The first-ever programming language that I started to learn was Python. Ever since then I have learned quite a number of other programming languages. I know exactly how it feels when you are an absolute newbie at programming and you are going to be teaching yourself something that people pay thousands of dollars and years in school to learn.
The question that may be boggling your mind is if it is possible or how easy is it going to be for you to teach yourself Python programming or any other programming language at all. Well, trust me on this one, it is very possible for you to teach yourself Python.
After several years of learning various programming languages, I have come to believe that Python is actually one of the easiest programming languages to learn. This is because Python as a programming language is more human language-related than it is computer language-related.
It can however be very frustrating for you to learn if you don’t get the right information and resources to work with. This is the inspiration behind this article. Provide the absolute newbie with a comprehensive resource that will serve as a guide for them when they start learning.
You are in safe hands now so relax and let us cruise on this journey to become an expert Python programmer.
Things you need to know before you begin learning Python
According to Statista, Python was the third most used programming language by developers in the year 2021. Its use is increasing exponentially due to the versatility of the language. As a programming language, Python can be used in any of the following:
- Web development
- Mobile apps development
- Machine learning and artificial intelligence
- Data science
- Data processing and analysis
- Game development
- Hardware, robotics, and sensors
- Automation of work
There are a lot of things that can be done with Python. Unfortunately, they all don’t follow the same patterns or strategies for mastering Python. The context of the Python language and what to learn may differ depending on what you are going to use it for.
As such, before you decide to learn the Python programming language, you have to decide on the exact path you want to take. Establish what you are going to be doing as a Python programmer even before you begin learning.
Resources available are usually tailored towards any of the above-mentioned fields where Python is applicable.
Have you made a choice on which field you want (ie: web development, data science, machine learning, etc)? I guess so. If not then take some time to decide before you proceed with the actual learning of the Python programming language.
Once, you have made a decision on the field you want to be learning Python for, then you have to take your first step to learn the language itself. What could this first step be? Let’s find out in the following section of this post.
What is the first step to learning Python?
Python is not called a language just for the fun of it. In fact, any programming language is a language just like any human language except that most of those languages are rather spoken by humans to computers for the computers to interpret.
It is therefore not out of place to tackle the learning of a programming language just as you would learning any human language. Do you by chance have any experience learning any human language apart from your mother tongue?
I have at least tried my hand at French and I know what the feeling is like. If you ever have tried learning a different human language before then you aren’t too far off from appreciating what I am about to say. If you don’t have any experience trying to learn another human language, then no worries because you aren’t at any disadvantage at all.
Every language has a syntax that you need to understand before you are able to construct sentences in the language. In fact, you will usually begin your journey of learning any language at all by learning the pronunciations of the alphabets and combinations of the alphabets as well.
Begin by learning the basic syntax of Python
Well, the programming world isn’t any different. You have to begin by learning the syntax and the building blocks of the programming language.
Fortunately, the syntax of Python is the same irrespective of the field to that you will be applying your Python knowledge to. For that matter, you have to take the first step by learning the very syntax of the Python programming language.
A point to note is that, all programming languages have dedicated websites for them where you will find documentation on the syntax and sometimes very detailed tutorials on the programming language.
These online documentations can be a good starting point for you but note that not everybody likes them.
Programming languages documentations can sometimes be long and pretty boring for some people. Therefore, if you are the kind of person that likes learning in a fun environment then you would have to be looking somewhere else.
In fact, everybody is different when it comes to the actual learning process. The study methods that work for me may not work for you. In order to be able to learn the Python language quickly, you have to identify the study methods that work best for you.
I have a video explaining all the other things that you can do to learn any digital skill fast and also have written a detailed post about that. You can check out the post here if you care to know about how to learn the Python language quickly.
Which of these study methods would you like to use to learn python?
- Study by reading books, articles, PDFs, etc.
