Ultimate Guide to Python and How to Code
If you have no previous programming experience and are looking to kickstart your coding skills with Python, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re searching for a seasoned guide to help you break down and discover everything you need to know, then settle in.
One of the main obstacles you’ll face when beginning to learn coding is the vast expanse of things that need to be learned. There are thousands and thousands of resources that are supposed to help you, but you could end up feeling overwhelmed. Let’s get right into it!
Installing Python Programming Language
To write and execute Python code, you need to install Python on your computer. The installation process, however, is fairly easy, and there are a few steps after you go to the official Python site (Python.org):
With various language versions available, you need to choose between Python 2 and Python 3. Most programmers will just tell you to pick up Python 3 rather than going back to the (not so) obsolete 2.
You won’t need the central repository of code in the version control or anything of the sort. Just click on the download page.
Download the Installer
Pick the latest version of Python 3 and click download. Depending on your operating system, you can download Python for Windows, Mac, or Linux.
Run the Installer
After downloading the installer, run Python. Setup should take a few minutes to complete and display a successful page. That’s all you need to do to install Python.
Run Command Prompt, type ‘Python,’ and enter. If the program is installed successfully, it will display the version you have installed on your computer.
Using a Python Interpreter
You can choose to write your code in a text file, but how does it run? The Python interpreter reads the text file and runs it as Python code.
It is useful for typing quick codes and seeing immediate results. It’s also a great way to experiment with different features while improving your coding skills.
Note: To run Python scripts, open a command line and type Python or Python 3.
Beginners Guide to Python: Learn the Syntax
There’s no running away from syntax if you’re new to programming. The syntax is the rules that tell the computer how to read our code.
You will need to learn how Python syntax works, and it’s going to take some time to get used to. While learning Python syntax, your focus should be on improving your understanding of the logic behind coding.
Things like IF statements and FOR loops in Python will take some of your time.
There’s nothing wrong with starting slow. Remember that tech whizzes at Google and Apple once had to learn these logical statements, and they struggled to run Python too!
So, when you’re learning Python basics, don’t just cram it. It might be quite the challenge, but it’s also the most rewarding part. Python Syntax may slightly differ from coding other languages. Still, the ideas behind it are generally the same, which means it’s easier to learn a new language after you learn Python.
You will need to open Python files when you code, so keep an eye out for the py extension. This py extension simply denotes that a program file is written in Python, an object-oriented programming language.
Beginner Concepts You Should Learn in Python Programming.
As mentioned earlier, thousands of materials and resources on Python can overwhelm you on the internet.
You could end up taking a Python course on YouTube and then find another video somewhere else that generally repeats the same information you already learned.
So how do you know what the next steps to take are in your Python tutorial? There are some very important topics you will need while you learn Python programming, especially when you have a better understanding of syntax. Let’s take a look at these basic
Data Types in Python
Python has different data types that you need to get accustomed to. Integers, Complex numbers, floating-point numbers, and other data types will become a key part of your coding journey.
It is easy to perform mathematical operations, including addition and subtraction, with Python. The operator (like + or -) adds, subtracts, multiplies, or divides two operands. These will come in handy with the use of syntax.
For Loops and While Loops
Loops are used to execute a particular block of Python code repeatedly for a fixed number of times. These loops require some understanding of logic. Loops are useful for setting up breaks when you run Python.
Converting elements into a string, making an entire string lowercase or higher case, turning a string numeric, and more. You need to learn your way around strings in Python.
Essentially, these are blocks of Python code that only run when required to perform a task. To prevent your program from becoming bulky and slow, calling functions is something you should learn.
Scopes and Global Variables
These blocks declare where parts of your Python code begin and end. Global variables affect the entire Python program, while scopes affect specific parts.
These are data structures used to store multiple items in a variable. This is also something you would need to learn to use in your Python journey.
A lot of logic is required for your computer to understand your Python code, and that’s where conditional statements come in. If a code meets a specific condition, it can run Python, and you will learn to use it to automate your code.
Write Python Code Consistently
When you’re learning many of the topics above, you might be inclined just to follow the tutorials blindly. However, if you want to code Python quickly, you need to consistently apply what you’re learning.
Granted, actively coding and troubleshooting your Python code will take more energy, but it is more rewarding and educational. If you want to use much of what you have learned with the topics above, there are beginner projects you can create using Python programming.
