Why Python Should Be The First Programming Language You Learn

Why Python Should Be The First Programming Language You Learn

Why should Python be the first programming language you learn? It’s awesome. That’s all you need to know. You can stop reading here and start coding now.

Of course, you want to know more. But it’s that simple. As you will see, you can start coding now with Python.

Besides being awesome, Python should be your first programming language because you will quickly learn how to think like a programmer. Python is very readable. You won’t waste a lot of time memorizing the arcane syntax that other programming languages will present you. Instead, you will be able to focus on learning programming concepts and paradigms. Once you have those tools under your belt you can move on to other more powerful, specific languages and readily understand a given piece of code. But, don’t be mistaken. You are not playing with a kids toy. Python is super-powerful! There’s a reason NASA uses it. As a beginner, you’ll be able to accomplish anything you need with Python.

Python is easy to learn. The learning curve is very gradual. Other languages can be quite steep. With Python and the proper combination of ambition and attention, you could whip together a game in a day knowing nothing before you started. As I mentioned above, Python places an emphasis on readability. Here’s an example of how easy and readable Python is. The first code example below is written in C++:

And here’s code with the same output in Python 3:

Brilliant, right? Because it looks like everyday English, it’s so much easier to type. What you will later come to appreciate about this is the speed at which you can write a program. And that means less time coding and more time playing.

Perhaps you’ve already tried to learn a programming language. You might have worked through the “Hello, World! Program” (not to be confused with this The Hello World Program) and then found yourself lost in the woods. Yet another great thing about Python is the wealth and abundance of documentation. You can easily find what you’re looking for at python.org. If you can’t, the Python Tutor list is full of a friendly cast of characters ready and able to answer your questions, so long as you are polite.

Once you’ve got the basics down, you’re going to find yourself bored with outputting text and crunching numbers. That’s when you’ll begin to leverage the power of Python’s libraries and modules. What’s a library? Well, where did we go for answers before the internet? The library! In computing, a library is a collection of “books” that perform specific tasks and extend your programs functionality. So, instead of writing the book you need, you can just check it out. In Python, a library is a collection of modules. If you want to do some fancy stuff with graphics, you might check out the Python Imaging Library. Or, if you want to make a game you could use either the Pygame of the Pyglet libraries. If science is your thing, there’s the SciPy library. What’s a module? Simply put, a module is a a file, like a book in the library, that contains functions you can import into your program.

Python makes it very easy for you to use. It comes bundled with IDLE, which does not mean how you will be spending your time using Python. IDLE is both an interactive shell and an integrated development environment (IDE) for Python . What does that mean? It’s easy to write and run Python programs. You quickly and easily do both from within IDLE. But wait, you ask, what’s an IDE? An IDE is a software application that makes it easier to develop computer programs. IDLE is written in and for Python. There are some awesome features in IDLE. It has syntax highlighting, which means text will be displayed according to category within your program. There’s autocompletion, which means… And smart indent, which is great when you’re in the zone. And, it gets better. Your program will run immediately. That means less time waiting for assembly and compiling and more time debugging! This will all make sense later.

In case I was too subtle, it’s important to point out that Pythonistas (as they are known) are a funny bunch. It’s very important to have a sense of humor, in life and in Python. The language is, after all, named after Monty Python. What? You don’t know Monty Python? You’ve got some homework to do.

We at The Hello World Program advocate GNU/Linux operating systems, but we know that’s not for everyone. Yet. But Python is for everyone! In fact, if you’re using a UNIX machine like a Mac or running a Linux distro, it’s already installed on your computer. If you’re on Windows, it’s very easy to do yourself. Just head over to python.org and download it. You’ll be up and coding in no time.

Now, for an added challenge: in Python, write a program that reads this blog entry and counts the number of times I used the words “easy” and “awesome”. This shouldn’t take you long.

Start learning Python now with our first tutorial, And Now For Something Completely Different… An Introduction to the Python Programming Language.

