How to Learn Python in 2022

With each passing year, the Python programming language becomes more and more popular.

According to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey for 2021, Python was the 3rd most popular language, following JavaScript and HTML & CSS.

And this growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, so Python programmers are high in demand.

In this article, you will see why Python is a great first programming language for beginner coders, and you will learn how to get started learning the language.

I’ll share a list of some helpful courses you can take, along with tips on how to get help when you are stuck on a coding problem.

Here is what we will cover in this guide:

  1. What is the Python programming language?
    1. Why learn Python?
    2. Python 2 vs Python 3
    3. How to install Python and set up a development environment
  2. Python courses
    1. Python Project Tutorial – Your First Python Project
    2. Python Tutorial for Beginners
    3. Python for Everybody
    4. Python Game Development Project Using OOP – Minesweeper Tutorial (w/ Tkinter)
    5. Python Backend Web Development Course (with Django)
    6. Intermediate Python Programming Course
    7. Introduction to Python in Spanish
  3. How to Get Help When You Are Stuck

What Is The Python Programming Language?

Python was designed by Guido van Rossum, a Dutch Programmer, and it was first released on the 20th of February in 1991.

The Python Software Foundation, an American non-profit organization, has been responsible for promoting, advancing, and fostering the growth of the language since 2001.

When you think of the word Python, an image of a snake probably comes to mind.

But the name of the Python programming language was inspired by a BBC comedy series called “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”, which was popular in the 1970s.

Python is a general-purpose language, and it is used in many fields in the technology sector.

It is a popular language when working with large amounts of data, so it’s often used for machine learning and data science, as well as data analysis and data processing.

It is also the language of choice for web scraping. Web scraping is an automated technique that extracts, collects, and processes large amounts of raw data from the web.

You can also use Python for web development to create powerful web applications with the help of frameworks such as Django and Flask.

In addition, Python is a popular language for test automation.

Instead of writing all the tests for your programs manually, you can rely on automation tools, Python libraries, and Python scripts to get the job done.

Why Should You Choose to Learn Python?

When you first start learning to code, you may become quickly overwhelmed by the sheer number of programming languages available to learn.

So, why should you choose to learn Python instead of another language?

First of all, all programming languages are tools, and they essentially give instructions – they tell a computer what to do and what tasks it needs to carry out.

They all have certain concepts and paradigms in common, so when you have a good knowledge of one, it is easier to pick up another one later down the line.

That said, there are a few reasons why Python is a great first programming language for code newbies.

First of all, Python is a high-level server-side scripting programming language.

In computing, there are two types of programming languages. There are low-level programming languages and high-level ones.

A high-level programming language means that there is a lot of abstraction and separation between the language and the machine-level instructions of computers which are written in binary. Binary is a numerical system comprised of 1s and 0s.

High-level languages have a syntax that is much easier to read, learn, pick up, and write, as the syntax is human-friendly and resembles the English language.

Python syntax is more concise and less verbose. You can achieve something by writing significantly fewer lines of code.

For example, here is how you write a “Hello World” program in C++:

#include <iostream> using namespace std; int main()
{ cout<<"Hello World!"; return 0;
}

And here is how you write a “Hello World” program in Python:

print("Hello World")

It takes fewer lines to achieve the same thing – such as printing ‘Hello World’ to a console.

Not to mention that it is much easier to read and is way more straightforward, right?

Python is an Open Source language, which means it is usable and freely distributed for everyone.

You are also encouraged to contribute to it and become part of a big community.

Python 2 vs Python 3 – What’s The Difference?

When you first start learning Python, you will probably come across Python 2 and Python 3 and may be confused about the differences between the two.

Over the years, Python has evolved as a language.

It has gone through constant improvements, bug fixes, and updates with new and improved features.

The last version of Python 2, Python 2.7, is no longer maintained and supported. There will be no future updates, such as updates on security issues.

So, Python 2 is outdated and no longer used.

When you start working as a Python developer, you may come across some old codebases with Python 2 code.

However, this version of the language should not concern you – especially as a beginner.

Python 3 is the newest version of Python. It was created to fix some problems in Python 2.

The many changes and new features it introduced were not compatible with Python 2.

In programming, this is known as backward incompatibility.

Both versions have significant differences in their syntax.

One notable difference is when you want to print something to the console:

#print is a statement in Python 2
print "Hello World" #print() is a function in Python 3
# parentheses were introduced print("Hello World")

To summarize, the current maintainable standard is Python 3, and if in doubt, this is the version of Python you should focus on.

How to Install Python and Set Up a Development Environment

You will first need to install Python on your local machine.

Specifically, you will need to install the Python interpreter. The Python interpreter is a software program.

When you write Python code in a file with a .py extension, you need a program that will translate your Python code to the language the computer understands.

That program, which acts as the translator, is the Python interpreter.

Some Operating Systems have the Python interpreter already installed by default.

For example, on macOS, Python 2.x version is installed.

You can check that by opening a new terminal window (enter the shortcut Command Space and type Terminal.app. Then, click on the first option that appears).

Once in the terminal, type python -v, where the -v argument stands for version.

You will see the default 2.x version already on the system.

However, you do not want to use this version, as it’s outdated (which we discussed above).

You can download the Python interpreter no matter your Operating System, but the steps for downloading and installing Python will differ from Operating System to Operating System.

At this point, it is also helpful to learn about creating virtual environments in Python.

This will come in handy for your future projects, especially when you’re working with third-party packages.

Virtual environments create an isolated space for each of your projects, which means that you can create multiple virtual environments.

