Feb 21, 2019

Three reasons to learn Python

There are tons of reasons to learn a programming language. Maybe you are new to coding and are looking for a good place to start. Maybe you’re interested in new technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence and want to learn more. Or maybe you’re a seasoned developer who is looking to add a new language to his/her skill set.

But which to choose? There are hundreds of programming languages out there, each one vying for your attention. What should you do?

Never fear, faithful reader! Here are three reasons why you (yes, you!) should learn the Python programming language.

1-- Versatile

Python’s creator, Guido van Rossum, designed Python to be a general purpose programming language. As a result, Python can be used in a wide variety of cases: machine learning, web development, GUI development, scientific and numeric applications, software development, system administration, and more. Whatever type of programming sparks your interest, there is probably a Python application or framework for it.

Major companies like Google, Instagram, Dropbox, Spotify, Reddit, Duolingo, and BitBucket; government organizations; educational institutions; and non-profits use Python for its versatility.

2-- Beginner friendly

In addition to being a general purpose programming language, Python advertises itself as being “easy to use”. It achieves this by utilizing a simple and intuitive syntax and offering high-level data types like dictionaries.

Since 1999, Python has been guided by a series of 19 principles called the “Zen of Python.” Among these are specific guidelines to keep things simple:

Simple is better than complex.
Readability counts.
If the implementation is hard to explain, it's a bad idea.

As a result of this, Python is often used as the language in introductory computer science courses (notably MIT). If you are looking to learn your first language or add to a growing toolbelt, Python is a great choice.

3-- Highly rated

In my experience, every Python developer I have met loves working in Python. And it turns out that my anecdotal observation may be right!

In StackOverlow’s Developer Survey– which compiles user responses to demographic, technology, and work questions–shows that Python is a desirable language. It has been listed among the “Most Loved” languages for a while and has topped the charts in the past two years as the “Most Desired” language. If a lot of other developers like using Python, or want to learn Python, then it is probably going to be a good experience.

[Sidebar: If you haven’t before, take the time to look over the results of the 2018 Developer Survey. It isn’t perfect, suffering from both participation and response bias, but does open a window into the world of development.]

Bonus-- Python jokes!

Van Rossum named the Python programming language not after the serpent genus (as I previously assumed) but after the British TV comedy “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” According to the Python Software Foundation, “Making references to Monty Python skits in documentation is not only allowed, it is encouraged!”

The laughing French knight from Monty Python's Holy Grail

There you go: three (and a half) reasons why you should learn Python.

If you are looking for a good place to get started, I recommend the Python Docs: they are well-written and -paced for a beginner diving into the language.

Happy coding!

An illustration of Sean McPherson's face

My name is Sean McPherson, and I'm a software developer and educator living in Atlanta, GA.

I write about React, JavaScript, accessibility, user experience, and occassionally some other topics.