If you’re new to programming, Python is a great first language. It has a gentle learning curve, which enables you to experience the joys of programming early and often. Python’s clear and concise syntax allows you to focus on the fundamentals of programming without too much concern for the mechanics of the language. This simplicity is one reason why Python is the top choice for introductory computer science courses at elite universities, including MIT and UC Berkeley.
Other qualities that make Python a great choice for your first programming language include:
- Python is an interpreted language that allows exploration without having to write full-blown programs.
- It installs on all major operating systems including Windows, Linux, and OS X.
- The standard library handles common programming tasks such as file I/O, regular expressions, unicode, dates and times, compression, concurrency, making HTTP requests, building web servers, parsing email, and more.
While Python is a popular programming language for beginners, it is also a tool trusted by seasoned professionals. In fact, Python has been one of the most popular programming languages for many years running. In the rest of this post, we will explore why Python is an excellent language for building production grade software.
Python Features for Professionals
Professional developers often work in teams, support large codebases, and have strict deadlines. Here are a few of the Python features essential to the success of real-world projects.
- Built-in support for object-oriented programming, with classes, objects, methods, and reflection that helps you write testable, extensible, maintainable code.
- A robust module and packaging system makes it easy to build and distribute Python libraries as well as effectively organize large codebases.
- The Python packaging ecosystem makes it easy to find reusable packages on PyPi, install and manage package dependencies via pip, and isolate application environments with virtualenv.
- Extensive documentation and an active Python community make it easy to find help when you need it.
- Python supports calling C functions and writing C/C++ extensions for performance-critical sections of code.
- The same simple, expressive syntax that makes Python easy to learn for beginners also empowers experienced developers to rapidly prototype and validate new ideas.
- Python is open source, which means you can use it without paying any license fees, and can contribute to the ongoing improvement of the language.
- Python is super versatile and can be applied to anything from web development and managing cloud infrastructure to gaming and data science.
- With its forced code indentation, Python helps you create cleaner, more readable code with fewer mistakes.
Python in the Real World
Many developers unfamiliar with Python often mistakenly view it as only a scripting language or as a language that is slow and doesn’t scale. However, many businesses successfully build and scale products with Python, proving the naysayers wrong.
- Instagram serves more than 500 million users with the Python web framework Django, making it the world’s largest known Django deployment.
- Yelp runs on more than 3 million lines of Python code.
- PayPal employs hundreds of Python developers across dozens of projects in a highly regulated industry.
Whether you are a guru or a novice, you can confidently reach for Python to develop solutions to a wide range of problems. Python has essential language features to keep you productive, a diverse community to support you on your journey, and a rich packaging ecosystem filled with all kinds of useful libraries. Plus, it can scale to handle large codebases and strict performances requirements. If you want to build high-quality, production-ready software quickly, Python will serve you well.