- Study by watching video lessons
- Study by listening to audio
Start by learning the basic syntax of Python
The syntax of a programming language just like any human language entails knowing about the use of punctuation marks, the indentation in writing, and the command verbs to use. Note that just as the human language is used to tell humans to do something, the programming language is also used to tell the computer to do something.
Hence, you will find some verbs in there. For instance, if you want your Python program to display your name on a screen, you have to use the print command.
If you are to place the statement above in an environment that understands and can interpret the python language, you will receive an outcome as below:
Note that the print command has a bracket in front of it and has the statement in it wrapped around in quotation marks. Just that isn’t a mistake, that is actually the syntax of Python.
Hence, if you ignore any of the important aspects of the statement above, you are going to end up with an error or get a result different from what you are expecting.
Let’s see some resources that will help you learn the basic syntax of Python
Resources to help you learn the basic syntax of Python
- Python official documentation: This one is good for you if you like reading through documentatiions
- W3 schools python tutorials: This is good for anybody including those who don’t even have computers to study. This means you can learn and practice python right on your phone.
- A simplified video Python tutorial: This is a lesson by one of my favorite tutors on YouTube. The video has gotten over 4.5 million views at the time of this writing in just a 1 year period.
- Python Programming ebook: An ebook for beginners as well as intermediates at Python programming
What is next after grasping the basic syntax of python? Let’s find out in the following section.
Practice what you learn and work on some basic projects
Now that you know the basic syntax of Python programming, it is time to focus on the specific field of interest in which you want to use Python. You have to start learning domain-specific knowledge in Python programming.
For instance, if you are interested in using Python for web development. Then it is time to start looking into the Python framework, Django, used for web development.
The best way to learn this domain-specific Python programming is through practice. Hence you need to get your feet wet with the knowledge you obtain.
To be able to do that you probably need to be using a computer and that computer should have an environment that can understand and interpret the Python language. Such a tool is popularly called an IDE (Integrated Development Environment).
You, therefore, have to make sure you have an IDE installed on your computer. Some of the common IDEs that you can use for programming in Python include:
- Pycharm: This is an IDE for professional developers and is very popular among python developers.
- Visual studio code: This is my personal favorite and I use it for the various programming languages that I code in. It is a quite popular code editor by Microsoft and requires some settings and extensions to be used as a Python IDE. Watch this video to learn how to set up visual studio code for Python programming.
- Spyder: This is the IDE preferred for those interested in getting into data science or machine learning with Python.
- Sublime Text 3: This is also one popular code editor that can double as an IDE for Python programming with a few extensions installed in it. You can watch this video to learn how to set up Sublime Text 3 for python programming.
Note that aside from the IDE, you may also need to install python on your computer if it is not already installed on it. You can read how to install Python from the link below:
Basic Python Tutorials & Projects for Beginners
The kind of project that you will work on will depend on the field of interest. I am going to provide you with some resources that will guide you in doing some Python projects.
Let’s group the resources into the various fields that were identified earlier in this post.
This blog has a compilation of various projects with sample codes that you can try with your basic python knowledge irrespective of your field of interest.
- Python website design full tutorial
- Python Django Web framework tutorial
- Python Backend Web development Course
Mobile apps development
Machine learning and Data science
Hardware, robotics, and sensors
- Using Python with Arduino — learn how to use Python to control sensors connected to an Arduino.
- Learning Python with Raspberry Pi — build hardware projects using Python and a Raspberry Pi.
- Learning Robotics using Python — learn how to build robots using Python.
- Raspberry Pi Cookbook — learn how to build robots using the Raspberry Pi and Python.
Automation of work
- Automate the boring stuff with Python — learn how to automate day-to-day tasks using Python.
Once you have gained some level of experience going through the relevant projects and tutorials, it is now time to work on your portfolio. Let’s see what you can do to establish your portfolio.
Create your own portfolio of Python projects
One of the very important things that every programmer should have is a host of projects to form a robust portfolio. The portfolio of projects is basically a programmer’s resume and the more relevant the projects to your field of work, the higher your chances of getting employed in that field.
