All About Python

In my next blog series, I will go more in depth with some of the more popular programming languages. I will strive to provide you with insight into what the languages are used for and how to learn more about them. The first language I am diving into is Python.

What is Python?

Python is a general purpose programming language that was named after the Monty Python. Python is simple and incredibly readable as it closely resembles the English language. It was created by Guido van Rossum in the late 1980’s.

History

In the late 1980’s, while Guido van Rossum was working at CWI (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica), he took on a project for the Amoeba operating system in which he had to write application level utilities for the new system. The team that Guido was working with had decided the ‘C’ language would work best only due to its ability to use a complier. Otherwise, the team found working with ‘C’ to be slow and not very interesting. Guido, who had previously worked on the development of the ABC language, thought it had some merit but the language was too abstract to talk to servers and file systems within Amoeba. With some free time, during Christmas of 1989, Guido took parts he liked from the ABC language as well as provided solutions for aspects of the language that he found frustrating and created Python.

Guido published the first version of the Python programing language in February 1991 and released it to alt.sources. Since then, there have been three different versions of Python with the newest being Python 3.6 which was released in December 2016.

Today, Python is one of the most popular languages due to its versatility. Python is heralded as the easiest programming language to learn, with its simple and straightforward syntax and it is the most commonly taught programming language in U.S schools.

Who uses it?

The most common jobs that require knowledge of the Python language are as follows:

Software Engineer

Senior Software Engineer

Research Assistant

Software Developer

Graduate Research Assistant

Software Engineering Internship

Developer

Web Developer

Quality Assurance Engineer

Researcher

What can you do with it

Python is a general-purpose language, which means it isn’t used for just one purpose such as web development. Rather, it’s used at many different companies for different purposes. For example, Google uses Python for components of Google Spider and its search engine while Disney uses Python to add scriptability to their animation production system. Python is also used in several applications, video games, web frameworks and graphic frameworks.

Getting started

At a basic level, Python is an easy language to learn and use and you will quickly learn how to create variables and loops. While there are several websites out there to help you learn Python, we recommend the following:

The Official Python Tutorial

What better place to learn Python then the official website? The creators of the language itself have devised a large and helpful guide that will walk you through the basics of the language. If you already have a background in programming, this tutorial may be too slow for you and in that case, we recommend…

Google’s Python Class

Tutorials from Google developer on Python are well written and cleanly organized. They focus on theory without any practical step by step instructions to build projects. Python tutorials from Google developers are best suited when you are on the go and/or for those who already have some basic programming background.

Codecademy

There are many interactive tutorials available for Python that let you write code in the browser and see the results live, right there. That is what makes learning fun! Code Academy hosts the best interactive Python tutorials for beginners and as of today, there are 2.5m enrolled in this course.