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The 5 Best Resources to Start Learning Python

Do you want to learn to program in Python? Or maybe you are just wondering if an IT career is for you? In this article, I’ll answer some basic questions about Python learning methods and resources.

Python is one of today’s most popular computer programming languages. It’s used in many ways across different industries. Before we dive into our discussion of the best resources for learning Python, let’s try to understand what programming is.

What Is Computer Programming?

In the most basic terms, programming means automating a task. It could be as simple as sending an email or organizing files on your computer. It could also be as complicated as collecting data from different sources, cleaning and processing it, using it to train a machine learning model, and then making predictions based on that data. Thus, whatever the task, the goal of programming is making your life easier by automating stuff.

At the same time, programming lets us take advantage of the great processing power and vast memories of computers. For instance, it would be impossible to train a machine learning model using gigabytes of data without the computers’ processing power.

Programming languages are what we use to give instructions to a computer. There are lots of programming languages. Each one has a different syntax, or way of writing these instructions to the computer. It is important for a programming language to have a syntax that is easy for humans to read and understand. (It would be very challenging to give instructions in a language you don’t understand!) Because its syntax is quite simple, Python is considered one of the best programming languages for beginners to learn.

You can start your Python journey with our Python Basics: Part 1 course. It will help you take the first step into the world of programming and write Python code that actually performs simple tasks. Thanks to the online console, you can immediately practice what you learn with 95 interactive exercises. Another great feature of this course is that offers it for FREE.

Why Learn Python?

Having a simple syntax does not make Python any less powerful than its competitors. In fact, Python is used by many tech giants:

  • Python is recognized as an official language at Google.
  • YouTube is largely written in Python.
  • Netflix, IBM, NASA, Pixar, Facebook, and Spotify use Python in their operations.
  • Python is also used in Pinterest and Instagram.

Python was created by Guido van Rossum in 1991. What Python has achieved so far actually reflects the goals of its creator. He wanted to create a language that:

  • Is easy, intuitive, and just as powerful as its major competitors.
  • Is open source, so anyone could contribute to its development.
  • Has code that’s as understandable as plain English.
  • It suitable for everyday tasks.
  • Allows for short development times.

Here is a great article if you would like to learn more about the history of Python’s 30 years.

How to Start Learning Python

Python has a wide-range of applications in fields like data science, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, web development, and game development. If you plan to have a career in any of these domains, you should definitely consider learning Python.

The next question is how to learn Python. Since it is a very popular programming language, there are a ton of resources available. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on your approach. Without a proper plan, you are likely to learn inefficiently, which means wasting your time and energy.

In this article, we will go over the 5 best resources for learning Python. The one that best fits you depends on how you prefer to learn. Some people like to learn by reading, so books and documentation are better choices for them. Others prefer video-based content. Let’s start the list with the largest video-content resource.

1.   YouTube

YouTube is the largest online video platform. Not surprisingly, it contains a massive amount of Python content. You can find one-off videos explaining a particular concept as well as playlists consisting of several videos on more general subjects.

If you are looking for more structured and organized content, I suggest following proven Python learning channels. TechTFQ is a great one that contains several videos on Python. Programming with Mosh is another channel that has many Python tutorials.

Since there is no authority that validates the technical content on YouTube, I suggest choosing videos highly recommended by the community or from well-known tech companies, such as IBM and Google. Not every video is worth your time.

2.   Books

For those who prefer to learn Python by reading about it, there are many books available. Automate the Boring Stuff with Python is a highly popular one and it is free to read online. Another popular book for learning Python is Python Crash Course by Eric Matthes. You will learn basic programming concepts and have the chance to go through the projects covered in the book.

If you are into Python for data science, Python for Data Science for Dummies would be a great start. It’s an introductory-level book that will help you get started with your Python data science journey. You can see more of our picks for the best Python data science books here.

3.   Official Python Documentation

Thanks to its active open-source community, Python has extensive documentation. The official documentation usually has the most up-to-date features and covers a substantial amount of detail. It might be a little bit more difficult to read, but the information covered in the documentation is definitely worth your time.

You do not have to read all of the documentation. In fact, that’s not an efficient way to learn Python programming. However, you should use it freely as reference and get familiar with it so you can easily find what you are looking for.

4.   Learn Python: The Complete Python Programming Course

This Udemy video course covers a wide range of Python topics, from the very basics to advanced concepts. Video courses are good for those who prefer learning by watching, but be sure to support them with hands-on coding experience. Once you watch your video, practice what you learn by writing code and solving exercises. (The same goes for learning by reading books or documentation – be sure to practice!)

5.   Online Programming Courses offers several online courses as well as groups of courses called learning tracks. These help you efficiently comprehend Python at your own pace. Our three-part Python Basics track is an introduction to programming and how computers work. The first course of this track, Python Basics: Part 1, is available free of charge. And like all courses, it does not require you to download or install anything. There’s an interactive browser-based console that lets you practice what you learn. Another great track is Learn Programming with Python, which teaches the basics of programming plus Python data structures and algorithms.

Best Resources to Start Learning Python

Whichever resource you choose for learning Python,  it is not something you can accomplish in a day or two. Consistency is vital; even if it is for only half an hour, try to code every day. Hands-on practice – i.e. writing code – is also essential for learning any programming language. For learning to occur in our brains, active engagement is necessary. And this can only be achieved through practicing.

What Happens After You Learn Python?

We have mentioned several times that Python is widely accepted in the tech industry. It is safe to say that Python is ubiquitous. Thus, a bright career awaits you after learning Python. It has been and will be an in-demand skill with a considerable number of job opportunities. If you’re looking for extra motivation to start learning, read the article Python jobs and salaries in 2022.

Learning Python can also help you advance in your career. Whether you work in data science or software development, improving your Python skills can lead to a brilliant career. Read this article to discover how Python paves the way from zero to CEO. You can also use Python to improve your daily work by automating routine tasks like sending emails or organizing files.

So why wait? Start learning Python today!