You, therefore, have to build your own projects. The essence of this is to help you go through all the phases that a programmer goes through in designing a project. You usually begin with identifying a problem and then finding a solution to that problem using the code that you write.
However, you don’t have to go with a very complicated problem. One like that may prove difficult along the line and you may easily give up. It also shouldn’t be too easy to be looked over by others especially if you want the projects to boost your chances of getting a job.
Below are some python project ideas that I came across that may serve as a starting point for you if you don’t already have any ideas yet.
Mobile App Project Ideas
- An app to track how far you walk every day.
- An app that sends you weather notifications.
- A real-time location-based chat.
Web Design Project Ideas
- A site that helps you plan your weekly meals.
- A site that allows users to review video games.
- A notetaking platform.
Data Science / Machine Learning Project Ideas
- A map that visualizes election polling by state.
- An algorithm that predicts the weather where you live.
- A tool that predicts the stock market.
- An algorithm that automatically summarizes news articles.
Python Game Project Ideas
- A location-based mobile game, where you capture territory.
- A game where you program to solve puzzles.
- Hardware / Sensors / Robots Project Ideas
- Sensors that monitor your home temperature and let you monitor your house remotely.
- A smarter alarm clock.
- A self-driving robot that detects obstacles.
- Work Automation Project Ideas
- A script to automate data entry.
- A tool to scrape data from the web.
Frequently asked questions about the Python programming language
Is Python difficult to learn
Python, like any digital skill, has its own learning curve, especially for people who are completely new to the programming field. However, just as I mentioned at the beginning of this article when you take Python relative to other programming languages, it is one of the easiest to learn and very beginner-friendly.
Also, most people who find it challenging to learn are usually approaching it the wrong way. Therefore, if you follow the guide I have presented to you in this article. You are surely going to find it easy.
Can I learn Python for free
A big yes to this. You can surely learn every aspect of python programming for free. There is a tonne of free tutorials and resources on python available out there. There are however some disadvantages though.
One key disadvantage of relying solely on free resources is that you would have to go through a lot of resources and spend a chunk of your time doing research on what resources to use. On the other hand, paid courses usually come in well packaged with access to the relevant resources you require to complete the course.
Can I learn Python without a computer?
Learning Python programming without a computer is totally possible in this day and age. However, it is not something I recommend. There are some online platforms like w3 schools that allow you to learn and practice python in a web browser or even their mobile apps.
You may be interested in this article as well if you asked yourself this question:
Can I learn python if I have no coding experience?
Absolutely! You don’t require any previous experience in order to learn the python programming language. All you have to do if you don’t have any previous experience is to follow the guide as I have described in this article.
How long will it take me to learn python?
I wish I could quote that magic number of hours, days, or months for you but unfortunately, there isn’t a magic number. How long it takes you to learn python programming language will actually depend on you and factors like:
- How much time do you allocate to learning the language
- What resources do you have at your disposal
- What do you intend to use your knowledge for
How can I learn python faster?
Are you looking for the secret? The sad thing is that there really isn’t a secret that will help you learn Python faster. However, there are some general principles that can guide you to speed up the way you learn the language if you abide by them.
I have explained the principles in a previous article that I published, so you can check it out here.
Is python a good language to learn?
Oh yes! Python is a really good language to learn and according to the statistics which I made reference to earlier, it was the third most learned language by developers in the year 2021. Also, it all bores down to exactly what you want to be using python for.
The python language can be used in different fields as I have already discussed. Hence, if the field that you want to apply your knowledge to, doesn’t fall within these fields then Python wouldn’t be a good language to learn.
Can I learn python if I don’t know mathematics?
Yes! Learning python technically has nothing to do with your knowledge of mathematics. Programming, in general, requires you to or to put it nicely, helps you acquire problem-solving skills.
\There are some fields like data science where your knowledge in mathematics may be required. Hence, you don’t necessarily need Mathematics to learn Python if you intend to apply your knowledge in a field like Web Development that doesn’t require mathematics.