This will ensure that the dependencies from packages installed in one project don’t interfere with the rest of your projects.

Here is a list of resources for installing Python on your local machine and for learning more about virtual environments:

Earlier I mentioned writing Python code in a file with a .py extension.

But where exactly do you write the Python code? In an IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

Some helpful IDE features are the following:

  • A code editor for writing and editing source code (source code is another word for code written in a human-readable programming language such as Python),
  • Syntax highlighting (which makes code easier to read), code hints, and autocompletion,
  • A built-in terminal for running commands,
  • Debugging and testing tools.

Essentially an IDE has all the necessary tools for increasing programmer productivity, all under the same roof, and there are many IDEs for writing Python code to choose from.

Personally, when I first started to learn Python, I found that writing Python code in Visual Studio Code was a pleasant experience.

Visual Studio Code is a free, open-source code editor with powerful IDE-like features and offers support for using Python. You can learn more about getting started with writing Python in Visual Studio Code by reading the helpful documentation

Python Courses

freeCodeCamp’s mission is to create high-quality educational resources for people all around the world for free.

On freeCodeCamp’s YouTube channel, you will find thousands of hours of educational content on a variety of programming topics.

Below are just a few video course suggestions to get you started learning Python as a complete beginner.

Python Project Tutorial – Your First Python Project

This one-hour video course, created by Tech with Tim, is great for creating your first-ever Python project and learning the fundamentals of the language.

Learning while building games is a fun way to understand fundamental concepts.

In this course, you also don’t need to have an environment set up, as it uses Repl.it, an in-browser editor, so you can start coding right away.

Python Tutorial for Beginners

In this 3-hour course created by Bobby Stearman, a senior software engineer, you will learn the basics of Python.

This course assumes no previous knowledge, as it walks you through the installation and setting up of a process for writing Python and creating virtual environments locally on your machine.

You will also learn Python’s basic data types, such as strings and numbers, and then move on to more advanced types, such as tuples, dictionaries, and sets, to name a few of the topics covered.

Python for Everybody

This is a 14-hour course created by Dr. Chuck, a Clinical Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information.

In this course, you will learn the absolute basics of Python and more advanced topics such as OOP (an abbreviation for Object-Oriented Programming).

freeCodeCamp also offers this course as one of its available certifications.

In the Scientific Computing with Python Certification, the above video course is broken down into smaller sections.

Each section has a video with follow-along materials and exercises to complete.

After watching the video, there is a multiple-choice question to answer.

https://www.freecodecamp.orghttps://envo.app/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2022/05/how-to-learn-python-in-2022.png

This is a great way of practicing Active Recall, an effective study and learning technique.

To practice Active Recall, you either read or watch something and once you have finished reading/watching, you retrieve the key concepts you learned – you essentially test yourself on the information you just consumed.

The Scientific Computing with Python Certification also has 5 practice projects to complete, where you can solidify your knowledge by putting your new skills to practice.

Python Game Development Project Using OOP – Minesweeper Tutorial (w/ Tkinter)

In this 3-hour course created by Jim from JimShapedCoding, you will build a Minesweeper game using the tkinter library.

This course is perfect for you once you have understood Python basics and want to build a project that implements Object-Oriented Programming.

Python Backend Web Development Course (with Django)

Earlier I mentioned that Python is a popular choice for web development, with the help of the Django web framework.

In this 10-hour course created by Tomi Tokko, besides learning the basics of Python, you will also learn how to create web applications using Python with Django.

Intermediate Python Programming Course

Once you have nailed the basics from the previous courses and built a few simple projects, you may not be sure how to advance and build on your already existing skills.

In this 6-hour course created by Patrick Loeber, you will dive deeper into the Python programming language and cover topics such as Lambda Functions, Multithreading, Multiprocessing, and Exceptions and Errors, to name a few.

Introduction to Python in Spanish

Lastly, if you are a Spanish speaker, or have a friend/family member that is a Spanish speaker and wants to learn Python, this is a great course for learning Python in Spanish.

This is a video course created by Estefania Cassingena Navone, a freeCodeCamp staff member, and is over 4 hours long.

You will learn the absolute basics with the help of detailed visuals and thorough explanations.

How to Get Help When You Are Stuck

When you are a beginner coder, you will inevitably face challenges and obstacles on your learning journey.

When you find yourself in such a situation, the best way to get out of it is to rely on a community.

The freeCodeCamp forum is a supportive and friendly community that will help you get unstuck.

For example, if there is something you didn’t understand in one of freeCodeCamp’s YouTube videos, or you are stuck on a step in the Scientific Computing with Python Certification, don’t hesitate to ask a question.

Before doing so, make sure to learn how to ask good questions on the forum to make sure you ask the right question that will help solve the problem you are facing.

Also, the forum is a great place to interact with other developers. It can help you start building your network and stay motivated by reading inspiring stories from the community members that learned to code using freeCodeCamp and landed great developer jobs.

Lastly, when you want to understand more and dive deeper into a specific topic when learning Python, you can rely on the freeCodeCamp publication.

There are over 8000 in-depth articles on programming and technology topics written by the community.

So, say you are learning about Python lists but don’t quite understand the .append() method.

When using the web version, you will see a search bar at the top left-hand corner.

You can then type .append() python, and you will see several results of articles that will help you learn more.

Conclusion

This marks the end of the article – thank you so much for making it to the end!

Hopefully this guide was helpful, and it gave you some insight into not only why you should consider learning Python but also how to learn the language in 2022.

Happy coding!

Posted by Contributor