Software Engineering: Python for Beginners
— by Lisa Richards, Educational Outreach Writer
In this modern, technological age, learning how to program a computer is one of the most useful things you can do to build your marketable skills. But learning to make software isn't as easy as "learn to code": You have to choose which language you would like to learn, such as Java, Ruby, or Python. The language you choose depends on what you're trying to create, but Python is a great choice to start with for beginners and experienced users alike.
What Is Python?
Python is a language used for engineering fast, readable code. It was invented in 1991 and has become one of the most popular languages in use today, especially for beginners. The focus on getting programs up and running quickly and efficiently makes it a common choice for new programmers to learn. It's usable on any computer, Windows, Mac, or Linux, and is open-source: The code is readable by any programmer and is edited by a team of contributors rather than one company.
Features and Benefits
Python's largest benefit is how easy it is to read. The language is written in a way that sounds almost like human language and minimizes bracket use. In other languages, a huge amount of the code would be wrapped in curly brackets, but the indentation of the lines is purely for readability. In Python, indentation is used to create "blocks" of code, and this makes it simple to read and follow.
Another huge benefit is the lack of compilation. Normally, to run a program, you have to save it, compile it, and then run it. To check if something is wrong with the code, you have to stop running it, change the code, recompile it, and try again. Python isn't like that; there is no compilation step, which makes it fast and easy to run and debug code.
The popularity of Python is another important benefit of the language. It may seem strange that how many people use a language would make a difference, but Python is packed with third-party libraries for anything you might need because it's so popular. That makes it easy to make complex programs quickly by pulling in support libraries. It also means that if you get stuck while making your software, there's a huge support community out there to help you figure out what went wrong.
Why Learn Python?
Python is a great skill to learn for future career opportunities. You may find yourself falling in love with it and ready to jump into a career in software engineering, which is both high-paying and exciting. Or you may not, and instead, you might just use the logical thinking Python relies on in your everyday life. Programming in languages such as Python gives you a solid basis in logic and cause-and-effect, which can extend across your entire life.
There's also an increased demand for Python programmers in the world today. By learning such a popular, in-demand language, you can drastically increase your chances of landing a fun, high-paying job working in Python.