If you’ve studied programming, you know that Python is an increasingly ubiquitous language. What kind of training do you need to actually learn Python, though? What kind of learning resources are available? Let’s explore!
Is Python worth learning?
Yes; and not only that, but according to several programming experts, it’s also quite easy to learn. “Python is the perfect first programming language for beginners,” Sebastian Lutter, CTO at Pixolution, recently told Dice. “It provides a clear and readable syntax that makes it easy to learn the fundamentals of programming and allows you to focus on creating solutions for your problems quickly.”
This simple syntax is backed up by lots of documentation online. If you’re confused by what to do, sites such as Stack Overflow can answer your queries. In many cases, a quick Google search may also yield the answer or code snippet you need. Once you’ve achieved a basic understanding of how the language works, you can accelerate your coding with lots of add-ons, including the quarter-million packages on pypi.org. Third-party libraries are one of the things that make Python so powerful (you should also check out its frameworks and extensions).
Companies have a continuing need for apps and services built with Python, which makes the language worth learning from an employment perspective. Not only that, but all these products must be maintained, meaning there’s always a market for developers and engineers who can maintain Python legacy code. And that’s before we get to the highly specialized uses for Python, such as artificial intelligence (A.I.), which can really pay big money.
Where do I start learning Python?
It all depends on your learning style. If you’re curious about Python, but not sure if you want to commit to a formal course, visit Python.org, which offers a handy beginner’s guide to programming and Python.
If you’re more of a visual learner, one of your first stops should be Microsoft’s video series, “Python for Beginners,” with dozens of lessons (most under five minutes in length; none longer than 13 minutes).
You can also find Python tutorials at various online learning portals, including Datacamp (whose Introduction to Pythoncourse includes 11 videos and 57 exercises), Udemy (which offers a variety of free introduction courses, including one for “absolute beginners”), and Codecademy. Many of these portals aim to put you on a track to the more advanced, paid classes—but there are still lots of free materials out there if you look.
Can you learn Python online?
Yes. In fact, given how classrooms everywhere remain virtual amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning is the way to go.
How do I start a Python career?
Whether or not you’ve done formal coursework, you can certainly launch a Python career. If you can’t show off Python experience from your previous jobs, you’ll likely need to build up a portfolio of work that shows off your coding prowess. It could be as simple as contributions to open-source projects, or a dedicated GitHub repository to some of your Python work; whatever it is, make sure that you highlight it on your application so the hiring manager realizes you know what you’re doing.
If you already work as a software developer, and you’re adding Python to your skill-set in hopes of making a career out of it, bring up your learning journey to your manager. Depending on the size of the company and its current slate of projects, there might be an opportunity to participate in a Python-based project. If so, you can master the language on company time, then use that knowledge when it comes time to land your next gig (or simply climb the proverbial ladder at your current one).