A Beginner’s Guide to Computer Language: Python
Have you heard of Python? Do you know what it is? As a beginner, it may be confusing to navigate your way through the complex world of web development. With a variety of programming languages in use, not to mention a plethora of jargon, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Not to worry - in this article, we’ll tell you about the history of Python, how to use it, which jobs you can get using Python, and how to learn it. Let’s get started!
What is Python?
History of Python
Python was developed and created throughout the 1980s, but its code was first released on a large scale by Guido Van Rossum in 1991. Python uses open source code, which means that it was designed to be free for all: even for commercial purposes. It was also specifically designed to be readable and user friendly.
Since its first release, several updates have been released that add new functions, fix bugs, and improve security. The most current version of Python is Python 3.1, which you can download free of charge on their website.
Because of its unique name, many people wonder where the software got its name from. Interestingly, the creator, Guido Van Rossum, picked the name from the title of the BBC comedy series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” This name was intended to be short and a bit mysterious.
How Python works and how to run it
To program with Python and run code, you’ll need to install an IDE. An IDE, short for integrated development environment, is a text editor that includes additional functions specific to writing code, including shortcuts, debugging, and more.
There are a lot of different IDEs available to choose from, but to avoid getting bogged down in the specifics, we recommend starting with IDLE.
It’s available for Mac, Windows, and Linux, and it’s particularly useful for beginners. Once you download IDLE, you’ll be able to both edit and run Python programs directly within the software.
Jobs with Python
Python is a highly versatile programming language. It can be used for various tasks, including data analysis, software testing, machine learning, web development, automation, and everyday tasks.
It is also considered a very accessible programming language, even for people without a programming background. In fact, Python is often used by those in less data-heavy professions, such as accounting and journalism, to automate some common tasks.
Due to its wide range of applications, Python is in high demand: according to Statistica, it is the third most used programming language worldwide. A job seeker looking for a job using Python will therefore have many opportunities available to them.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the common job titles that people with Python skills have. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it can give you a general idea of some of the career directions people take with a Python background.
Machine learning engineer: Builds programs that perform tasks informed by large sets of data ($162,190 per year)
Data scientist: Specializes in the compilation, manipulation, and presentation of data ($126,565 per year)
Python developer: Responsible for all aspects of web development, typically on server side/back end ($130,052 per year)
Full stack developer: Codes, designs, and debugs web programs on both front and back ends ($104,564 per year)
How to learn Python
With such a wide range of career paths, it’s no wonder that learning SQL is a popular choice. Once you’ve got your skills to a certain level, you can also choose to get a certification to prove them. In this section, we’ll talk about both courses and certifications related to SQL.
Some of the most popular platforms to learn not just SQL but any programming language are Udemy, Coursera, and Codecademy. With these programs, you know you’re getting quality instruction that will prepare you for a career in the field.
Udemy’s The Ultimate MySQL Bootcamp: Go from SQL Beginner to Expert, just recently completely redone in April 2023, teaches you the ins and outs of MySQL, a popular and widely used version of the program. In 36.5 hours of video and 278 articles, you’ll learn to create your own databases, answer company performance or sales questions using data, and generate reports. A fee of $9.99 grants you full lifetime access to the course.
For a free option, Udacity’s SQL for Data Analysis is a great deal. In just four weeks, you can learn the basics of SQL, including how to extract data and join tables together, and also cover some more advanced topics. Since this is a short and completely free course, this could be a great option if you’re looking for a quick tutorial. If you complete the course and find yourself wanting more depth, you can move on to another resource, free or paid.
When you feel confident in your abilities, a certification is a great option to demonstrate those skills. SQL certifications are often issued in tandem with a specific database system, such as Azure or Microsoft.
While some employers prefer experience over certification, a certification can be a great addition to your resume, especially if you know the specific database system that the jobs you’re applying for use.
As you can see, Structured Query Language is an in-demand and highly useful programming language. If you want to learn, you will have a wide range of courses to choose from, and the career paths available will be equally numerous.
Though career options in the tech industry can and often do require knowledge of more than one programming language, starting with SQL will boost your skills and move you one step ahead.
Matthew is a freelance content writer whose work has previously appeared in well-known language-learning blog Fluent in 3 Months and The Happy Self-Publisher. His creative work has also appeared in Otoliths, CafeLit, and the Eunoia Review. He is currently based in Taipei, Taiwan, where he is studying for a master's degree in Chinese Literature.