How to Start Learning Python

Python is a great language for beginners and experienced developers alike. Learn the basics and get started on your journey.

Published Categorized as Web & Code

Python is a powerful programming language with many uses, from building machine learning models to analyzing datasets to building backend logic for web applications.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re interested in learning it, but you’re not sure where to start. Python is a great language for beginners and experienced developers alike, with a simple syntax, a large and active community, and a wealth of libraries and frameworks to make development faster and easier.

In this post, we’ll go over the basics of Python and give you some tips on how to get started learning it. Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some programming experience, we hope you find this post helpful as you embark on your Python learning journey.

Let’s not waste any more time and help you get started!

Where to Get Started Learning Python

Install a Python interpreter: Python is a scripted language — it’s interpreted at runtime instead of being compiled. This means that to start using it Python your computer, you’ll need to install an interpreter.

The good news is that this is easy to do. You just have to download the latest version of Python for your operating system from python.org.

Learn the basics: Once you have the Python interpreter installed, it’s a good idea to start by learning the basics of the language. Don’t worry, we won’t leave you hanging and go over them below.

You can find a lot of resources online for learning Python, including tutorials, documentation, and online courses. Some good places to start are the official Python documentation and the Python tutorial on the official Python website.

Practice: The best way to learn any programming language is to practice writing code. And to keep writing, it’s important to adopt the right mindset. In your first few weeks or months of learning, your job is to learn by getting things wrong, then keep figuring out how to do them the right way.

As you work through the tutorials and documentation, try to write some simple programs of your own to get a feel for how the language works. Don’t expect everything to work from the first, or even twelveth, try. Keep breaking things and learning the language.

You can also try working on some small projects or exercises to apply what you’ve learned and to continue learning new concepts.

Get help: The Internet is a big place, and help from more experienced coders is available everywhere. If you get stuck or have questions while you’re learning Python, don’t be afraid to ask for it.

There are many online communities and forums where you can get help from other Python users, including Stack Overflow and the Python subreddit.

The Basics of Python

To learn Python, you really need to master a few basic concepts. This includes the Python language’s syntax, the notion of control structures, how to use operators, and how to store values in variables with given data types.

If this sounds overwhelming to you, don’t worry. We’ve given a beginner’s overview of each of these below. Read on, and it will all make sense!

Syntax

Like every other programming language, Python has a specific set of rules for how code should be written and formatted. To master Python, start with its syntax.

This includes writing statements, using whitespace, and adding comments to your code. It’s important to familiarize yourself with Python’s syntax so you write code that doesn’t throw errors and that’s easy to debug.

When it comes to Python’s syntax, there are a few things you should know:

  • Indentation: Python uses indentation to denote blocks of code. For example, the code within an if statement or a for loop is indented to show that it’s part of the block. It’s a must to use consistent indentation, as the meaning of the code can change depending on the indentation level.
  • Statements: A statement is a line of code that performs a specific action or task. In Python, statements are typically terminated with a newline character. However, you can also use the semicolon (;) to put multiple statements on a single line.
  • Comments: Comments are lines of code that are ignored by the Python interpreter. You can use comments to add notes or explanations to your code. In Python, comments start with the pound sign (#).
  • Whitespace: Python uses whitespace (spaces and tabs) to structure code. For example, you might use whitespace to indent the code within a block or to align items within a list. It’s very important to use consistent whitespace in your Python code to make it easy to skim through and debug.
  • Quotations: In Python, you can use either single quotations (') or double quotations (") to denote strings. You can use triple quotations (''' or """) to create multi-line strings.

These are just a few of the key points to keep in mind when it comes to Python syntax. As you continue learning Python, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the specific syntax rules and conventions of the language.

Control Structures

Python has several control structures that you can use to control the flow of your program. Control structures are how you separate one block or code for another, and how you determine where the logic starts and ends.

These include if statements, for loops, and while loops.

  • IF statements: An if statement is used to execute a block of code if a certain condition is met. For example, you might use an if statement to check whether a number is positive or negative, and then execute different code depending on the result of the check.
  • FOR loops: A for loop is used to iterate over a sequence of values, such as a list or a string. For each value in the sequence, the code in the loop will be executed.
  • WHILE loops: A while loop is used to execute a block of code repeatedly as long as a certain condition is met. The code in the loop will continue to be executed until the condition becomes False.

