The Python programming language has gathered steam in recent years. This tells us that more and more people are using the language. If you’re one of these people, this article about important Python programming tips will help you—BIG TIME.
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What is Python?
The Python programming language is popular for its compactness and simplicity. It is a high-level open-source programming language that even huge corporations support. Just take a look around. Google and YouTube use Python.
More importantly, the syntax is not complex, letting developers focus more on the program itself and not only the code.
Python first appeared in 1991 and has since evolved thanks to the ever-growing community that backs it up. There are plenty of documentations to go with the community that’s more active than a child’s imagination.
Python has some big corporate sponsors too. If C# has Microsoft and PHP has Facebook, Python has the big G—Google.
This is crucial because companies like Google want their team to work with their systems and apps. And to do that, they need to provide resources. And because Google uses Python, the tech giant has created tons and tons of guides and Python tutorials.
Vast Quantity of Libraries
Libraries help a lot for those who are working on big projects, letting them save time and effort. Among Python’s wide selection of libraries are NumPy and SciPy for science and Django for web development. No, this library isn’t quiet or boring.
As time goes by, the academia is adopting Python more extensively. It’s going to be boring, but you should check out the curriculum. It now includes Python as core language that students need to learn. That’s a huge change from before, where we were only focused on learning C, Java, C++, and internet slang for coursework. The last one was the hardest. It’s true.
Programmers still need ample knowledge about C, Java, and C++. However, many specialists now choose Python as their language of choice. That’s because Python is efficient for projects in data science, deep learning, artificial intelligence, and deep learning.
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Popularity in Industries
For 2018, the number 1 best job in America was Data Scientist (you thought it was Online Troll, didn’t you?). Meanwhile, industries believe that artificial intelligence is the next big thing in technology.
And Python is taking the lead as the top choice for data scientists and machine learning professionals. That’s not surprising, especially if you already know what Python can do.
Because of all these qualities, it’s easy to see why Python is more popular now more than ever. Learning the language is a challenge you may or may not like. But it’s necessary.
So here’s for you. These Python programming tips will make it easier for you learn the language much faster.
Python Programming Tip 1: Read about the Language
You’re probably already doing this now. Well, we say make it more intensive. As with any other language, the first thing you need to do is learn the basics and read about it.
There are tons of learning materials online: infographics, tutorials, video seminars, trainings, free courses, e-books, etc. Name it, the internet has it.
You don’t necessarily need to learn everything at once when you start reading. You just have to get the gist as you get your paws wet. Or something like that. (Good thing you don’t need idioms in programming languages like Python!)
Python Programming Tip 2: Seek out Exercises
The obvious next step to get started is to get started. After learning the basics, you need to apply what you learn and be hands on.
Boot up, find exercises online, and try the language. You may have already tried other programming languages like C and C++ and your background will be of great help. If you’re an absolute beginner, that’s not a problem. Python is extremely easy to understand.
Python Programming Tip 3: Make Coding a Daily Habit
If you’re really eager to learn Python programming, following this tip is a piece of cake. That being said, as you move forward to learning the language, you need to ensure you have consistency. It gets harder, or easier, but you will definitely experience some difficulties if you’re a first-timer.
Meanwhile, the more you do it, the more your brain gets used to it. Coding on a daily basis helps you develop your muscle memory. Try dedicating 20 to 30 minutes daily and lengthen it as you progress.
Python Programming Tip 4: Jot Down Notes
You ever heard that idea that if you write something down instead of just typing it, you remember it better? That actually works.
You should take down notes the old way: with a pen and paper. Although some prefer using walls and desks, this one really does the trick for many beginners. As we’ve said: muscle memory.
Additionally, if you’re thinking of becoming a full-time programmer, you might have to write codes on a white board during an interview. Writing down your codes also helps you plan out the program before you boot up your computer.
Python Programming Tip 5: Python REPL
The interactive Python shell will come in handy if you’re learning about Python data structures like strings and dictionaries. We sometimes call it a Python REPL, but really, Python ‘interactive shell’ is easier. It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?
To use it, install Python (of course), and then open your terminal and run python or python3. After that, you can start using interactive Python shell.
Python Programming Tip 6: Take Breaks to Avoid Breakdowns
Of course, work without play is for slaves. You’re not learning the language just to become a slave, are you? Take a break every once in a while.
All the concepts, letters, symbols, numbers, and programming can be exhausting. And even if you don’t feel that tired, you still need time to absorb what you are learning.
Generally, learners can go for a 25- to 30-minute sessions and then take a quick break. Smoke, drink or eat something, check your non-existent social media life, or argue with an online troll.
