For anyone serious about pursuing and growing in a career in IT, a basic question that roils the mind is this: which is the best programming language to learn? Most people who want answers to this question tend to get slightly confused, because they would have heard about multiple languages, such as Java, Python, PHP, etc. It is in selecting that one truly apt programming language to learn that the challenge lies.
Even learners who are fully aware of the benefits of most programming languages are in a fix about choosing the one language they should learn, and also about the best ways to learn a programming language.
It is very important for the students to make the right choice from the start as it will take a lot of time and effort to master any given programming language. While selecting any programming language to learn, students need to consider few aspects such as:
- The difficulty level of a programming language you are willing to learn
- The skills you already know that align with a programming language
- Reasons you want to learn a programming language.
Every programming language has its advantages as well as disadvantages. A language that is perfectly suited for developing a certain types of applications might not fit for developing other types.
So, keeping the debate aside of which programming language is good to learn among all, here in the following discussion we will focus towards understanding what is Python programming language and what are its benefits. At a later stage of this blog, we will discuss different reasons to learn Python.
In the upcoming discussion we will focus on the following topics:
- What is Python?
- Python 2 VS Python 3
- History of Python
- Features of Python
- Reasons to learn Python in 2020
- Advantages of Python
- Applications of Python.
Initially, let us discuss what is Python
What is Python? This is one of the most asked questions these days in the technology space. The answer is, Python is one of the powerful programming languages that is high-level, open-source, and most commonly used for web development, scientific and mathematical application development, etc.
Python is fast, easy-to-use and the most preferred programming language for developing projects by many companies such as YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Quora, etc. Because of its excellent features, Python is considered an easy to learn programming language for beginners and is also sophisticated enough for experienced professionals to use.
Apart from web development and desktop app development, Python is extensively used in the Data Science field and is used for developing Machine Learning projects. Because of its huge popularity, many IT professionals are learning this programming language to build their career as a Python developer.
Python 2 v/s Python 3
Having understood what is Python, let us start exploring the different versions of Python, such as Python 2 and Python 3. Later we will look at the major differences between them.
Python 2: Python 2 has been the more popular version. This version released in the year 2000 and made the code development process very easy compared to its earlier versions. Python 2 is a more transparent and inclusive language development process than its earlier versions.
Python 2 has implemented technical details of Python Enhancement Proposal (PEP). Python 2.7 or Python 2.7.20 is the last version of Python 2 and is no longer under development and in the year 2020, it will be discontinued.
Different versions of Python and their release dates are as follows:
- Python 2.0 – October 16, 2000
- Python 2.1 – April 17, 2001
- Python 2.2 – December 21, 2001
- Python 2.3 – July 29, 2003
- Python 2.4 – November 30, 2004
- Python 2.5 – November 19, 2006
- Python 2.6 – October 1, 2008
- Python 2.7 – July 3, 2010
Image source: Guru99
Python 3: Python 3 is an improved version. It was released in the year December 2008. This version was released with the aim of fixing the errors that existed in Python 2. Many companies are switching towards Python 3 version. This version provides huge library support.
Different versions of Python 3 and release dates are as follows:
- Python 3.0 – December 3, 2008
- Python 3.1 – June 27, 2009
- Python 3.2 – February 10, 2011
- Python 3.3 – September 29, 2012
- Python 3.4 – March 16, 2014
- Python 3.5 – September 13, 2015
- Python 3.6 –December 23, 2016
- Python 3.7 – June 27, 2018
- Python 3.8.1 – December 18, 2019.
