Tech 101: What is Python? Plus, 13 Reasons Why You Should Learn It
Meet Python, the “cool kid” of coding languages.
That’s where things can get tricky because there are SO MANY coding languages out there. How can you know which ones are worth learning? No, it’s not time to pick a name out of a hat—it’s about figuring out which programming language will give you the highest return on investment.
And that brings us to learning Python. We’ve put together this guide on Python that starts from the very beginning, then deep dives into 13 reasons why you should consider adding it to your skill list. Knowledge is power, right?
Table of Contents
What is Python?—A Basic Definition
Python can be used for things like:
- Back end (or server-side) web and mobile app development
- Desktop app and software development
- Processing big data and performing mathematical computations
- Writing system scripts (creating instructions that tell a computer system to “do” something)
But don’t let Python’s broad range scare you. Just like those more familiar-sounding languages, Python is an easy to learn, in-demand programming language that can exponentially increase your chances of getting hired and income in a matter of months.
Who is Python Good For?
Python is a rising star in the programming world for two main reasons: the big range of tasks it can handle, combined with the fact that it’s actually a very beginner-friendly language. Python code syntax uses English keywords, and that makes it easy for anyone to understand and get started with the language. For example, take a look at the code you’d use to print the text “Hello World” on your screen using the programming language Java:
That’s a lot of code for such a simple function.
Now take a look at the same exercise written in Python code:
No question which one you’d rather work with, right? Still, as simple as Python’s syntax looks, it’s used for projects as complicated sounding as artificial intelligence and machine learning. That means Python is a great fit for a wide range of users, including:
- Beginning coders
- Web and mobile app developers
- Software engineers
- Data Scientists
- AND anyone else working with or learning about computer programming!
But what does that mean to you? Funny you should ask, because we’ve put together 13 reasons why YOU should consider learning and using Python, ASAP.
13 Reasons YOU Should Learn Python
1. There Are Lots of Python Jobs
As of this writing, Indeed.com lists almost 69,000 Python-related job openings. Because Python programming can be used in so many ways, there are Python jobs to fit every level of experience and employment interest—including quality assurance engineer roles, entry-level software engineer positions, and high-level jobs like machine learning and artificial intelligence engineers.
2. And Python Means a Pretty Great Salary
Oh, and did we mention that Python will get you PAID? Per Indeed, here’s how some of the average salaries look by position:
- Entry Level Software Developer: $52,491
- Quality Assurance Engineer: $61,459
- Junior Python Developer: $80,994
- Senior Python Developer: $117,822
- Machine Learning Engineer: $141,029
With salaries like that (especially that $80k for a junior Python developer), we should all be learning Python right about now. I mean, right?
3. Startups Love Python
Startup companies need to run lean to survive, and that means when they are building their digital products (whether those are websites, mobile apps, or software programs) those products need to be completed under budget and ahead of schedule. Because of its ability to help deliver on both these goals, Python is a favored programming language in the startup world.
Python’s efficiency and ease of use mean less development time, a streamlined QA and debugging process, and an overall greater return on investment than harder to navigate coding alternatives. Startups are a great place to land a first job and start gaining industry experience, and knowing your way around Python will make you that much more of an attractive hire.
4. Python Doesn’t Take Long to Learn
For as powerful and versatile a language as Python is, you might think it takes years to learn Python. Not so! Industry professionals say that Python basics (things like Python’s syntax, keywords, and data types) can be learned in as little as 6-8 weeks if you have previous experience with coding languages.
5. You Can Learn Python Basics For Free
In the “too good to be true (but it is!)” department, the Python Software Foundation hosts a free Python tutorial on their official website. This free resource is an extensive Python tutorial for beginners, including material tailored specifically to users with no programming experience, and material for beginners with some Python programming experience.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for even MORE free beginner’s resources to learn Python, sites like learnpython.org and python-guide.org have additional tutorials. Easy to learn AND you can get started learning for free? I think you’ll agree, it’s time to sign up.
