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Why learn Python?

Watch the video to learn about the history of Python and some of its unique features and uses in the world today.

How and why did Python emerge as one of the most popular languages? Who created it and why did they call it ‘Python’? The video explained the history of Python and some of its unique features and uses in the world today.

Welcome to an Introduction to Programming with Python.

Over the next four weeks, you’ll learn about:

  • Python basics (installation, writing code, conventions, and resources)
  • elements of Python programs (variables, functions, conditionals, and loops)
  • improving and managing Python projects (debugging, exception handling, and version control)
  • object-oriented programming (classes, instances, and methods).

Learning online

This is an online course. You’ll have topics to discuss, short video clips to watch, questions to consider, and relevant material to read. As you progress through the course, you’ll have opportunities to practise your new coding skills through activities and examples. In the end, you’ll be able to create basic Python programs and be on your way to becoming a high-performing developer.

Whenever you see an example of Python code, it’s important to try to write and run it for yourself. Experiment with changing elements and see how the program’s output changes. By playing around with code and trying to ‘break’ it, you will learn Python far more quickly than you would by simply reading and memorising.

Taking part

We encourage you to take active part in the course by adding comments and replying to those made by others. You can do this in the comments section at the bottom of most steps.

We also encourage you to support each other through tips, comments, and advice that’s based on your experience. Sharing experiences can be helpful to you, and your comments and replies can help others. However, please be sensitive. Other people have different stories to tell.

IMPORTANT: Please don’t disclose any personal or confidential information about yourself or work you have done.

So, why learn Python?

It’s hard getting coders excited about a complicated and counter-intuitive language that you have to pay for. Python is the opposite: something powerful that works well with other languages, runs everywhere, is easy to learn, and is open-source.

Here’s how the Python Software Foundation describes the language:

‘Python is an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. Its high-level built in data structures, combined with dynamic typing and dynamic binding, make it very attractive for Rapid Application Development, as well as for use as a scripting or glue language to connect existing components together.’ [1]

Python is an object-orientated programming (OOP) language that structures code around ‘objects’ that have certain characteristics and ways to interact with them. You will learn more about how Python handles OOP in Week 4.

Today, Python is everywhere; it’s used across the tech industry and by some of the world’s leading companies, such as YouTube, EVE Online, Dropbox, SCons, and many more. Interestingly, the first version of Google was written in Python code because it allowed Google’s creators to build and test a working version of their concept quickly and easily. The developers and their community have always been part of Python’s story.

Next, let’s look at a comparison between Python and other programming languages.

Introduce yourself

Before you continue, take a moment to introduce yourself to your fellow learners in this course. Write a brief post in the comments that answers these questions:

  1. Who are you and what is your background?
  2. What is your current knowledge about Python and programming?
  3. What would you like to do with the skills you’ll gain in this course?

References

  1. What is Python? Executive Summary [Internet]. Python.org; [date unknown]. Available from: https://www.python.org/doc/essays/blurb/
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Introduction to Programming with Python

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