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Python Resources, Tools and Articles to Get You Started

With so many Python resources on the internet, I have compiled a comprehensive, but not exhaustive, list of articles, books and tutorials for all who want to learn.  Python is a high-level programming language that ranks highly in all-time computer programming favourites from year to year. As it’s powerful yet simple to learn it’s common for beginners to start as an entry into learning a programming language. It is easily transferable to others who have experience in other languages such as JavaScript, Java and PHP.

Python Code

Just how popular is Python

According to PYPL PopularitY of Programming, Language Python is currently the 2nd most used programming language using data from Google Trends.

IEEE Spectrum uses 10 sources of information, combining 12 metrics to value Python as the 3rd most popular programming language.

Tiobe Index, updates its database monthly, uses the top 25 search engines and its own conditions to record data that shows Python as the 4th most popular language.

The popularity and therefore job prospects, of programming languages as a whole, are increasing and Python is in the top 5 of these 3 indexes consequently making it more worthwhile to venture into.

Beginner Python Resources

Firstly, to start programming in Python you have to download and install Python for your operating system.  With 2 versions to choose from do you install 2 or 3?  Personally, I would choose the latest version 3.  Due to functions behaving differently Python 2 resources may not work on Python 3. However, I have tried to ensure that all content will be based on Python 3.

Software

Of course, you can use plain old notepad if you wish but this doesn’t really help you understand variables, functions and statements etc. Each Python installation comes with IDLE, a Python shell, which offers syntax highlighting, smart indentation and code completion. If you want to get started on the basics then this may be all you require.

Screenshot of IDLE for Python

Another option is to use an IDE (Integrated Development Environment).  With the community version of PyCharm, you can create projects, import modules and create virtual environments to run your code.

There is plenty of other cross-platform software to choose from:

If you don’t want to use an IDE then Atom and Sublime Text can run python files.

Prefer an online solution?

PythonAnywhere offers a free basic account to access a full environment through your browser without installing any software.  Repl It is an alternative that focuses on multiple programming languages.

Tutorials & Books

A good starting point is the official docs on the main Python website. LearnPython also offers an interactive Python tutorial for learning data science.

If your child wants to learn Python or you want an easy-to-understand way of learning yourself, I would recommend purchasing  Hello World 2nd Edition. Mainly written for version 2 it does highlight all the changes that Python 3 brings in comparison.

When you are more confident with Python speed up your coding with the following MakeUseOf article.

Online Courses

TechRocket has free courses covering the basics aimed at older children and teens. Learn the basics of python in 7 days with Guru99. The BBC website has a comprehensive range of tutorials for teenagers. In comparison, Code.org teaches young beginners and above programming concepts. UC Berkeley offers a range of free handy Python tutorials or a Bootcamp if it is your preferred choice of learning.

Modules & Libraries

Powerful it is but if you want to focus on a specific area, ie. gaming you can install modules. PyPi is a package manager that can help you install such modules.

With plenty of python modules to choose from if you want to develop a game, you can try pygame or Arcade.  Get started with pygame with this handy tutorial

Kivy is an open-source cross-platform development kit to create applications that run on touch devices including iOS and Android.

Reference & Cheatsheets

You can find a wealth of items on the Awesome Python GitHub Repo and here is a handy python cheatsheet.

Conclusion

In conclusion, with so many Python resources available I haven’t even scratched the surface. If you have come across any resources yourself I’ll be happy to extend this list further.

Happy Reading and don’t give up!

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