Looking to learn the basics of Python programming, but don’t know where to start? Have you heard how easy it is to learn Python and want to try it on your own for the first time? Well, you’re in the right place. Our programming experts at Constructor Learning have prepared the steps to guide you in creating your first Python program.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how Python is used in professional and everyday life, how to write your first program, from language installation on your computer to running your first program, and an overview of key concepts and tools specific to Python.
Why use Python?
Python is a high-level programming language that has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its ease of use, readability, and versatility. For those reasons, Python can open many possibilities in non-programming roles in fields such as economy, science, journalism, marketing and much more.
What can you do with Python?
Here are some examples of things you can accomplish with Python:
- Data analysis
- Prepare your data for analysis. Fill in missing values, standardize formats, label the data and validate it.
- Visualize your data to extract insights qualitatively.
- Apply basic statistical analysis to extract key metrics and insights quantitatively.
- Machine learning
- Conduct complex statistical calculations
- Build classical ML models such as Regressions, Decision Trees and Clustering.
- Create neural networks for image classification or speech recognition.
- Use NLP techniques to analyze and classify text data.
- Web development
- Build dynamic web applications
- Send data to and from servers
- Build real-time applications
- Handle URL routing
- Ensure security
- Automation or scripting
- Automate tasks e.g. copying files, sending automated emails, etc.
- Analyze log files
- Identify system issues
- Create chatbots for customer service tasks
- Software testing and prototyping
- Build and test APIs and microservices
- Create simulations to test complex system behaviors
- Create prototypes for new software features
- Everyday tasks
- Keep track of stock market
- Automate the process of resizing and compressing images
- Convert text files into spreadsheets
- Fill out online forms
- & many, many more…
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced developer, Python can be used for a wide variety of projects in both professional and everyday life. With fundamental skills and some creativity, the possibilities are truly endless.
Learn more about the basic concept of Python programming
How to download and Install Python
The first step in getting started with Python is to install the language on your computer. Currently, there are two main versions of Python in use: Python 2 and Python 3. While Python 2 is still widely used due to its presence in pre-existing projects, new development should definitely be done with Python 3, to ensure your project is future-proof.
What is Python IDLE and how to use it
IDLE (Integrated Development and Learning Environment) is a simple editor that is included as a bundle when you download Python. It provides an easy-to-use and simple interface for writing, executing, and testing your code. IDLE is great for beginners as it includes features such as syntax highlighting, code completion, and an interactive interpreter that makes it easier to learn and experiment with Python code.
- To launch IDLE, search for "IDLE" in your start menu or applications folder
- Click on the IDLE icon
- Once IDLE is open, you can start writing your first Python program
- Go to “File” and click on “New File”
- A blank file will appear on the screen
Create your first Python program
With IDLE now open, time to write your first Python program! Let’s get started with the classic program used to check if everything is set up correctly - type the following code into the blank file: print ("Hello, World!")
This program uses the print function to display the message "Hello, World!" on the screen. To run this program:
- Go to “Run” in the top bar menu
- Click on “Run Module” or press “F5”
- The "Hello, World!" message should now be displayed in the IDLE shell
This isn’t yet useful on its own, but if you saw the message printed to the screen it means your setup is working and you are ready to tackle more ambitious challenges.
Key concepts in Python
Now that you have a basic understanding of how to write and run a Python program, let's take a look at some of the key concepts used in Python that you'll need to know in order to start programming.
Variables are used to store values in a program. In Python, you can use a variable to store any data type, including numbers, strings, and lists. For example:
name = "John Doe"
age = 30
In this code, we've created two variables: name and age. We've assigned the string value "John Doe" to the name variable and the number value “30” to the age variable.
In Python, data can be stored as one of several built-in data types, including:
- int (integers)
- float (decimal numbers)
- str (strings)
- list (lists of values)
- dict (dictionaries, which are collections of key-value pairs)
- bool (Boolean values, either True or False)
age = 30
price = 9.99
name = "John Doe"
In this code, we've created three variables and assigned values of different data types to each one.
Operators allow you to perform operations on variables, such as mathematical operations (e.g., addition, subtraction, multiplication), comparison operations (e.g., greater than, less than, equal to), and logical operations (e.g., and, or, not).
Python provides several ways to control the flow of a program, including conditional statements (e.g., if statements) and loop structures (e.g., for loops, while loops).
Functions allow you to encapsulate a block of code and reuse it throughout your program. Functions can accept arguments, perform a specific task, and return a value.
Modules are collections of functions and variables that you can import into your program. The Python Standard Library provides many useful modules for tasks such as file I/O, regular expressions, and network programming.
Exception handling allows you to gracefully handle errors and exceptions that occur during the execution of your program. This helps prevent your program from crashing and provides a way to recover from errors.
Classes and objects
Classes and objects are fundamental concepts in Object-Oriented Programming (OOP). Classes define the blueprint for objects, and objects are instances of classes. OOP provides a way to structure your code, making it easier to manage and maintain.
These key concepts of Python programming are just a sampling of the syntax used. There are several other terms that you will become familiar with as you learn more about the language and become immersed in more complex projects. However, a good understanding of the basic syntax will provide you with a solid foundation to rely on as your Python learning journey begins.
Python is a versatile, easy-to-use programming language that can be used for various projects, from everyday tasks to complex machine learning and automation projects.
In this blog post, we provided you with step-by-step guidance on how to download and install Python, introduced the Python IDLE editor, and provided an overview of key concepts used in Python programming, including variables, data types, operators, control flow, functions, and modules.
We hope this guide has been helpful in getting you started on your Python journey. Keep learning and exploring the possibilities that Python has to offer!
Still pondering whether Python is worth learning? Check out our article on the Best programming languages to learn based on your career goals
Ready to take your Python skills to the next level?
Constructor Learning's Python programming short course is the perfect way to go beyond the basics and discover the many practical applications of this versatile language. In just 6 weeks, you'll go more in-depth into all the fundamentals of Python - variables, data types, control flow, functions, and more - and get to explore some concrete applications like data analysis and visualization, accessing web services like Google Maps API, creating your own app, accessing SQL databases, and generating automated reports. Plus, you'll even get to create a mini-project of your choice!