Some of the key differences between Python 2 VS Python 3:
|SL.No||Basis of comparison||Python 2||Python 3|
|1||Release Date||Python 2 version got released in the year 2000.||Python 3 version got released in the year 2008.|
|2||Functional point||In Python 2, print is treated as statement instead of a function.||In Python3, print is explicitly treated as function.|
|3||Division of integers||Here, whenever two integers are divided, it always gives integer value only.||Here, whenever two integers are divided, will get float value if required.|
|4||Iterations||Python 2 xrange() is used for iterations.||Python Range() function has been introduced to perform iterations.|
|5||Exceptions||In Python 2, Exception argument can be enclosed in notations.||In Python 3, Exception argument should be enclosed in parenthesis.|
The above description provides you some valuable information about the major differences between the Python 2 and Python 3 versions. Before you choose a particular version of Python to develop your project, it is recommended to be well aware of all the available packages you need or you want to use because both these versions have similar kinds of syntax but they are not entirely compatible.
A brief history of Python
The foundation for Python programming language was laid by Guido Van Rossum in the late 1980s. Later, he published the first version of this programming language in the year 1991 at the CWI in the Netherlands.
This programming language was developed with great features of dynamic typing, classes, dynamic data types, etc. Python is derived from many other languages such as ABC, Modula-3, C, C++, etc. The idea of developing this programming came to the developer when he was working with a group on an interpreted language.“Did You Know? Python is one of the official programming languages that are used at Google”.
Later, in the year 1994, Python 1.0 version was released, with new features such as lambda, map, etc. Subsequently, Python language kept getting updated with subsequent releases of different versions.
Python 2.0 version got released in the year 2000 with several improvements, and Python 3.0 version was introduced in the year 2008 that included several simplifications compared to Python 2.0. This version is helping the programmers to develop projects very easily.
Presently 3.8.1 released on December 18, 2019, is the latest version of the Python as of January 2020.
Features of Python
Having known a brief history of the development of Python, let us discuss some of its features. Python is emerging as one of the most in-demand programming languages within the technology world. Many companies are considering this programming language as their preferred choice while working on software projects.
Have you ever wondered what makes this programming language so important? It is because this programming language has some prominent features.
The following are some of the prominent features of Python:
Let us next look into each of the features individually:
- Simplicity: Pythonprogramming language is known for its simplicity. In comparison to other programming languages, Python is considered one of the easiest languages to learn. The syntax of this programming language is very simple and it can easily be understood.
- Platform independent: Python is a platform-independent programming language. It means Python can run equally easily on a variety of platforms like Windows, Linux and Unix, and many more. So, there is no need to write a separate code for each Operating System, as the same code can run on multiple platforms.
- Open source: The one useful feature of Python is that it is open-source. Using the Internet, anyone can easily download and use Python.
- High-level language: This is one key feature of Python. This means no necessity for programmers to remember the system architecture and they also not required to manage memory as well.
- Interpreted: Python is an interpreted programming language. It means interpreter executes the code line by line at a time, making debugging easier.
- Library support: Large set of Python libraries are available to programmers that help them to easily write the code. A large set of libraries means that there is no need for programmers to write a code for every single thing.
- Embedding properties: Python allows the code of other programming languages to be embedded, thus making it a more powerful programming language.
- Object-Oriented concept: Python supports Object-Oriented concept. This feature provides a lot of flexibility for the developers to easily develop projects.
Now that we have understood the different features of Python programming language, let us discuss some of its advantages.
- Easy to learn: Python is a developer-friendly and is considered as very easy to learn specially for beginners. Since this programming language follows clear structural specifications for writing the program, it becomes easy for developers to read and develop the project.
- Presence of third party modules The advantage of using Python is that it contains a large number of third-party modules that help it to interact with most of the other languages and platforms.
- Provides numerous IDE’s IDE’s stands for Integrated Development Environment. These Python IDE’s contains several tools that help in developing and testing the software. Python provides numerous IDE’s such as Pycharm, PyDev, Rodeo etc., which help the developers to easily build the projects.
- It is free of cost Python is open source and freely available programming language. You can download Python from its official web address and use it.
- Improved productivity Python programming language is simple, easy to learn, object-oriented and provides a large number of libraries to developers, etc. all of which contribute to the increase in productivity.
