The first thing you will encounter when learning any programming language is the rules it uses to write code. Complex constructions, filled with various brackets, slashes, and mathematical symbols can easily throw even the most determined coding students into a stupor. If only there were a simple programming language with clear and beginner-friendly rules... Oh, wait, there already is one — it’s called Python! Let's take a closer look at it.
What is Python?
Python is a programming language — a set of rules with which you can write instructions for a computer. There are many programming languages, because computers solve many different tasks. Each of them has its pros and cons. One of Python’s unbeatable advantages is its simplicity. However, it’s still a programming powerhouse.
Python is used in many large and commercially successful web projects, including Instagram, Google, Spotify, and Netflix, to name a few. Besides web development, Python is one of the most popular languages for data science, data analytics, and machine learning.
Despite all that, it’s still easier to work with than most programming languages! One of the basic tasks in learning to program is to output the message “Hello World!” Here is what that looks like in some of the most popular programming languages, including Python:
Python’s superpower — frameworks and libraries
Frameworks and libraries are fragments of code already written by other developers, which you can use in your programs. There are several frameworks and a massive number of libraries for Python, often used in web development. Commercial Python development almost always involves working with libraries and frameworks.
Python itself has standard, pre-installed libraries that solve many problems, but, sometimes, they are not enough.
If you're just starting on your programming journey, don't get hung up on it. For now, just keep in mind that data scientists and machine learning specialists often deal with libraries such as NumPy, Scikit-learn, Pandas, and others. Web developers work with frameworks like Django, Flask, and Tornado, among others. To learn more about how libraries work, check out this article on NLTK — a popular Python library for data science.
Where is Python used?
Web development. This involves the creation of websites and web applications, and Python is often used in the back end or server side of such applications. The back end is responsible for tasks such as storing and retrieving data, processing user requests, and sending responses to users. So, it's not a visible part of websites or applications the way buttons, menus, and other controls are, but controls how it all works under the hood. Python frameworks also often include tools to handle functions related to the front end — the part of the application that is visible to the user.
Data science. This sphere involves working with large amounts of data, cleaning and analyzing it, and making predictions or drawing conclusions from it. Python has many libraries and tools to make working with data easier, such as NumPy, Pandas, and Matplotlib. These libraries allow you to manipulate, visualize, and analyze data in a variety of ways. Data science has applications in many fields, from marketing to, literally, rocket science.
Machine learning. In this field, experts train computers to recognize patterns in data and make predictions or decisions based on it. Machine learning models are used in self-driving technologies, cyber prosthetics, medical diagnostics, and more. You may have heard of the super-advanced ChatGPT bot, which is also a machine-learning model. Python is widely used in machine learning, as it has many powerful libraries for building and training machine learning models, such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, and Scikit-Learn.
Why you should choose Python as your first programming language
Easy to learn. Python is simple, which makes it one of the most user-friendly programming languages for beginners. It has a low learning curve, so you can quickly start writing simple programs in Python and progress to more complex ones.
Versatility. Python can be used in a variety of areas such as web development, data analysis, machine learning, artificial intelligence, automation and scientific computing. This flexibility makes Python a great choice for beginners who wish to learn a lot of different areas of programming.
Huge community. Python has a large and active community of developers who are involved in creating free and open-source libraries, frameworks, and tools. This means that you can easily find help and resources to solve any problems you encounter when learning Python.
Industry popularity. Python is widely used in the technology industry, and its popularity is only growing. Learning Python will give beginners a good foundation to pursue a career in the technology industry, as it is used in many areas.
High demand. As more and more companies start using Python, the demand for Python developers also grows. Learning Python can lead to many job opportunities and a good salary.
Where can I work if I get good at Python?
Python is an extremely popular programming language, used by numerous IT giants, which means there is a large number of jobs for Python developers. Here are a few well-known companies that are willing to hire Python programmers:
Google. Python is one of the main programming languages used at Google, and the company is always looking for talented Python developers.
Amazon. Amazon is one of the largest users of Python in the world and is always looking for skilled Python developers to work on its various products and services.
Microsoft. Microsoft is increasingly using Python in its products and services, such as Visual Studio Code and Azure Machine Learning.
Facebook. Facebook makes extensive use of Python for data analysis and machine learning projects.
IBM. IBM uses Python for a wide range of projects, including data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
However, the list can easily be extended to numerous other companies, including startups, consulting firms, and government agencies. According to Indeed.com, the average annual base salary for a junior Python developer is $73,266, and the average base salary for a senior Python developer is $113,410.
First step on the way to big things
The good thing about programming is that ― once you understand the basic concepts of one language, it's much easier to learn another, should you wish to. But, even if you know one language at a sufficient level, you can already get attractive offers from many employers. So why not start with the easiest one?