Python is a widely-used programming language that professionals in the coding world use in web development, app development, AI programming, data science, and game development.
In this guide, you’ll discover the steps to take when learning Python. It can get tough along the way, but you’ll eventually become a Python superstar if you stick with it. And you can transfer what you’ve learned to others, even your kids.
Step 1: Find Your Motivation for Learning Python
Learning Python is not just about how you’ll learn it but why you are learning it. Knowing why you want or need to write Python code will serve as your motivation when the road gets rough. It could be that you want to learn Python so you can help your child program a robot with Raspberry Pi or build a game with Pygame. You might also like to learn Python because you want to automate a tedious, monotonous task at work, build dynamic websites, or shift your career into data science.
Your reason for learning Python will also allow you to keep track of where you are in your journey. It’ll give you direction and a sense of progression and alleviate boredom. Your reason doesn’t have to be super specific, either. Even a general idea is good enough.
Step 2: Choose Your Python IDE
Sure, you can write Python programs in a standard text editor like Notepad on a PC or TextEdit on a Mac, but that is not recommended. It’s better to use an integrated development environment (IDE). An IDE is a computer program that, well, helps you write computer programs. It contains all the tools and features you need in a convenient location, coupled with an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI).
An IDE will usually come with the following tools and features that will help you when writing Python code:
- Text editor: An IDE’s built-in text editor will let you write and edit Python code.
- Syntax highlighting: Every programming language has syntax, a set of rules that define the structure of your code so the computer can read it. Syntax includes words, characters, and symbols, and the IDE highlights them to help you maintain the appropriate structure and avoid errors.
- Code completion: Code completion is when an IDE intelligently suggests how to complete a particular code component. This component can be a variable, class, method, function, and keyword. All these code components will become familiar once you learn the basics of Python. But for now, know that code completion speeds up the pace at which you write code.
- Debugger: A debugger is a tool that helps analyze code to identify errors. For example, programmers use this tool to halt the execution of a program to examine variables in specific lines of code.
- Compiler: A computer cannot understand the Python code you write. It only understands machine or binary code, which is a series of 1s and 0s. A compiler takes the human-readable Python code and translates it into machine-readable binary code.
- Plugins: An IDE allows you to install plugins that extend its functionality by adding more development tools.
Now that you know what an IDE is and its benefits, you need to know which one to pick. Not every IDE is suitable for Python. However, there are few that the Python community like to use, which are:
- Komodo IDE: Komodo IDE is one of the most comprehensive Python integrated development environments, allowing you to write efficient code. Furthermore, it is entirely free.
- Kite: While most code editors will enable you to complete a single line of code, Kite can complete multiple lines at once. This feature makes it suitable for writing Python code fast. Kite is also a free IDE.
- PyCharm: Besides helping you write good Python code, PyCharm also comes with tools specifically designed to help you develop your own plugins. The IDE has both free and paid versions.
Step 3: Learn the Basics of Python
Now it’s time to learn basic Python coding. This part of your learning journey is crucial but can be a bit of a slog. Try and get through it as quickly as possible while understanding the basic concepts and syntax. The interesting stuff is not far off. After all, you learn the most when using Python to solve exciting challenges.
Here are a couple of resources you can use to learn Python for beginners:
- The Python Tutorial (Official Docs): This is the official Python tutorial, an excellent place to start.
- Google’s Python Class: This free course is offered by the internet giant Google, and it can take you from beginner to advanced. This class teaches you Python in ways that allow you to apply it to modern applications.
- Learn Python the Hard Way: If you’re not afraid to dive deeper into Python’s concepts, then Learn Python the Hard Way is the book for you. The book also has multiple pathways, allowing you to learn what you need to know about Python at different paces. You can grasp the essential concepts of the book in as little as four hours.
Step 4: Do a Couple of Code-Along Projects
After learning the basics of Python, you can move on to learning to build complete projects. Luckily, there are plenty of places online where you can visit to find a Python tutorial for beginners. You can code along and experience the power of the programming language yourself, whether it is a website, app, or game.
Here are several websites where you can find projects to learn to code Python:
- Udemy: If looking for a great Python online course, Udemy is the place to look. It is a massive marketplace where you can learn almost any skill you want through on-demand video. There are plenty of Python courses, ranging from general to specific. So if you wish to build web apps or become a data scientist or something else, Udemy has the Python course for you.
- Career Karma: Want to know how to learn Python by building a variety of simple game projects? Then check out this list of fun Python projects by Career Karma.
- FreeCodeCamp: As you can tell from the name, this website aims to teach you coding for free. You can even get certifications recognized by Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Be sure to check out the YouTube channel as well if you’re more of a visual learner.
- Codecademy: Codecademy has several Python courses and tutorials that teach you to build exciting applications. And they’re beginner-friendly. Some are free, and some you’ll have to pay for.
Steps 5: Work on Projects
Getting better at Python means practicing every day. And what better way is there to do it than through self-directed projects? It is an excellent time to work on something you want instead of just coding along to an online tutorial. It might seem scary at first to fly solo without an instructor holding your hand. However, it is one of the best ways to gain confidence in your abilities as a programmer.
If you don’t have any ideas of your own, you can go back to the code-along projects and add some features. You can also search on Github for any open source projects that need contributors. Or find a Python meetup in your local area to build applications with others. Also, check out this list of Python projects if you want to see more stuff to work on.
Eventually, you’re bound to run into problems along the way, so be sure to keep the Python documentation on hand as a reference. If you can’t resolve your issue through the documentation, there’s no problem seeking help elsewhere. You can search for a solution on Google. Another place where almost every programmer goes to get help these days when stuck is StackOverflow.
Full Steam Ahead!
Now that you know how to learn Python for beginners, you’re in an excellent position to start your journey. Focus on learning what you need so that you can get to coding the interesting stuff faster. No one can learn everything about Python, and the language keeps evolving. But no matter what you’re learning Python for, it is a fun and rewarding programming language. And this guide will help you know how to become a python expert.
About BYJU’S FutureSchool
BYJU’S FutureSchool is an online learning platform for kids and teenagers. It includes courses where children can learn Python in a fun and interactive environment. Your child will learn the basics of Python while building real-world applications and games. Through BYJU’S FutureSchool, they get individual attention to maximize learning, allowing them to become the next generation of highly-skilled coders.