The best way to learn Python for beginners
If you are searching for the best way to learn Python coding on the internet you will be overwhelmed with the amount of information. On Udemy alone there are over 10,000 courses teaching Python programming, so where do you start?
The best way to learn Python is to have a project that you want to complete, learn what you need to know and then make the project work.
Firstly there are literally 100’s of Python books out there and there are also no shortcuts to learning Python fast. The best way to learn Python is to keep your focus when learning the basics and the best way to do that is to have a project that you want to complete.
If you want to go deeper into Python, check out my in-depth Python Tutorial for Beginners
Learn Python Shortcut Menu
- Installing Python
- Python 2 vs 3
- Best Python Books
- Very Simple Program
- Python Object Types
- Numeric Types
- Lists & Strings
- Python Programming Tutorial
- Python Programming Examples
How to Learn Python for Beginners
This post is going to be a long one so if you want to jump straight to the section that is relevant to you please use the shortcut menu above.
If you are completely new to Python and want to start at the beginning then read on. Python programming has become one of the hot skills to learn for 2023 and a lot of people want to learn it. You can either learn Python the hard way or the easy way.
The hard way is to just read a book, which to most people is going to be very dry and boring. The easy and more enjoyable way is to be programming and doing as you are learning, this way you will start to see your progress and will want to continue to learn.
A lot of people ask me is Python easy to learn, if they can learn Python in a month or a week or a day and the answer to that is you can learn a bit of Python in a month but to become proficient with this programming language you just need to be putting some consistent time to your learning.
This post is aimed at the complete beginner so I will be starting at the beginning!
I personally am focussed on Python for Network Engineers, but all the topics covered here will translate to any requirement.
What is Python?
The complete description from python.org is below
Python is an interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language. It incorporates modules, exceptions, dynamic typing, very high level dynamic data types, and classes. Python combines remarkable power with very clear syntax. It has interfaces to many system calls and libraries, as well as to various window systems, and is extensible in C or C++. It is also usable as an extension language for applications that need a programmable interface. Finally, Python is portable: it runs on many Unix variants, on the Mac, and on Windows.
That is a long winded description – basically it’s saying that Python is an interpreted high-level programming language for general-purpose programming. Created by Guido van Rossum and first released in 1991, Python has a design philosophy that emphasizes code readability.
An interpreted language is high level language run and executed by an interpreter (a program which converts the high-level language to machine code and then executing) on the go. Other languages like C need compiling before they run. This makes Python very easy to get started with.
A question I get asked a lot is “Can you learn Python on a Windows PC?”
The answer is yes, whilst Python come installed in Linux you can very easily install it on Windows
Installing Python on Windows
If you are running Windows you will have to install Python, however if you are running a Mac or Linux based computer Python should already be installed.
To check this on your Linux computer simply type python at a terminal prompt and you should see something like this
You can also do this from a command prompt in windows, click on the start button and type cmd then click on Command Prompt and type in python
You will see here that Python is not installed, so we need to head over to python.org/downloads/windows and download it. Click on the latest Python 3 release and at the bottom of that page select the download suitable for your system. Either the 32 or 64 bit version. I am running a 64 bit Windows 10 laptop so have highlighted the version I am downloading in red
Once you have downloaded the file double click on it and click on Install.
Now when you type python into the command prompt you should see something different. If you still don’t see Python you may need to add it to your environment variables. The easiest way to do that is to run the setup again and this time click on Modify and then Next and then at the screen below tick the box that says add Python to environment variables.
Then click Install again and it should say Modify was Successful
Open Command Prompt again and type python and you should see the below
This is the very basic way to access and verify Python is installed.
Python 2 vs 3
Python 3.0 was released in 2008 and it was hoped that it would replace Python 2 by 2015 however it was not backwards incompatible and many programmers resisted moving to version 3 for many years. Even today many Python applications are written in version 2.
However for new students learning Python in 2019 it is advised that you start learning Python 3 – it might make sense to learn the differences to Python 2 but it would be advised to focus your learning on Python 3.
Best Python Books
There are 100’s of Python books promising to teach you Python, so which ones do you read?
I would recommend one book to get started with and that is
Introducing Python from O’Reilly books.
Is Python hard to learn?
You can learn the basics of Python in a few weeks, but it will take years to fully master the language.
Considering that it is one of the programming languages taught in schools it is not hard to learn and get a simple programme running. But as with all things if you want to be a master you need to spend a few years to become really proficient.
Compared to other languates like Ruby or C+ Python is very easy to learn as it is an object oriented language, meaning it does not have to be compiled and just runs through the programme and stops when it hits an error.
Best resources for learning Python
As one of the most widely used programming languages in the world there are so many resources available for free and paid, so how do you know which is the best way to learn Python?
Personally to get started I have found the book mentioned above invaluable.
Best free Python courses
There are so many resources available online to learn Python and most people will start by searching for the best free Python courses.
You will encounter titles such as;
- Learn Python in 21 days
- Learn Python in 7 days
- Learn Python in 1 day
- Teach yourself Python in 21 days
And the list goes on and on and on! But can you really learn Python in a few days? Not really, to become proficient you need to be spending months and even years to become proficient with Python. Can you write a simple programme in a week, of course you can, but if you want to get paid for your skills you need to put in the time.
These are the best places I would recommend to start.
Here are the top resources on the internet for learning Python.
There are so many courses on Udemy which teach you how to learn Python my latest search showed up over 10,000 courses!
Top of this list however is Complete Python Bootcamp – from zero to hero
Priced at just £9.99 for over 24 hours of lectures this is a very good value course.
There are also many other online courses from Codecadamy, Coursera, Codementor & RealPython.
The list is endless, but my advise is to pick one course and go through it.
Then if you feel like you want to learn some more try another course, but if you go out and buy 3 courses and do them all at the same time it’s going to get confusing.
The reality is whilst there are so many good and some not so good Python courses what is going to get you through is your determiniation to learn. If you really want to learn Python there are no shortcuts and anyone that tells you that you can do it 7 days are lying!
Whilst you might be able to learn the basics and get a simple programme running to become useful with Python you are (like anythign in life) going to have to put the time in!
TO BE COMPLETED
I hope you found that this was the best Python tutorial you have read online and that you actually learnt something and want to continue to learn Python and have found the best way to learn Python.
Can I learn Python for free?
Yes of course, there are hundreds of free Python courses available online. You just have to find one that works for you.
Is it hard to learn Python?
Python is one of the easiest languages to learn. But as with all things in life you have to put the work in. If you really want to learn Python it can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be. If you are excited to learn Python it will be an easy journey, if you are being forced to learn it for an exam or a job it might be more of a struggle. Out of all the computer languages however Python is considered one of the easiest to learn.
Can I learn Python in a week?
You can learn the basics of Python in a week, but to become proficient at the languate you really need to spend many weeks and months learning and programming. Ignore all the books that claim you can learn Python in 1 week or 4 weeks. You will learn what you can learn with the time you put in. If you studied for 12 hours a day for a week that is 84 hours. If you only did 1 hour a day it’s going to take you 84 weeks to learn the same.
What is the best way to learn Python?
The best way to get started to with Python is with this free class from Google – https://developers.google.com/edu/python
How many days will it take to learn Python?
Whilst there are many blog posts and books claiming you can learn Python in 1 day or 3 days or 4 hours, the reality is that it will take you 2-6 months to really get your head around the basics and years to become an expert
People often think that the name of the programming language is inspired by Python, the snake, which is not true. It is actually derived from the name of a popular television series named Monty Python’s Flying Circus.