6. Python Has a Supportive User Community
Python is an open-source coding language, meaning it’s free to use and anyone can modify or create extensions for the Python language. Being open-source is what allows languages to have libraries, frameworks, and other tools that keep the Python language relevant and adaptable over time. But open-source only lives up to its potential if there’s a supportive community of users engaged with the language.
The Python Software Foundation has a dedicated community page on their site linking to several community groups and forums where you can find fellow Python enthusiasts for advice, mentorship, inspiration, or just to chat about the greatness of Python. What are you waiting for? There’s room for at least one more on the Python bandwagon!
7. Python is the Popular Kid
Does it matter if a programming language is popular? Yes, it kind of does. If the world’s best coding language has no users, it’s sort of like that proverbial tree that falls in the forest—it doesn’t matter because no one’s using it. And the last thing you want to do is invest money and time in learning a language that isn’t widely used enough to land a job.
8. Python is VERSATILE (and Versatility as a Developer is a Good Thing)
Being general-purpose means the Python language can do a lot…which is why heavy tech hitters like Google, Facebook, and Instagram all use Python programming to build parts of their tech stacks. But Python code can also be used to build basic programs like virtual magic 8-balls and dice rollers (and projects at all points in between).
Python’s versatility means that, as a developer, you’ll have an incredibly wide range of work options. Whether you want to go work for a tech giant, build your own smaller scale software programs, or work as a full stack web developer, Python programming is a skill that makes any of these options possible.
9. Python Means the Front and Back Ends of Your Projects Will Work Better Together
You can make an entire career as a front end web developer, but there’s more to tech than just front end. There’s also the back end (the server-side or “under the hood” parts of websites and mobile apps) made up of databases and web servers that power websites and apps.
When the Python Foundation talks about using Python as a “glue language” for websites and mobile apps, they’re talking about using it to script back end actions, allowing the front and back ends of your digital product to work in harmony. If you’re looking to add server-side or back end skills to your front end repertoire (and move closer to an all-inclusive full stack developer skillset), learning Python is a perfect way to get started.
10. You Can Use Python “Out of the Box”
Programming with some languages can become tedious and unwieldy… But not Python!
Python comes with a robust standard library right out of the box (sans frameworks or other add-ons), making for a more efficient coding process. Python’s standard library also supplies developers with pre-packaged “modules” (files made up of Python code) that let developers skip the process of coding these functions themselves—saving time and making their code more uniformly arranged.
And then there’s the fact that Python code was created with a specific emphasis on code readability, so the language focuses on English keywords instead of symbols and punctuation. This means it’s easier as a developer to scan through code and to maintain and update software, websites, and mobile apps.
11. Then There are the Add-Ons for Whatever You Need
Popular Python frameworks like Django are designed to make Python more effective at creating web applications, while PyQt is a framework that allows Python to build Graphic User Interfaces (GUIs)—user interfaces that involve the use of on-screen icons and graphics to process user commands.
12. Python Automates All the Boring Stuff
One of the hardest parts of working in tech (regardless of your role) is managing all those repetitive, time consuming, tech-related tasks. Little things like copying files, dragging folders around and renaming them, uploading assets to servers—this all adds up to a LOT of time in the long run.
Automation is another area where it pays to learn Python. Python’s ability to write system scripts means you can create simple Python programs to automate mindless tasks that eat away at your productivity. The time you’ll save by knowing how to automate processes with Python is a huge selling point for learning the language.
13. Python Gives You the Tools to Work ANYWHERE in Tech
Learning Python code does more than future-proof you for internet development—it will prepare you for the future of tech jobs, PERIOD.
Why? Because Python is used for more than “just” traditional development. In fact, Python is a top language for emerging data science fields, including:
But how does this help you? It keeps your options open. Data science is yet another tech possibility that opens up if you decide to learn Python.
If you ARE interested in learning more about one of the most versatile programming languages out there, start with the Python Software Foundation’s tutorial. And keep an eye out for our own Skillcrush Python Course launching this Fall! Our instructor-led, online class will pick up where the tutorials leave off and teach you everything you need to know to land a Python-related job.