There are dozens of programming languages out there, so deciding what language to learn as a beginner can be tricky. Python is one of the most popular and most accessible languages to learn. There are extensive libraries of tools available online to help you create excellent programs, and it can be used by itself, or as part of a broader framework. Additionally, the job market for programmers fluent in Python has been growing significantly in recent years which makes it the best language to learn as a beginning programmer.
What is Python?
Python is highly versatile, and the easy-to-learn language that has become incredibly popular amongst developers since its development in 1991. It is an interpreted language used primarily in web, video game, and software development. When you run a program created with an interpreted language, the code is reduced to machine-specific instructions. Other interpreted languages include the popular Java and C++, but Python has proven much easier to learn than these other older languages.
According to Python.org, an interpreted language like Python requires fewer lines of code to make a program run – sometimes up to ten times less! This shorter length means that a lot of time can be saved by using Python as opposed to other languages. Where programs created using some of the older languages, such as C++, may take a year to code fully, a Python programmer can finish the same program in about two months. The short programming time and program length make it an excellent option for programmers juggling multiple projects as well as for companies that like short turnaround times.
The biggest downside of Python is that its programs can run slow when compared to those programmed with some other languages. This is because Python is an interpreted language as opposed to a compiled language, which would save a program as machine-specific instructions instead of reducing the code to machine-specific instructions when the program runs, as interpreted languages do. However, despite the speed of the program itself, Python emphasizes a fast “edit-test-debug cycle,” and when a bug does appear, it is easy to find and fix when compared to other languages.
The Growing Demand for Python Programmers
The growing demand for AI, machine learning, and data mining have created an ideal environment for programmers fluent in Python. According to Coding Dojo, Java remains the most popular language amongst new job listings, but Python was the only dominant language to show up in more job listings in 2018 than the previous year. This rise in popularity is because the language appeared in an additional 5,000 listings from 2017. In addition to an increase in job opportunities, the average salary has also risen over $20,000 since 2014, coming in at $108,000 annually. The continually increasing job opportunities and average pay make Python an attractive language to start a career in programming.
Some of the most popular websites and social media platforms in the world were built, in whole or in part, using Python. For example, Instagram’s video sharing functionality showcases the ability of the language to work well alongside other programming languages. The app’s video sharing functionality creates an easy way for people to share video alongside still images millions of times a day. Similarly, Reddit relies on Python for several of the website’s most important user-centric features. Other sites were built entirely using Python. An example of this is Survey Monkey. Interactivity is at the center of the online survey website, and Python has made that functionality possible. Google has also been vocal about the usefulness of Python and Python programmers, saying, “…dozens of Google engineers use Python, and we're looking for more people with skills in this language.”
The fact that Python is easy to learn, can be used in a variety of environments, requires fewer lines of code than other languages, and is currently used on some of the most prominent websites and platforms is enough reason to suggest that the open-source language is the best starting place for a beginner in programming languages. A growing job market with increasingly lucrative opportunities further solidifies Python as the smartest option to begin a career in programming code.