Spending tremendous amounts of time and energy to understand the basics will help you while building more complex programs
If you’re new to programming you might assume that you will just have to learn Python the hard way. But Python is a great place to start. Python is one of the easiest languages to learn, as well as a language with many industrial applications. Once you gain a firm understanding of Python, transitioning into any other language would be a lot smoother.
Python developers are in huge demand now and one can see themselves earning huge amounts of money if one puts in the effort to master the skill. The vast amounts of libraries available to manipulate data (Pandas, Numpy) and display data (Matplotlib, Seaborn) make it the backbone of the entire Data Science and Data Visualization industry. In Machine learning and AI, it is used for Natural Language Processing (NLP), computer vision, recommendation systems, and more, making it a highly lucrative skill to possess.
Characteristics of python
· Open Source: It means that the entire source code is readily available for developers to improve, making it highly dynamic. Constant updates within the language result in new features and libraries being added regularly. This also means that Python is free for all, and can be distributed without any worry, even for commercial enterprises.
· Extensible: By this, we mean that python can be used along with other languages like c, c++, java, etc while building applications. With this feature, we get the benefit of python as well as the other language, in a single app.
· Portable: Its portability makes it unique from other languages. Code written in Windows or any other operating system will work on any other OS without making changes to it.
· Easy to read: The developers of python made sure to make the functionality as accessible as possible by making it very easy to read. It’s almost like reading the English language. This feature is great for beginners as they may not get as overwhelmed as they would if they were learning Java as their first language.
· Object-oriented Programming (OOPS): Just like Java python uses classes and objects to access data and functions. This makes it easier to navigate through the different in-built functions. When we download new packages, we access the content of the package by creating its object.
How do we go about learning Python?
If you don’t have a degree in Computer Science and are completely new to programming, don’t worry there are plenty of resources to help get you started. The most amazing thing about python being open-sourced is that there is a huge community of experienced developers helping the beginners to break into the field.
You can divide your learning process into two sub-sections, the theoretical part, and the practical part. Both are equally important and should be done simultaneously, not in isolation.
A strong theoretical knowledge will help you feel less overwhelmed when you sit to code. So, before you get there, you must gain a little understanding when it comes to a variable, data structures, loops, classes, and objects.
Books are a great way to attain that knowledge. An Introductory book in python will have code snippets along with explanations of the code so that you don’t feel lost. The pros of using an offline resource like a book are that you don’t need to be dependant on the internet and can use it anywhere, anytime. Some of our favorite books to learn from are, Python Crash Course by Eric Matthes, Head-First Python, 2nd edition by Paul Barry, Python Tricks: A Buffet of Awesome Python Features by Dan Bader.
It’s might be difficult to find Learn Python the Hard Way free version, but with little investment, this ebook can prove to be of great help to gain knowledge in Python.
Besides books, there is an umpteen number of free online courses and YouTube lectures available to gain knowledge. The online courses are taught by some of the best teachers in the industry and the quality of education available at our fingertips is extremely high. The pros of learning through video are that it can be more interactive, however, the amount of theory within a book is far greater. One can find a curated list of online courses by clicking here.
Now that you know some theory, you can start writing down code yourself and run yourself. Testing and debugging errors is the fun part of coding. Some important things to keep in mind while doing the practical
1) Type in the code yourself: At first, none of it may make sense and it may seem like you’re just following a set of instructions blindly, but with regular repetitions, you will understand what you’re doing and it will all make sense. This is true for advanced learners as well as beginners. If you copy-paste the code, you won’t understand what you’re doing and it would be a complete waste of your time and effort.
2) Read code online: A huge part of learning how to code involves reading other people’s code. It helps you to learn new things you otherwise wouldn’t know and you will gain an understanding of how to structure your code.
3) Practice every day: Just like learning maths, practicing a little every day goes a long way. A break in the flow of learning will significantly hinder your learning pace.
Some online resources that you can use to practice coding are hackerrank.com and leetcode.com. Both these websites have many exercises ranging in difficulty and the discussion forums are quite engaging, where you can find the answers. But it is highly recommended to try to solve the exercises yourself before looking at the answer. They also have an inbuilt compiler so you don’t need to worry about installing python
To begin our journey with Python, we need to install it on our computers. The latest version is 3.9.0 and Python is compatible with every OS i.e Windows, Linux, and Mac, etc. There are a large number of ways, by which you can install it like, for example, using PIP with the command line or you could just download Anaconda. Anaconda is a well-known open-source distribution of Python and installing that one application, would install all the required libraries as well, making it very easy for you.
Click here for instructions on how to install python without using Anaconda.
Now that you have installed python and know how to go about learning, you are ready to begin your journey as a python developer.