Today is a Good Day to Learn Python

Jonathan MathewsPublic

Intro to Python

The cool thing about Linux and FOSS is also an aggravating thing, which is that sometimes there’s too much of a good thing. There is such an abundance of goodies that it can be overwhelming. So I am here to help you decide which programming language you should learn next, and that is Python. Oh, yes, it is.

Why Python? I like it because it is clean and straightforward. It’s a great introduction to object-oriented languages. The Python world is beginner-friendly and, as a general-purpose language, Python can be used for all sorts of things: quick simple scripts, games, Web development, Raspberry Pi — anything you want. It is also in demand by employers if you’re thinking of a career.

There are numerous excellent Python books and tons of online documentation. I want to show off Python’s coolness for beginners so you will get excited and go “Yes! I too must love Python!”

But what about all the other languages? Don’t worry, they won’t get lonesome, and everything you learn in Python is applicable to many other languages as well.

What Stuff Means

I think most of us learn terminology better with hands-on exercises, but there are four things to know from the start.

The first is Python is strongly typed. As you study Python, you will see this repeated a gazillion times. What does this even mean? Who uses a typewriter? Fortunately, it has nothing to do with typewriters, but rather with how Python handles data types. All computer programs are made of two things: data, and operating on that data. Data comes in different types, and the types determine how your programming language will handle them. Data types include characters or strings, which are literal numbers and letters, like names and addresses; integers and floating point numbers that are used in calculations; Boolean values (true/false); and arrays, which are lists of data of all the same data types.

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