Except for the last one, all these activities can help you refresh your mind and replenish energy. This is especially helpful when you’re debugging. A fresh mind and eye can help you find that pesky little quotation mark that undermines your state-of-the-art Python program.
Python Programming Tips 7: Don’t be Lonesome
Yes, we know, there are people who prefer to work or study alone. They usually think they learn faster this way. However, more heads are still better than one. Facts.
You need to be with people who actually know what they’re doing. Doing this will help you learn some more tips and tricks.
Reaching out and finding these people are also not difficult. Python has a HUGE community of programmers, both new and expert, that support each other. Imagine you’re that guy from Fight Club and the community is your chosen support group.
The point is these people will make the learning much easier and faster. You won’t be a burden, Tyler Durden.
Python Programming Tips 8: Banner and Stark
Warning: more movie references incoming.
Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Bruce Banner (the Hulk) are two geniuses who both possess great skills in their fields. One is an expert in sarcasm and the other has temper issues. BUT they work perfectly together. (They made Ultron and the Hulkbuster, for Christ’s sakes!)
What we’re saying is learning the Python language becomes more fun and productive when you have a partner. No, you don’t have to marry him or her (you may, if you want). But you can work together to improve each other’s programming skills.
One of you should be the “navigator” and the other should be the “driver.” The navigator helps in problem solving and reviews, while the driver writes the code. Taking turns will not only let you experience both sides; it will also help you understand how other programmers think about a project.
Python Programming Tip 9: Share Your Knowledge
Another helpful habit is to share what you know. In fact, people consider teaching what you know the best way to master the skill.
You may proceed as you wish. You can write blogs and Python programming tips (like this!) and become a YouTuber and post video tutorials. We heard there’s money in that.
These things will help you have a better understanding of what you already know even as you help others learn. Also, if something’s still murky for you and you let others know, chances are somebody will reach out and help.
Python Programming Tip 10: Be Curious and Ask Questions
After sharing your knowledge, you will inevitably have to answer questions from others. But you shouldn’t let them ask all the questions. Don’t be satisfied with what you already know. Be curious and ask questions.
If you’re working on a project, provide some context on what you’re trying to achieve. Then, outline the things you have and haven’t done to achieve the goal.
Afterwards, provide your honest opinion. This will help others who will try to answer your question understand how you approach the project.
If there is a problem with the project, provide the code, traceback error message, and maybe an explanation. Anyone who will try to answer your questions will have a better idea of the problem.
Python Programming Tip 11: Create Something
As hinted in the previous tip, you should create something. Have a project. Try to be productive even if it’s against your nature.
When you create something, you use your knowledge. And when you use your knowledge, you improve them and your skills get better. It will also solidify your grasp of basic data structures, writing classes, and OOP (object-oriented programming).
It doesn’t matter if you’re also trying to code Ultron, a Thanos-killing machine, or a simple guessing game app. What matters is you try to build something.
Python Programming Tip 12: Try Open Source
In a nutshell, working with an open-source model means you’ll be working with professional programmers and engineers.
An open-source model has a software source code that the public can see. Anyone can contribute to it. If you want to further hone your skills in Python programming, check out Python libraries that take contributions. There’s a truckload of them.
Getting in isn’t difficult too. Just pick an open-source Python project. From there, try to contribute something, maybe a bug fix request. Send a “pull request” to patch your fix into the code. The project managers will evaluate your work with comments and suggestions.
The gist is that contributing to open-source projects let you gain professional experience. You will also practice communicating with the pros if you do it often.
One Caveat: Execution Speed
If you’re serious about becoming a Python programmer, you also have to know one possible weakness of the language. That’s its execution speed and performance.
Although majority of developers don’t really care about a 0.0001 and 0.001 difference in speed, it’s still a crucial factor that turns other programmers to other languages.
Python is a high-level programming language, meaning the code is somewhat closer to how the human brain works. Also, Python codes are interpreted and not compiled.
The good news is, most users just don’t care about this. Delays in execution would be irrelevant as long as it doesn’t last for, like, centuries.
The same is true for businesses, which favor faster coding and development time. Focus has shifted. Computers, hardware, and servers have become better, so speed is less of a concern. What businesses want are teams that can develop programs much faster than the others.
So, in terms of simplicity and ease of use, which language do these employees use? Which will save the company more money and resources?
Which, of all programming languages out there, can compensate for its weakness with more-than-enough strengths? The answer is pretty obvious, and programmers wouldn’t disagree if we say it. Python.
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