- Extendable: Python can be extendable to other programming languages is one of the big advantages of this programming language. Some of the code can be written in languages like C++ or C. This helps to build projects easily.
5 Reasons to learn Python in 2020
As you have gained some knowledge about Python programming language, now let us see 5 prominent reason why you need to learn Python programming language in the year 2020.
- High paying salaries: Python developers are one among the highest paid employees of the present IT market. Based upon the location and projects, many companies are willing to pay high salaries for Python developers. According to ZipRecruiter, as of January 9 2020, the average annual salary for Python developers in the United States is $113,878.
- Very popular: Python is now one among the most popular programming languages. Python’s popularity can be identified using TIOBE programming community index.
According to this, Python is one of popular programming languages. The below table shows the popular ratings of 5 different programming languages.
|Rank in January 2020||Rank in January 2019||Programming language||Ratings|
- Best suited for beginners: Since Python follows a very easy coding structure, it can be one of the easy programming languages to learn for new starters. As Python provides lot of IDE’s and libraries, beginners can easily start building their own projects.
- Used for Data Science: Python is an open source and an easy to learn programming language makes it one of the preferred choice for many developers to consider it while working on their Data Science projects. Another step forward is because this programming language provides rich set of libraries that makes the job of Data Scientists very easy.
- Has an active community: Python programming language has advantage of having global community with millions of Python developers. Here developers belonging to various levels from beginner to expert can take help of community whenever needed.
Different applications of Python
Having understood the top reasons for which one needs to learn Python, let us see some of its application.
1) Web applications: Python can be used efficiently to develop web application. It provides some libraries to handle protocols such as HTML and XML, JSON, Email processing, etc. Some Python frameworks such as Django can be helpful for the developers to design and develop web applications.
2) GUI based desktop applications: Python provides libraries such as Tkinter that helps to develop GUI based desktop applications. Some other tools such as wxWidgets, Kivy can also be used to create applications on several other platforms.
3) Business applications: Python also enables the developers to build business applications like ERP and e-commerce systems. Python programming language provides features such as scalability and extensibility that helps to build such business applications.
5) Game development: If you want to become a game developer, you should choose to learn Python programming language, because it provides a lot of flexibility to develop games. Some libraries such as PySoy and PyGame provide the features required to develop games.
6) AI and ML projects: Python programming language is widely used by many organizations to develop Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning projects. This programming language provides lot of flexibility for developers while building their AI and ML projects. Some of the frameworks that can be used for these projects are Tensorflow, Scikit-learn NLTK, etc.
We hope that the discussion we have made above has given our readers a fairly good introduction to the world of Python. By looking at the good scope of python programming language, many IT professionals are looking for a career change towards being a Python developer.
No matter whether you an experienced IT professional or are a new entrant to the programming world, you can take a look at these online courses that contains a bundle of Python courses designed for professionals belonging to various levels of the IT career.
If you feel something more needs to be discussed in this blog, then please send your feedback in the comment section below. We also request you to tweet this blog so that it can reach some of your friends who is in search of similar kind of information.
10 Key Takeaways
- Powerful – Python is a powerful programming language that is used to develop numerous applications
- Objected Oriented – Python is an Objected Oriented programming language that helps the developer to build projects easily
- Release date – First version of Python released in the year 1991 at CWI in the Netherlands
- Platform-independent – Python is platform independent, which means it runs equally on all platforms like Windows, Linux, etc.
- Easy to learn – Python is considered one of the easiest programming language to learn
- Numerous IDE’s – Pythonprovidesalarge number of IDE’s like PyCharm, PyDev, etc. to develop projects
- Used for Data Science – Python is one of the most preferred languages to work for Data Science projects
- Game development – Python supports game development. Some frameworks such as PySoy and PyGame are used in game development
- Library support – Pythonprovides a rich set of libraries that helps developers in building projects
- Higher salaries: Python developers are one among the highest paid professionals in the IT market.