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Programming Applications with Python: Working with Files

Discover how to read and create files and directories in Python, and how Python is used for data collection and exploration.

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  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Learn how to use Python create applications

On this course, you’ll start to develop the knowledge and skills needed to successfully launch a career in programming or software development, learning how to program applications using Python.

You’ll study alongside industry experts at Github, giving you the confidence and competitive advantage to work in or manage development teams.

Explore how to read and create files

On this first course of the ExpertTrack, you’ll examine best practise for reading and creating files and directories in Python.

You’ll discover how to copy, move, rename, and archive existing files, as well as how Python is used for data analysis, including data collection, wrangling, and exploration.

You’ll come away with the ability to perform key elements of data analysis using Python, and ready to tackle the second course in the series.

Get in-demand skills in programming with Python

As the global importance of the online world increases, there is ever-growing demand for programmers with cutting-edge development skills – and especially programmers with training in Python.

Python is the most-popular programming language in the world, driving crucial web services such as Google, Dropbox, and Instagram, as well as many web applications and academic data analyses.


  • Week 1

    Reading and writing files in Python

    • Welcome to the course!

      Introduction to the course, information about the optional project tasks, and an overview of Week 1.

    • Reading and writing files

      We will be covering all that you need to know about reading and writing files in Python. Unlike programming languages like Java and C++, file handling is easier to perform and understand in Python.

    • Working with directories

      We are starting with a new activity and one that is closely tied with file handling. We will cover everything that you need to know to get started with directories. Directories are to files as money is to a purse.

    • Wrap-up

      Now it's time to reflect on your learning throughout the week and look to what's next!

  • Week 2

    Working with directories

    • Introduction

      Welcome to Week 2! Let's first introduce the week's activities and outcomes: we’ll explore temporary files and directories; copying, moving, and renaming files; working with archives; and the best practices of handling files.

    • Working with directories

      We briefly got started with directories last week, so this activity will delve deeper into what directories are and why they are needed. Remember: directories are to files as money is to a purse.

    • Wrap-up

      You should now be able to comfortably read data from files, write into files, as well as do all the common file operations, such as renaming, copying, and moving.

  • Week 3

    Data analytics and data collection

    • Introduction

      An introduction to the week's topics and key learnings.

    • General framework and process for data analytics projects

      Here we will set the stage for a better understanding of the general framework and process required for data analytics projects. We will start off by looking at what the business needs and why it is important to understand them

    • Data collection

      In this activity, you will look closer at some crucial aspects of ingesting data using Python. We will also see how loading data looks different for different formats of files.

    • Wrap-up

      Now it's time to reflect on your learning throughout the week and look to what's next!

  • Week 4

    Data wrangling and data exploration

    • Introduction

      Welcome to Week 4! Let's first introduce the week's topics and outcomes.

    • Data wrangling

      You will learn how to use Python to perform various data processing activities. This phase of processing data is referred to as data wrangling, and is the main focus of this week.

    • Data exploration

      Data exploration is one of the key steps in data analytics. Data analysts use a variety of techniques to get a preliminary understanding of the data that they have.

    • Wrap-up

      Now it's time to reflect on your learning throughout the week and the entire course, and look to what's next!

    • Graded course test

      A graded course test for this course.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Articulate best practices for working files
  • Identify key elements of data analysis using Python

Who is the course for?

  • Career changers looking for an entry-level role as a programmer.
  • Established technology professionals looking to better understand the versatility of Python.
  • Technology team leaders, looking to better understand key concepts to more effectively manage development teams

What software or tools do you need?

On this ExpertTrack we’ll be using Python. We recommend you use a computer to access these elements.

Who will you learn with?

Hi everyone. I'm Jey, a professional accredited engineer that is looking to create innovations inside the engineering industry. My interests include deep learning, cryptography and quantum computing.

Who developed the course?


FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform and has been providing high quality online courses for learners around the world over the last ten years.

In collaboration with

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Endorsers and supporters

endorsed by

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Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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