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Why Python Should Be The First Programming Language You Learn was posted by on . Jared likes to make things. He really wants you to watch The Hello World Program so you can learn the skills you need to build an awesome future. His contributions to the show include puppetry, 3D animation, doodling and speaking in a bad British accent. And yes, that is a fox sitting on his face.

Discuss this article in the Comments below, or and it with your friends. Learn more about Python by subscribing to The Hello World Newsletter .

Join the Discussion
  • prakhal

    nice article.
    Thanks a ton

  • pratik

    NICE ONE …I JUST START TO LEARN …. PLS HELP ME….HOW TO INITIATE STEP BY STEP
    ID: dosipratik@gmail.com

  • Jason

    Use CodeAcademy! I have a cousin who is like the best programmer and he told me he loves it. I’ve come to love it too. You can start from there.

  • casix

    for the record… this site is the nuts. http://inventwithpython.com/

  • Makes me think of the book for kids that teaches Python! (If a ten year old can do it… so should adults!)

  • Manjit

    Am very curious too know – Is it really required to have basic programming knowledge or c language to learn python ?. As I was from the design background and have some basic knowledge of html and css. And now am thinking to focus on programming area too keeping eye on IT field.

    Thanks.

  • Hi Manjit,
    No background is required to learn Python. It’s well-suited for beginners but is also a very advanced and powerful language. Your background in HTML and CSS will help you pick it up much faster, though. You’re also in a good position to learn web frameworks such as Django and Flask, which are awesome.

    Check out our introduction to Python:

    http://www.thehelloworldprogram.com/python/now-something-completely-different/

    It’s not the traditional approach to teaching programming. It’s something completely different… But it will give you an idea of the bigger picture and hopefully make you laugh.

    Also, we have a series on how to write Python Twitter Bots on our parent site, Dototot. They are very simple tutorials intended for beginners.
    http://www.dototot.com/how-to-write-a-twitter-bot-with-python-and-tweepy/
    http://www.dototot.com/reply-tweets-python-tweepy-twitter-bot/

    Lastly, sign up for our newsletter. We have many more Python tutorials and videos on their way.

    Cheers!

  • For your first step, see that you have Python installed. The Python site has detailed instructions for every operating system.
    https://www.python.org/about/gettingstarted/
    Then read our introduction: http://www.thehelloworldprogram.com/python/now-something-completely-different/

  • booker

    Could you please introduce me to that book?

  • Hi booker,
    You can get started learning Python with our first tutorial, http://www.thehelloworldprogram.com/python/now-something-completely-different/

  • Shreelaxmi Gautham

    Very nice article. We teach python through games. We have students who are from 4th – 12th standard who write beautiful python codes. We had a massive research done on understanding how people from various age groups learn programming. Its so true that Python is the easiest language of all.

    https://twitter.com/Shreekamath/status/484622217871765505/photo/1

    Thanks for the information you share.

  • Bartosz Marciniak

    for sure not first, maybe last but not least.

  • Kim

    I can’t speak to this course, but I can guarantee you that Python does not look like every-day language (compared to C++, yes; compared to BASIC, not really; compared to every-day English not written by computer people, NO).

    I am taking a Coursera Python course, and am joined by many other really confused learners swimming amidst other learners (primarily people who already know Java, C++ or such, it seems) who are talking about stuff that’s way beyond us and seem to be laughing at how easy the class is.

    I don’t see why a confusing, unclear language like this should be the first one to learn.

  • Hi Kim,
    Maybe in your case the question to answer is: Why do you want to learn programming? If you want to create websites, then HTML, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, and yes, Python are obvious choices. If you want to create graphics, games, or sound apps, then you would probably want to start learning something in the C-family. Python is great for learning the fundamentals, but it is, as you state, not for everyone. You can also learn the fundamentals with something like Processing, which has the added benefit or providing immediate visual feedback: https://processing.org/
    Cheers!

  • Kylie

    Hey i just started learning python…I’m a PHP developer Bt now trying my hands to learn more…so I chose python. Do i Need to learn javOracle with it to get a nice profile??? Plz help

  • The truth bringer.

    Thank You! No other words express my gratitude for this website and the article that motivated me to start learning Python.

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