Run Python and see how well you can make these programs:
With your understanding of syntax and other concepts, you should be able to make your first Python program: a simple calculator. Your calculator should be able to perform basic arithmetic operations.
Yes, it is possible to create a fortune teller with Python, and your experience learning python should help you do that. This could also be your first Python program.
Like the calculator, you should be able to make a Python program that can convert liters to gallons and miles to kilometers.
Other Python Programs
Depending on how much you’ve advanced, you should be able to create a hangman game with Python, a to-do list program, and even a text-based adventure game using Python. These are all great first-step programs that Python can help you make.
Get Help Online
There’s no need for you to memorize Python syntax on the go. Even the most seasoned Python programmers still look up stuff constantly. However, you don’t need to go searching on google for everything. The best times to search for stuff are when you’ve forgotten a bit of syntax, when you don’t understand a Python concept, or when you want to learn something new.
There are quite a few platforms for you to reach out to fellow Python enthusiasts and ask questions: Reddit, Stack Overflow, and Freenode are a few. However, because you’re still fairly new to Python programming, there’s a good chance that someone else has already asked the question you’re about to ask. So your first step, before asking any questions on any forums, is to do a google search of your problem in Python. Chances are you’ll find results.
You will also find some cool Python tricks and tips you can use to improve your coding. If you can’t solve a problem quickly, don’t just look for the answer immediately. That’s not how to learn Python. Work the Python problem on your own for a while and see if there’s a solution that had previously eluded you. After giving it some thought, and you’re still unable to solve it, you can go searching for answers.
Intermediate Python Tutorial Topics
Most beginners might not bother to go much farther in their Python journey, but if you are, these are some topics you will come across as your coding progresses:
Inheritance, tuples, dictionaries, sets, and recursion are all topics you will need to master on your way to becoming a Python expert. Other topics include lambda functions, mapping, and advanced for loop usage. These are important topics to understand if you have to run Python on a larger scale.
Advanced Python Tutorial Topics
While you will rarely need to work with them, topics like decorators, concurrency, and generators are examples of advanced Python tutorial topics. Chances are you will rarely need these, and studying them while you won’t make use of it will only make you forget what you’ve studied. Your best bet with these advanced Python topics would be learning them when you come across them much later in your Python career.
In many ways, becoming an expert Python coder has little to do with understanding advanced topics and more about problem-solving capacity. The better you become at coding Python, the more experience you will have at solving problems and finding efficient solutions to challenges. It’s not about how much Python you know but how well you can apply what you know.
Choosing your focus
With Python programming language, there are different fields you can work in. While you can decide to be a jack-of-all-trades, it will become near impossible to master any. Expert Python coders often recommend that you focus on a field to work on rather than trying your hand at everything. When you pick a field, you can work towards mastering it and becoming an expert. Here is a list of focus areas for Python developers and what you can expect within them:
Did you know that many sites, including Reddit, Spotify, and Yelp, are powered by a Python framework? Web development with Python is certainly a field you can enter, and there are many frameworks within this field, including Django.
Some of the best games in the world were created with the Python programming language. From the once-viral Flappy Bird to Sims and even Sid Meier’s Civilization IV, Python has been used in game development for a long time.
Because Python is a high-level programming language, data scientists and other mathematical fields find it easy to use. Python programs can also be quite solid for object-oriented programming.
Like data science, this field will need you to understand some key mathematical concepts, which you can then implement with your knowledge of Python coding.
Because Python is secure, scalable, and has high performance, it has become a great fit for many coders in the blockchain industry. A good blockchain developer will need some proficiency in other coding languages, but a Python program offers a great start.
Python programs are fairly easy for hackers to use, from creating password crackers to brute force scripts and spyware. There are also quite a few frameworks that make developing the required tools for ethical hacking.
The most adept coders in today’s world started off writing small bits of code and getting confused at nearly every turn. This story is similar for nearly every coder in nearly every coding language.
Sure, Python might seem tough at first, but it gets easier with each line of code you write. Work through the beginner topics first, and get accustomed to them. Create simple programs when you feel you’ve understood these topics very well. Learn and use Python tricks and tips.
Advance to the harder topics and start working your way up the Python ladder. It might be challenging, but there are platforms on the internet to guide you through. As you begin to master these advanced topics, you can build bigger programs while improving your problem-solving skills.
With numerous applications of Python in today’s world, you can become a coding expert in any field of your choosing. You can also pick up new languages because it becomes much easier to learn other programming languages after you have mastered Python.
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