Don’t Choose Python as Your First Programming Language

Shubham Pathania
Sep 7, 2020 · 4 min read

Python is one of the most popular programming languages of the 21st Century. It is a general-purpose language used for Web Development, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, Mobile Application development, and some Video Games.

All the latest technology trends in today’s world are directly or indirectly using Python language. That is the most common reason why beginners want to learn that language.

Python — Programming Hotshot!

Python is a hot trend. People usually run after trends in Software Industry. I am not suggesting that Python is not a good programming language but it is kind of hyped.

The best thing about Python is its simplicity and ability to do tasks with less code. You can perform a task of 10–20 lines of code in some other language with almost half the number of lines of code in Python.

Even though Machine Learning and AI can be done in other programming languages, still, python is best to do so.

What’s wrong with Python

Python is too simple. It lacks Important elements of object-oriented programming. An experienced programmer will learn Python for specific needs while having command over the OOPs concept.

A beginner might have to think twice before following the herd mentality in the software industry. There are plenty of reasons why a beginner should not choose Python as their first programming language —

1. Python object creation does not need a Type

To some level, it makes coding easier. But, in my opinion, it is terrible for new programmers. They should be aware of the types of whatever objects they create, and this becomes much harder in Python language.

2. Python lacks private class members

The key to the OOPs concept is Encapsulation and Information hiding. A class should have its private members. But in Python, this is nearly impossible. (The pseudo-private members in Python, ‘__foo’ don’t make much sense.)

3. Member functions in Python are purely virtual

In Python, there is no need for Interfaces. Interfaces are important for new programmers, to understand the notion of encapsulation. But in Python, writing interfaces is just not encouraged (By the language itself).

4. Library for almost everything

There are over 137,000 Python libraries present today. Libraries are a set of useful functions that eliminate the need for writing codes from scratch. This is not a good practice for someone who is new to coding as this will drastically reduce their learning curve.

5. Issues with Thread

The original (or official) Python implementation, CPython, has a global interpretation lock. So, there are no real concurrent threads. Furthermore, the concurrency part of code in Python is just not as strong as C++ or Java.

6. Speed is an illusion

As we know Python is written in C language, so are most of its libraries. Usually, the libraries of a programming language are written in the same language but in the case of Python, most of the libraries are written in C and C++.

7. Indentation instead of curly braces

Many developers love Python’s indentation. However, code with curly braces would be better for beginners. It provides a much clearer view and also completely differentiates the blocks of code, which is easily understandable for them.

def say_hello():
print("Tab") # I use tab to make indentation here
print("Space") # I use space to make indentation here
Do you see the differences between tabs and spaces?

8. Dealing with Runtime Errors

Python is a dynamically typed language. It requires more testing and has errors that only show up at runtime due to dynamic nature. This could be really frustrating and discouraging for beginners.

9. What’s your Interest

If you are interested in becoming a mobile application or game developer then Python might not be the right technology for you!

Python is also not memory-efficient due to its dynamic and late-binding nature. So if your application demands speed and memory efficiency then you have to look for alternatives.

10. Deployment and Debugging challenges

One of the main issues with Python is when applications start growing, deployment becomes an issue, and also it is very difficult to debug production code for any issues.

Conclusion

If you choose Python as your first language to study, you might form some very bad coding styles (lots of public member variables, lack of interfaces, etc), and you might end up with a poor understanding of Object-Oriented Programming.

It is better to start with C++ or Java to develop a better understanding of the OOPs concept.

The truth is, there can never be a perfect programming language for everything.

Python is a good programming language, but you should consider learning it after commanding at least one Object-oriented programming language. Also, learn it if you are specifically seeking a career in Machine Learning, AI, or Data Science.

I’m Shubham Pathania. I’m a .NET developer working in the finance domain. I find C# a great language to use, and it’s also backed by a great ecosystem. I love solving complex problems and want to continue talking about the tech I use.

If you found this article helpful or thought-provoking, leave a comment, and let’s connect over LinkedIn!

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