, this essentially means how easily the language can expand to have more functionality. Python uses simpler syntax and grammar that makes it easy to understand, even for a beginner with only a base-level of understanding.
Something you should familiarize yourself with that will undoubtedly come up is the “Zen of Python,” a set of 19 design philosophies that Python is centered around. It isn’t necessary to know them by heart, but take the time to read over the list.
Ideas like “Beautiful is better than ugly,” and “Explicit is better than implicit,” are keys to proper coding.
Step One to Learning Python
If you are diving into programming for the first time, you can read plenty of Python tutorials for beginners, but the best way is to learn through an interactive tutorial. Any programming language involves getting to know the syntax (the specific set of words and commands used in the language), the logic of how the language works as a whole, and much more.
It’s a lot to take in. When it comes to coding, practice makes perfect. Hands-on experience is more valuable than reading it in an online guide. Take things one step at a time and focus on learning one aspect at a time.
Learn the syntax.
Before you can code anything in Python, you need to know the syntax of the language. Start with the most basic line of code: the print command. It looks like this:
This line of code prints out the phrase: Hello world!
The command print combined with the parentheticals and the quotation marks tell the compiler exactly what to do. If you entered something incorrectly, the command would not work and would most likely throw what is known as a syntax error.
Aside from basic syntax, Python (and almost all other programming languages) use variables to denote storage locations. In other words, a variable can store information given to it by the user or by a program. Here’s an example.
x = 4
y = 5
When the program runs, it will display the number 9. Why? Because it added the variables x (which was assigned the number 4) and y (which was assigned 5), which total 9.
Understanding syntax and variables is a strong start to any programming language, but the best way to truly understand how it works is to try for yourself. The following is a list of some of the best Python tutorials on the internet.
Codecademy has numerous courses available for a variety of different programming languages. There are both free and paid courses. If you wish to receive a certificate of completion, you’ll need to take one of the premium courses–but the free Python tutorials are great places to start.
The W3Schools is one of the foremost sources for programming information on the web. It contains many of the standards that guide web design and programming. It also has try-it-yourself tutorials for Python that will guide you through the basics.
The Python Wiki is another great resource for learning nearly anything you can imagine about Python. In addition to basic Python courses, it contains a lot of information about how to implement the language for more advanced applications.
Udemy is a renowned platform for self-education. The Udemy Python Bootcamp is a course that guides users from the very basics to professional-level applications such as designing games and software. Through pricey at $140, this course has more than 20 hours of video courses and 19 coding exercises to teach you everything you need to know.
The Google Python class is a free course for people that already have a bit of programming experience. It’s taught at Google as an intensive two-day course, but the material can be learned at your own pace. It won’t take you to a professional level, but it will get you started.
At the time of writing this article, more than 60,000 Python-related jobs are available through Indeed.com—and that’s a single job site. The programming language grows in popularity with each passing day, as does the opportunity.
If you are interested in starting a career as a Python developer or you just want to get your foot in the door as a coder, Python is a great place to start. Take advantage of the resources listed here to teach yourself all you need to know about coding and programming in Python.