How to start learning Python?

 

“A lot of it comes down to the fact that it’s (Python) an incredibly versatile language. It’s escaped the track of being just front end or back end.” ~ Stephen O’Grady, industry analyst with RedMonk, at the GitHub Universe conference. 

 

Python has been adjudged the programming language of 2018 by TIOBE and with good reason. With hundreds of success stories to its credit there couldn’t be a better time to dive into the realm of this language. Top companies like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup are teaching investment bankers to code to keep up with technology needs in the banking industry.

Python is seriously entrenched in our everyday lives and sometimes without us little realizing it.

 

  • How do you read/listen to News? Alexa or Siri or Google Assistant?
  • Need to book your calendar for a meeting and send meeting invites? Alexa can do a pretty good job at that.
  • Sending emails when your doorbell rings or just automating simple stuff?
  • Travelling by Uber this evening after work? Meeting up friends? Did you check Maps to see how much time it will actually take you to reach there? (any one from Bangalore here, can you relate?)
  • How many times has Facebook instantly recognized that friend of yours in the pic you just uploaded or are you more of an Instagram person? Pinterest anyone or Youtube?

 

All of these applications use Python algorithms and have made our life so much simpler (Social media has pros and cons.. lets keep that debate for another day.)

You could read my earlier post for an elaborate idea on the why part  :

Top 9 Reasons to learn Python to become Data Scientist & AI Expert

Now coming to the How part.

I read an article recently on the 5hr rule followed by the most successful people across the globe. Without delving into the details the crux of it was..

  • Read
  • Reflect
  • Experiment

Then again, the above three stand true for each and every learning.

  • Fix your end goal

What is it that you want to create with Python? Fix your end goal in mind.

Learn about the language. Read…read and read.

Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, says that “reading can give you a good head start; this is often what your peers cannot obtain. Compared to others, readers are more likely to know other industries’ strategies and tactics.”

Refer to The Python Package Index (PyPI) (repository of software for the Python programming language) to understand which packages would be needed to reach your goal. Try to find out which IDEs and text editors which aretailored to make Python editing easy, browse the list of introductory books, or look at code samples that you might find helpful.

 

  • Sit down and start coding everyday

Did I just remind you of good old school days asking you to study everyday? On a serious note, on the Python software foundation website [independent non-profit organization that holds the copyright on Python versions 2.1 and newer] you can find an online interactive interpreter that allows you to write some code. Immerse yourself completely. Even if it is for 45 minutes everyday. The thing I liked a lot about this language is that all the programming environments in Python offer syntax highlighting, auto indenting. Once you get the hang of the syntax it should not be too difficult from there even for a non coder.

 

  • Understand Functions, Strings, Data structures & Errors

Just like other programming languages Python has a lot of built in functions (you can even create your own) which you can use along with loops, if statements, for statements to write your code. Try and get an idea of each of these concepts and take it all in.

Understand the different data types, how strings work, how to bundle your data and functions together or more specifically creating classes.

 

#A beginner tip: Strings can be enclosed in single quotes (‘….’) or double quotes (“….”) with the same result. You can concatenate Strings with the + operator and repeat with *

Errors can crop up any time, be it syntaxial ones or the ones which Python cannot handle sometimes but learning to handle errors or exceptions makes your code robust and protects against failures. Exceptions are built in and can provide a helpful description of what went wrong as well as a traceback.

Ofcourse once you are an expert you can write your own Scripts outside of the editor using modules.

  • Pick up some interesting projects

Initially start with an instructive project till you are confident to pick up an unfamiliar one.Just like Java, Python also has a large standard library where you can pick up assignments at the onset of the course even. You get a feel of working on realistic applications even while learning the fundamentals of programming. You could learn about code reuse as well when using the library. Third-party modules such as PyGame are also helpful in expanding your horizons. This is the approach we take at Ivy Professional School where we believe in making students industry ready with live project based training.

  • Build something

You can only learn Python if you create something on our own. Get stuck, experiment, get up again.Fancy a custom database, or a specialized GUI application, or a simple game or even your own website?  Since Python is an interpreted language; a lot of time can be saved during program development because no compilation and linking is necessary. The interpreter can be used interactively, making it easy to experiment with features of the language, to write throw-away programs, or even to test functions during bottom-up program development. You could use it also as a handy desk calculator.

  • Keep at it

Most important of all Staying Motivated can be a challenge. The feeling of accomplishing something is crucial. You can learn from the various online resources available. But even for professional programmers it might get difficult at times to locate that perfect project or test out the acquired skills without a proper guidance. To gather a deep understanding of the concepts you need proper mentoring, learning from the industry experts and doing live industry projects.

You can take up either Machine Learning with Python Certification or take up the unique Data Science and Machine Learning Certification for a more comprehensive understanding of Data Science concepts including Python.

Ivy Professional School is ranked in the top 10 institutes for Big Data and Analytics schools in the country (Analytics India magazine, 2014 ranking). We are the official training partners of companies like Cap Gemini, Genpact, HSBC, Cognizant, eBay/Paypal etc and more than 60 Analytics companies recruit from us. Our prized faculty are associated with esteemed organizations like ISI, IIM’s IIT and US universities.

 

Shromona Kahali – Content Strategist, Ivy Pro School

 

REFERENCES :

  • https://www.python.org
  • https://www.python.org/psf-landing/
  • https://www.businessinsider.com/the-10-most-popular-programming-languages-according-to-github-2018-10
  • http://fortune.com/2019/02/18/facebook-yann-lecun-lawnmowers-deep-learning/
  • https://www.datacamp.com/community/tutorials/exception-handling-python

 

 

 

 

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