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Top Python IDEs and Code Editors for Programming and Data Science Beginners

No matter if you’re learning Python for programming or data science, an IDE will let work much easier and faster. In this article, you will find out what tools are available and what functionalities they include.

An integrated development environment (IDE) is a combination of a text editor and a Python runtime implementation. You can use it to write, modify, and execute Python scripts, create program resources and components, and a lot more.

Every Python installation comes with an Integrated Development and Learning Environment (IDLE), which is the IDE provided by Python. But using IDLE is not a must for using Python – there are other IDEs that you can use to write your Python scripts, not to mention a variety of text-based editors that some programmers prefer to IDEs.

Why Do You Need an IDE?

IDEs help you write code more efficiently – they give you a fully-featured text editor that includes syntax highlighting, autocompletion, smart indentation, and maybe a debugger with stepping and breakpoint features. Code editors usually don’t have built-in debugging and running tools and act more like a text editor that is specially designed for programming.

While there are many IDEs you can choose from, I’ll focus on IDEs and code editors that are best for beginning Python users. I’ve listed them in no particular order, but I have to say that the first one, Sublime Text, is my favorite.

  1. Sublime Text
  2. Jupyter Notebook
  3. PyCharm
  4. Eclipse
  5. Spyder
  6. Atom

No matter if you’re learning Python for programming or Python for data science, I bet you will find one on this list that suits your needs.

Top Python Code Editors for Beginners

Sublime Text


Top Python IDEs and Code Editors

Sublime Text is a simple code editor coded in C++ and Python. Since version 2.0, Sublime supports most popular programming languages, including Python. It was first published in 2007 by Jon Skinner, who mentioned the three guiding principles he had in mind while developing Sublime Text:

  • Unobtrusive, minimal chrome. The focus should be on the text, not on fourteen different toolbars.
  • Don’t obscure the text with dialogs.
  • Use the pixels you’ve got. Full screen, multi-monitor, and side-by-side editing should all be possible.

Thanks to the different plugins and packages available, you can customize Sublime Text with features – like linting (which cleans up your code), file syncing, auto-complete, and syntax highlighting – that make it easy to develop code in Python.

Jupyter Notebook


Jupyter Notebook is an open-source server-client application used to create and run (mainly) data science projects. Besides coding, a Jupyter document can contain rich text or media elements (like images); therefore, this program is seen as a good tool for projects that require real-time data analysis and/or building interactive data science applications.

Top Python IDEs and Code Editors



Jupyter Notebook provides an easy-to-use, interactive data science environment in over 40 programming languages. Moreover, the tool can be used as a presentation or education tool, so it’s ideal for users who are just starting out with data science projects.

If you’re interested in getting started with Jupyter Notebook, read Jupyter Notebook - The Free Editor for Python.

Top Python IDEs for Beginners



PyCharm is a professional Python IDE available in three versions:

  • Community
  • Educational
  • Professional

The first two versions are open source and free of charge. The Community version has slightly different features, such as syntax highlighting, auto-completion, and live code verification.

The Professional version is paid and has more advanced features, such as full database management and more frameworks than the Community version supports (e.g. Django, Flask, Google App, Engine, Pyramid, and Web2py).

Top Python IDEs and Code Editors

PyCharm gives you the ability to plot, manage, and explore graphs in real time. Additionally, it supports database languages like SQL via plugins.

If you want to start using PyCharm but don't know how to do it, check out the PyCharm Tutorial for Beginners.


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Eclipse is an IDE meant for Java users, but – thanks to a system of plugins and extensions – it can be used with other programming languages. If you want Eclipse to act as your Python IDE, you need to install the Pydev plugin.

Pydev uses advanced inference techniques to provide features such as code completion and code analysis. It offers the following features:

  • Basic syntax highlighting.
  • Interactive console.
  • Debugger.
  • Django support.
  • Code coverage.
  • And more.

Pydev is free of charge, platform-independent, and shows that Python development can be comparable to Java development.



Top Python IDEs and Code Editors

Spyder stands for Scientific PYthon Development EnviRonment. As you might guess, it is an IDE "designed by and for scientists, engineers, and data analysts". It is meant to be the go-to tool for Python data scientists.

Spyder is an open-source project that, at the beginning of its history, was supported by Anaconda, the ‘birthplace of Python data science’. This IDE is provided with a customizable user interface that allows you to change layout designs and that adapts to the habits and preferences of its user.

Spyder’s most interesting features include:

  • A multi-language editor.
  • Code auto-completion.
  • Real-time code analysis.
Top Python IDEs and Code Editors

If you’re interested in using this IDE, read How to Install the Python Spyder IDE and Run Scripts.



Atom includes most of the basic functionalities of an IDE, such as syntax highlighting and auto-completion. Atom was developed initially from GitHub and is open-source, with a strong community that provides both support and handy extensions in the form of plugins.

One of the biggest reasons behind Atom's success is its fully customizable interface. Everything can be changed, from the interface itself to its basic functions. The only disadvantage is that Atom is not really suitable for handling large code files.

Note: This IDE is very intuitive for Visual Studio Code users; it offers almost the same features.

Can the Right IDE Help You Progress with Python?

This has been a short overview of my recommendations for newcomers to Python who are looking for quality IDEs and code editors. It’s much easier to develop coding skills with an IDE that marks your mistakes or auto-completes your statements. Now that you have a glimpse of the most useful tools, you can take your programming and/or data science projects to the next level.

Did I miss an IDE you think should be included here? Tell me in the comment section below! I’ll be happy to try it out and maybe review it in an upcoming article.