These are the most common control structures in Python, but there are a few others as well, such as the break and continue statements, which can be used to control the flow of execution within a loop.

Operators

Python has a variety of operators that you can use to perform operations on values and variables. These include arithmetic operators (like + and -), comparison operators (like == and !=), and logical operators (like and and or).

Here is a list of some of the most common operators in Python:

  • Arithmetic operators: These operators are used to perform basic arithmetic operations, such as addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (*), and division (/).
  • Assignment operators: These operators are used to assign a value to a variable. The most common assignment operator is the equal sign (=), which is used to assign a value to a variable.
  • Comparison operators: These operators are used to compare two values and return a boolean value (True or False) based on the comparison. Some common comparison operators in Python include equal to (==), not equal to (!=), greater than (>), and less than (<).
  • Logical operators: These operators are used to perform logical operations, such as and, or, and not.
  • Membership operators: These operators are used to test whether a value is a member of a sequence (such as a list or a string). The two membership operators in Python are in and not in.
  • Identity operators: These operators are used to test whether two values are the same object in memory. The two identity operators in Python are is and is not.

These are just a few of the most common operators in Python. There are several other operators available in the language as well, such as bitwise operators and operator precedence. As you continue learning Python, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about these and other operators.

Data Types

Python has several built-in data types that you can use to store different kinds of values. Here is a list of the most common data types in Python to help get you started:

  • Integers: Integers are whole numbers, such as 1, 2, and -5. In Python, you can use the int data type to store integers.
  • Floats: Floats are decimal numbers, such as 3.14 or -0.01. In Python, you can use the float data type to store floats.
  • Strings: Strings are sequences of characters, such as “hello” or “goodbye”. In Python, you can use the str data type to store strings.
  • Booleans: Booleans represent True or False values. In Python, you can use the bool data type to store booleans.
  • Lists: Lists are ordered collections of values that can be of any data type. In Python, you can use the list data type to store lists.
  • Tuples: Tuples are ordered collections of values that can be of any data type. Like lists, tuples can contain multiple values, but they are immutable, meaning that you cannot change the values of the elements in a tuple once it has been created. In Python, you can use the tuple data type to store tuples.
  • Sets: Sets are unordered collections of unique values that can be of any data type. In Python, you can use the set data type to store sets.
  • Dictionaries: Dictionaries are unordered collections of key-value pairs. In Python, you can use the dict data type to store dictionaries.

These are the most common data types in Python, but there are a few other data types that you might encounter as well, such as complex for storing complex numbers and bytes for storing raw binary data.

Variables

In Python, you can store values in variables. A variable is basically a reserved location in the system’s memory for storing a value as a given data type. You can then use the variable to refer to the value later in your code.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when working with variables in Python:

  • Naming conventions: In Python, variable names can contain letters, digits, and underscores (_). Variable names must start with a letter or an underscore, and they are case-sensitive (so x and X are considered to be different variables). It’s a good idea to use descriptive and meaningful names for your variables, and to follow the standard Python naming conventions, which recommend using all lowercase letters and separating words with underscores.
  • Assignment: To create a variable and assign it a value, you can use the assignment operator (=). For example, to create a variable x and assign it the value 5, you would write x = 5. You can also assign multiple variables at once using a single assignment statement. Say, x, y, z = 1, 2, 3 would create three variables and assign them the values 1, 2, and 3, respectively.
  • Data types: In Python, variables can hold values of different data types, such as integers, floats, strings, and so on. The type of a variable is determined by the value that it is assigned. For example, if you assign an integer to a variable, it will be an int type. If you assign a string, it will be a str type.
  • Scope: In Python, the scope of a variable refers to the part of the program where the variable is visible and can be used. There are two types of scope in Python: global and local. A global variable is one that is defined outside of any function or block of code, and it is visible and can be used throughout the entire program. A local variable is one that is defined within a function or block of code, and it is only visible and can be used within that function or block.

These are just a few things to keep in mind when working with variables in Python. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn more about how to use variables and how they work in different contexts as you learn.

Image courtesy of Olga Yastremska and Leonid Yastremskiy /Depositphotos

By Dim Nikov

Content creator with marketing and web development skills to pay the bills.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *