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What is Python and what is it for? Beginner’s guide

Today, knowing what Python is is essential in the Information Technology market. If you feel like diving into this programming language, you have come to the right place!

Python is a programming language used by tech giants around the world, such as Google, Amazon, and NASA. It is also used in today’s most innovative projects, such as artificial intelligence and data science.

And, although it is one of the most powerful languages for application development, it is still open, simple and easy to learn.

So, if you are starting to program or want to enter this world, Python can be your gateway. Join us to learn everything about this language.

What is Python and what is it for?

Python is an extremely simple and versatile open source programming language. This language works with different paradigms and offers a vast library with functions and classes, which help to structure good code.

Many developers consider it the best programming language. Not in vain is it one of the most used today, both in small and medium-sized companies and in market giants, for example Google, Amazon, NASA, Facebook, Microsoft and Globo. It can be used in various areas, from web programming to the most advanced scientific computing, machine learning and blockchain technologies.

But Python is not just a web development technology. The language is based on a programming philosophy, encompassing principles such as simplicity, logic, readability, transparency, and practicality. One of Python’s commandments is this: if the implementation is difficult to explain, then it is a bad idea.

Because it is geared towards simplicity, Python has a lower learning curve than other programming languages, making it a good choice for beginning programmers.

What is the origin of Python?

Those who think that Python is a recent language in the world of Information Technology, are wrong. In 1989, the Dutch mathematician and programmer, Guido van Rossum, was looking for a hobby to entertain himself on Christmas week.

At that time, he ended up developing a system to improve other programming software used at the institution where he worked, the Centrum Wiskunde & Informática (CWI), in the Netherlands. This system he called Python, as it was inspired by the humor of the group of comedians Monty Python.

In the following years, he refined the language and launched a project funding initiative, called Computer Programming for Everybody. His goal was to create an easy, intuitive, open source language, close to English, so that anyone could develop their applications with it.

In 2001, Python was officially released and it soon became a popular programming language. Post-launch, Guido received awards, worked at Google, Dropbox, and continued to lead the Python community around the world.

What can be done in Python?

Python is a very versatile programming language, so it can be used in different applications, from the most basic to the advanced, as well as in small and large projects.

Python is mostly used in web programming. Websites, mobile applications, algorithms, games, 3D graphics and other web applications can be built.

It is also frequently used in the field of data science. The language allows, for example, to process large databases due to the infinity of libraries and patterns oriented to numerical calculations and statistical analysis.

This power of data handling and processing makes Python excel also in the area of ​​artificial intelligence (AI) and its subareas, such as machine learning and deep learning.

In addition, you can identify patterns, cross data and automate actions, such as performing predictive models of technical analysis for the financial market or even improving SEO strategies.

Apart from the default library, there are additional extensions that allow you to develop all kinds of applications. Module libraries, which have specific functions, extend the power of the language. Django (agile web development), ZODB (database management) and Pygame (game development) are some of them.

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Why learn Python?

You must have already realized that Python is one of the simplest and easiest programming languages ​​to learn. Those principles were part of the language since its inception and have been maintained throughout the years, which has generated a large community of developers of this language.

Therefore, learning about Python and how to use it is a great gateway to the universe of web development. Even if you’ve never programmed before, you can learn quickly and have a variety of community-created documentation.

But the importance of learning Python does not only lie in its ease. And it is that thanks to this language you can develop an infinity of applications, which facilitates the insertion in the labor market, in which there are several vacancies for Python developers.

In addition, it is a language with great potential for the future, since it is capable of processing large amounts of data. For this reason, it is used in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, and neural networks, for example. That is, you are going to prepare not only for the current market, but also for the future.

Python advantages and disadvantages

Python is one of the most widely used languages ​​and one of the most promising. However, despite its success, some factors can work against it. Next, we will specify the main advantages and disadvantages of Python so that you can decide if it is worth learning about this programming language.

What are the advantages of using Python?

Python has many advantages, especially for someone new to programming.

We show you its main advantages:

  • High-level, robust language that lets you do more with less.
  • Versatile (can be used in various web, desktop, mobile and gaming applications).
  • Multiplatform, it works on any system (Windows, Linux, Mac).
  • Simple syntax (allows writing the same requirement in fewer lines of code).
  • Interoperability with other programming languages.
  • Variety of libraries, modules and frameworks.
  • Learning curve less than that of other languages.
  • Open source (accessible to anyone).
  • Global community (constantly evolving).
  • Abundant documentation (clarify doubts at any time on the Internet).
  • Job opportunity (good market prospects).

What are the disadvantages of using Python?

Such a simple language, but at the same time so powerful, could it have any disadvantages? In some cases, yes.

In some applications, Python can be slow. It is an interpreted language, which means that an interpreter is needed to run programs, so it is generally slower than compiled languages.

In addition, some developers criticize Python in the aspect of creating mobile applications, as it is not that efficient, so it must be combined with other languages ​​to solve the problems.

The great ease with which Python is learned can also be seen as a disadvantage. Some professionals start programming without thinking about which problems to solve, which makes projects more fragile and prone to errors.

Due to the ease of application, professionals can also skip stages in learning to code and fail to strengthen some concepts during their training, which can become a problem when faced with more complex projects.

What does a Python developer do?

The person who works with Python becomes a Python developer. This professional knows the programming language well and develops the most varied applications, so they can specialize in some area, such as web programming or artificial intelligence.

But what does this professional do on a daily basis? Let’s now see how the Python developer works so that you know the profession better. These are some of the activities that he performs:

  • Analyze and structure the databases.
  • Code the systems in Python.
  • Maintains systems and possible corrections.
  • Build, debug, and test systems.

In addition to these technical activities, the Python developer can also participate in management and monitoring tasks. Especially in higher positions, this professional also:

  • Apply software development methodologies (such as Scrum and Kanban).
  • Manage development projects.
  • Lead development teams.

Python Developer Vacancies: What is the job market like in the area?

If you want to learn Python, you should know that you will enter a promising and valued market. Python is one of the most widely used programming languages ​​by companies of different sizes and segments, as well as being a favorite of developers. In recent years, it has had great growth and continues to rise.

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In fact, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, many companies began to adopt the telecommuting system.

This system facilitated the hiring of developers who did not live near the headquarters of large companies. In other words, it became even easier for companies to recruit developers.

Now, who hires the developers? In general, these opportunities are within companies that have an outstanding Information Technology area, in startups or technology companies. You can choose between several options:

  • Game developers.
  • Web developers and frameworks.
  • Big data.
  • Web testing.
  • AI and Machine learning.
  • Data science
  • Internet of things.

Salaries are also interesting and close to the average for a software developer career. The Glassdoor website reports that the national median salary for a Python developer is about $ 716 per month. You should also consider that there are differences between the regions of the country and the levels of the positions (junior, semi-senior and senior).

Many times companies notice a lack of qualification in the professionals of the area, since many people enter the wave of popularity of Python without adequate training for their performance. So, the person who wants to excel in the job market needs to seek knowledge, create projects, build their portfolio and constantly train.

What are the basic Python commands?

Python is a programming language, which means that there are rules that determine how words are placed and how words send instructions for the computer to perform tasks. When you write the source code for an application, you are sending those instructions.

When you program in Python, you use a few lines of code to create numerous functionalities. Python is believed to use 3-5 times less code than Java and 5-10 times less than C ++.

To better understand how simple Python is and begin to familiarize yourself with the code, take a look at the following example of how the text “Hello, world!” it is written in different languages.

In Python:

in python 2

 

 

In Java:

in java 3

 

 

 

In C:

in c 4

 

 

 

 

It can be noticed that in the Python example the print () function was used, which is one of the main commands of the language. This is used to command the computer to display some message on the screen. Just put the phrase in parentheses and in quotation marks and Python tries to display it in the program. There are other commands, such as:

  • input – It is used to receive the data that the user provides through the keyboard.
  • if – Used to create conditional commands.
  • while – Used to repeat blocks of code until a condition is met.

Therefore, to program in Python you need to know the basic commands of the language. In this way, you will start to build your lines of code according to the Python rules.

Python Versions: What is Python 1, Python 2, and Python 3?

This is a very common question: which version of Python is better?

To answer that question, we will explain what the differences are between them. These are the main versions of Python so far:

  • Version 1.0 (released January 1994).
  • Version 2.0 (released October 2000).
  • Version 3.0 (Released December 2008).

The most recent version is Python 3.8.5. Between each major update, there are a number of improvements, with new functionality, new libraries, and bug fixes. For this reason, it is important to keep track of updates.

The most recent version is indeed the most advanced. It came to improve and correct the problems of the previous version. So, in new projects and for beginning developers, Python 3 is preferably recommended.

However, most of the applications were developed in Python 2, which is not compatible with the latest version. That is, what you program in 2.0 may not run in 3.0.

In general, it is recommended to migrate to the latest version. However, this migration can lead to technical problems and be unfeasible in some cases. So maybe the programmer even needs to work on the second version. Therefore, it is also important to know the previous versions, in case you need to deal with previously developed projects.

What is IDE?

IDE is an integrated development environment for Python programs. IDE comes from the English Integrated Development Environment.

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You could use any word processor to program in Python and save the file in the .py extension. However, common word processors do not offer many resources for developing Python programs. That is why IDEs exist, which provide more resources for this programming language and make life easier for the programmer.

Best IDEs for Python

There is no one IDE better than another. It all depends on the preferences of the programmer or the environment in which they feel most comfortable. So an IDE that is good for you may not be good for another professional.

We have selected a few below:

  • IDLE – This environment comes with the Python for Windows installation, has a simple interface, and is easy to use. Recommended for beginners.
  • VSCode: it is one of the most used development environments in the world, not only for Python. It was developed by Microsoft, is highly customizable, and offers Python support through the Microsoft Python extension.
  • Jupyter: It is one of the IDEs that is recommended to work with large data sets. Jupyter integrations also allow you to create compelling data visualization presentations.
  • Pycharm: it is an IDE dedicated exclusively to Python. Developed by JetBrains, it allows code analysis, debugging, autocompletion, among other resources.
  • Atom: it is an open source editor, very light and with a friendly interface. It has an infinity of extensions and plugins to run analysis and program in Python.

Conclution

Programmers love to develop in Python. Thousands of companies around the world use this programming language. The labor market is open to professionals who program in this language. And, even better: it is a simple and easy to learn language.

So now that you know what Python is and how this programming language works, it’s time to dig deeper and learn how to develop your own code. Take advantage of tips from online courses and books to train yourself and start programming now!

Frequent questions

What is Python?

Python is a simple, cross-platform programming language used to develop applications in various areas, such as web programming, data science, and artificial intelligence. Many developers consider it the best programming language and thousands of companies use it, small or large.

What can be done in Python?

Python is used to build an infinite number of applications. You can develop websites, scripts and plugins for web programs, desktop or mobile programs, data science software, artificial intelligence applications, games and 3D graphics, among other possibilities.

Which Python is better?

Python has already had three versions. You should always give preference to the most recent version (currently 3.8.5), which has improved and corrected the bugs of the previous versions. But there are still many applications developed in version 2.0, which are not compatible with 3.0 and may require the programmer to know how to work with it.

Python is difficult?

Python is probably the programming language with the lowest learning curve. Characterized by logic and simplicity, it always seeks to facilitate the work of the programmer.

Why learn Python?

Python is one of the most used languages ​​by companies today, which opens the doors to programmers in the job market. It also applies to advanced technologies such as AI and data science, which has a promising future for it. In fact, it is easy to learn, even if you don’t know anything about programming.

Where can I learn about Python?

One of the best ways to learn programming is to take short courses. You can find good options at Hotmart, Udacity, and Udemy.