Why You Should Learn Python For Your First Programming Language
Looking to get into programming, but don’t know where to start? Maybe you’ve heard of some of the most popular programming languages, but you’re unsure of which one is best to learn first?
Python is hands-down the best language to start with if you want to learn how to program. There’s a reason why 70% of introductory programming courses teach Python at US universities according to Tech Republic.
Learning Programming Is Hard, Python Makes It Easier
Python is one of the most popular, beginner friendly languages, and it’s also the first language I learned back in 2014. Since then, I’ve learned many others and I can definitely say that Python has the smallest learning curve, especially for first time programmers.
It’s common for people learning programming for the first time to get discouraged with the learning curve. EVERYONE experiences this difficult learning curve at the beginning.
Understanding the concepts of programming and the nuances of a language is incredibly difficult on the first go.
It’s important to choose a language like Python that minimizes that learning curve to avoid frustration and discouragement that might turn you away.
Let me explain to you why Python is the best…
Easy Readability. It’s Closer To Natural Language.
Python is a ‘high level language’, which means that the code is highly abstracted from machine level language (the lowest of which being 1s and 0s). ‘Low level languages’ are the opposite ‘high level languages’.
The higher the level of the language, the more easy it is for humans to read and interpret. It’s far more difficult to understand code that has a ton of symbols and numbers, than code that looks like natural language.
Would you rather start learning code that looks like mostly numbers and symbols, and is cluttered and overwhelming?
Or start learning code that looks more like natural language and is well organized?
Whitespace Rules Teach Clean Code Habits
Python also enforces rules on whitespace. Whitespace is the space in-between your lines of code to be executed. Many languages allow for there to be no whitespace, but Python is not one of them.
The whitespace rules that Python requires forces the code to be properly indented, and much more organized compared to other languages. For beginners, understanding and practicing coding with Python is much easier when you’re able to work with structured, clean, readable lines of code.
Better Prepared For Working On A Team Of Developers
In the long run, you’ll develop much better writing etiquette, and you’ll develop a healthy habit of writing clean code. Messy coding habits can make your life much more difficult when you advance to more difficult projects.
Once you begin working in teams as a developer, the cleanliness and organization of your code will be vital for maintaining a functional software product.
The lines of code that you’re responsible for writing will be integrated into thousands or millions of other lines depending on the size of the project your team is working on.
There Are Tons Of Good Python Tutorials
Community, resources, and tutorials are all invaluable aspects to any software. This is especially true for programming languages.
Since Python is one of the most popular programming languages, there is massive support, and a lot of documentation for everything.
For several years there has been a flood of YouTubers creating content for Python. I’ve spent a ton of time watching guide and tutorials to solve various problems.
Here are some of the best, and some of my favorite YouTube Python tutorial channels! I highly recommend subscribing to some of these channels to build up your resources.
My All-Time 3 Best Python Tutorial Channels On YouTube:
sentdex: smart guy I’ve been watching for over a year, tons of interesting Python tutorials from the basics of Python, embedded systems and arduino, all the way to advanced machine learning and A.I. | #1
Traversy Media: super helpful tutorials on everything you need to know about beginning with Python, and some of the best Python and Django web tutorials I’ve seen. I’d say this is the place to go for web development tutorials on YouTube in general…it’s that good! | #2
Cs Dojo: this guy’s channel is probably the most popular for Python guides and tutorials, getting 1–2 million views for his videos. I haven’t personally used any of his material for resources but I’ve seen him everywhere in the community. | #3
Leave your favorite Python YouTube channels in the comments so that everyone can check them out. It would be awesome to accumulate a big comment sections full of the best resources!
Being resourceful is a crucial skill for a software developer.
Often when writing software you’ll run into problems that you have to scan YouTube, or online documentation for solutions. You’ll NEVER know everything there is to know about programming so there’s no way around this. It’s just part of what you have to do.
The sheer quantity of available resources makes Python so much easier to learn. Some other programming languages have much smaller communities so it can be difficult to find solutions to problems you run into along the way.
You Can Do So Much With Python
Python is a versatile language and is capable of handling many different jobs with pretty good performance and efficiency. Here are 3 of the main things you can do with Python:
1. Web Development
Making websites, small and large, can be done with Python. Huge websites like Reddit, Spotify, Quora, YouTube, and Google are all powered by Python.
Read More: 20 of the Most Popular Python and Django Websites | by Shuup
Web development is done with Python’s main web frameworks, Django, and Flask. Instead of building a website from scratch, front to back, frameworks already have the pieces and tools you need to put together a site.
Django is a pretty robust framework that’s been around for a while. The documentation is amazing and there are a ton of tutorials. The first ever website I built for a homeowners association was built with Django, and I had a great experience.
2. Scientific and Numeric Computing
Python is incredibly useful for scientific and numeric applications. Analyzing data for research is popular in Big Data, which is a growing area in the industry. There is so much data out there now so applications dealing with massive amounts of data are in higher demand.
My introductory Computer Science course as Denison University was Discovering Computer Science: Scientific Data and Dynamics. We strictly used Python for everything. We analyzed and modeled data on gene sequences, used recursion with the Turtle Python graphics module to draw fractals, and even to do artwork by using algorithms to draw plants, flowers, and trees.
A really good article by activewizards.com on the Top 20 Python Libraries for data science in 2018, has Numpy (#1), SciPy (#2), and Pandas (#3). In my opinion, these libraries are pretty much as good as it gets for data science.
3. Machine Learning
Python is popular for machine learning. Part of this is because Python is so useful for numeric computing, which is really what is happening with machine learning.
Some of the most popular open-source Python machine learning open-source projects are Tensorflow, Sci-kit-learn, Keras, PyTorch, and Theano.
Read More: Top 20 Python AI and Machine Learning Open Source Projects | by DataQuest
The best way to learn about Machine Learning with Python is to jump into some tutorial projects and following along yourself.
The best YouTube channel for Python AI and Machine Learning tutorials is sentdex. I highly recommend checking this guy out, he has over 1,000 videos on his channel and most of them are Python tutorials and projects.
Python Developers Are Well Paid
Once you learn Python and get some personal projects under your belt, you can eventually become a paid developer. As Python becomes more popular, companies all over the world are looking for more Python developers, and they’re willing to pay a hefty sum for them too.
According to ZipRecruiter, in a recent article posted on Oct. 23, 2018, the average annual pay for a Python developer in the US is over $113k per year! Some annual salaries were as high as $169k. These are big bucks!
Fun Fact: On that same article by ZipRecruiter, it mentions that North Carolina is ranked number 50 out of 50 states in the US for Python developer salaries. I live in NC!
Python is also the #2 most in-demand programming language as of 2018. Coding Dojo claimed that Python grew in popularity by 5,000 job postings from the previous year according to analyzed data from Indeed.com.
Most decent sized software companies probably produce or use Python code somewhere in some of their projects. There’s no shortages of job opportunities that’ll pay well for a Python developer.
The Learning Curve Is Not As Steep With Python
Python is the best language to learn programming because of how incredibly user-friendly it is compared to a lot of others. Most importantly, all of these reasons decrease the learning curve that can be steep when learning to program with other languages.
It’s much closer to natural language that is much easier for humans to understand.
Python Enforces Cleaner Coding Habits — Making You A Better Team Member
The structure of Python helps to avoid overwhelming clutter, and enforces good habits for writing clean code for first time programmers.
Choosing Python as your introduction to programming will make you a much better team member once you start working with other developers. You’ll develop better programming habits, organization, and clean code is crucial for writing functional code that is readable to other programmers who will need to eventually need to read your code whenever they’re making changes. Larger projects have thousands and even millions of lines of code that’re created by many different programmers, so clean code is essential to maintaining large repositories.
Your fellow Python developers will appreciate your work is you write better code.
You Can Do Some Much With Python
Python has a ton of useful applications. It’s really popular for Web Development, Scientific & Numeric Computing, Machine Learning & AI, and Scripting & Automation for so many things.
Python Is Become One Of The Most Popular Languages
The fact that Python is so versatile, powerful, and efficient, means that a ton of people are using Python. Python is becoming one of the most popular languages!
Python Developers Make Pretty Good Money
Python developers are also well paid, averaging 6-figure salaries in the US, and the demand for developers is growing rapidly.
Python was also the first language I learned when I first started programming back in 2013–2014. I had a phenomenal experience with Python and it got me hooked on programming!
Originally published at austinhoward.tech on November 4, 2018.