Python being one of the leading programming languages is a known fact. As per the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2018, it is possibly the fastest growing programming language in the world, outpacing C# this time as it did with PHP during the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2017.
The major reasons for the high-level, general purpose programming language to climb further in the ladders of popularity is its ease of use and simplicity. As learning Python is easy, a newcomer can readily get started with it in no time.
So, if you have just thought about embarking on your coding journey with Python, or to simply learn it as another pick in your programming arsenal, you’re absolutely on the right track.
To ease your Python learning ordeal, here are 8 tried, tested, and trusted beginner tips for learning Python programming.
1. Books are your Learning Buddies
No matter whether you’re starting to learn some foreign language or a programming language, having the right books can really help a lot. The best thing about books is that they will not only assist you during the early learning phase but also throughout your entire learning trip.
Hence, you can start learning better by picking up some of the great Python books. While picking up the right Python book, look for those that are full of examples, give out abstract definitions of the underlying Python concepts, and have a crisp language.
2. Follow the Python Gurus
The Internet is full of sources and people that are constantly sharing Python knowledge. It can be a YouTube channel, a personal blog, a community-run forum, and whatnot!
Here are some of the leading Python Gurus available as of now:
Al Sweigart (YouTube Channel)
Clever Programmer (YouTube Channel)
CodingEntrepreneurs (YouTube Channel)
Import Python (Newsletter)
Invent With Python (Blog)
Planet Python (Blog)
Python (Official Website)
Python Tips (Blog)
Python Weekly (Newsletter)
All you need to do is to make sure that you follow these people and platforms to help you out whenever you get stuck while gobbling up the Python basics.
3. Join the Other Learners
The days when a programming aspirant had to walk the coding lane all alone is long gone. We are living in an age when people are connected more than ever.
Although having endless connectivity is a debatable concept with both desirable and unwanted consequences, a great aspect of the same for the programming community is the opportunity to come together to learn, teach, and advance.
Surrounding yourself with fellow learners will not only boost your learning but will offer several mutual benefits. It’s a good way to learn the tips and tricks that aren’t preached by the books.
So, where to begin? There are several online communities and learning portals where you can connect with Python learners from all around the world, such as Stack Overflow, GitHub, and YouTube.
4. Pair Programming – The New Cool Way of Learning Programming
No need to feel ashamed of yourself if you haven’t heard about pair programming. However, you must feel it that way if you don’t make use of it to learn Python programming.
The modern learning technique involves two developers, or people, working on a single workstation to complete some task(s). There are two separate roles associated with the process, dubbed the driver and the navigator. Both participants frequently shuffle among the two roles.
The driver is the one who does the actual coding, while the navigator is the one responsible for leading problem solving and reviewing the code.
Being able to have someone to review your code and knowing how someone else would approach the same problem are just 2 of the several benefits that the technique of pair programming brings to the table.
If you’re still skeptical about pair programming, then know this that it is a technique belonging to the agile approach of software development, which is one of the leading SDLC methodologies as of now.
5. Practice is the Key
There’s a reason why there is the saying, “practice makes a man perfect.” Practice is the most important tool for learning any programming language. In fact, it is not only essential for learning and advancing but also for retaining the programming skill.
The more time you will spend doing programming on your own, the more enhanced becomes the learning process and chances of developing a better skillset.
Typically, programming involves a galore of concepts. Only a few of these might be readily digestible orally, while a lot of others, and, in fact, the most important ones require loads and loads of programming practice.
Therefore, make a daily coding routine. Even if you’re not sure what to code, just pick up and code something, anything.
6. Run Python Scripts and Use the Python Interpreter
Python scripts make life easier for developers. They offer a better way of dealing with large scale projects that entail several thousand lines of code. Nonetheless, Python scripts can prove to be a great learning tool for Python beginners and advanced learners alike.
Learning Python can also be made easy by using the intuitive and super easy to use Python interpreter. The biggest benefit of using Python interpreter is that the output is immediate.
In the starting, there might not be a need for writing bigger programs that involve a wide variety of Python concepts. Hence, using Python interpreter might be useful at this time.
Once you’re done installing and setting up the Python, simply fire up the terminal (command prompt) and enter the following command to access the Python interpreter:
# start python console
7. Keep Asking the GOOD Questions
Asking questions is an important learning tool. No matter what you wish to learn, asking questions is surely a great technique to learn a lot and to learn it better. Although there is no such thing as a bad question, asking a question badly is very real, especially in programming.
Programming is context-sensitive. Hence, you need to brief out the context before making a query. Giving out the wrong or a misleading context can put you back by a great deal of time in getting a useful answer.
So, how to avoid such a mishap? Simply by following the GOOD approach of asking questions, in which GOOD stands for:
- G – Give context, make your case clear
- O – Outline the things that have already been tried to fix or deal with the issue
- O – Offer your best guess about the problem
- D – Demo what’s happening. Mention the code, a traceback error, and a brief but crisp explanation of what you were trying to do that yielded the error
Good questions not only allow clearer communication among the parties, but also save a great deal of time and effort in putting out a great answer that can help out others trapped in the same situation.
8. Start Working on your Very Own Project
Programming is all about trying, failing, learning, making, and repeating. Most programming veterans will affirm to the fact that learning a programming language is better when the learner starts developing his/her very own project.
This not only gives the learner the opportunity to check how good they have absorbed the already learned topics but also to come across newer scenarios and problems that result in enhancing the learning curve.
Building your very own programming project starts right off where doing code exercises leave it. When stuck, you can always get help from fellow learners and the hyperactive Python community.
Remember, it’s not that much important what you build but how you build it. The approach is what matters the most. So, get started!
That wraps up the list of 8 useful beginner tips for learning Python programming. At present, Python is one of the most lucrative programming options. Hence, learning the high-level, general purpose programming language for getting a job is equally great as that for getting acquainted with the intricate, modern art of creation called programming.