Quality Python Programming Resources for Beginners

Python is a great ‘first’ programming language. Python is easy to read and easy to install on all popular platforms. A beginner will have no trouble getting started; experienced professionals will be able to pick up Python with ease. Programmers use the language in numerous disciplines. Working on a server, running the back end of a website, performing data analysis, and designing games can all be done using Python.

With thousands of Python tutorials available online, it can be tough figuring out where to start. If you are just starting out with Python, you’re probably looking for resources that are comprehensive, practical, and beginner friendly. The freely available books and courses listed below are an excellent place to start!

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Comprehensive Introductions

A Byte of Python

This simple, straightforward introduction to Python and programming gets right to the point. Starting at software installation and moving on from there, ‘A Byte of Python’ is everything you could want in a language introduction– all freely available online.

Automate the Boring Stuff with Python

One of the best things about Python is that it helps you take care of small, repetitive tasks quickly. Chores like reformatting addresses in a text (TXT) file and running some checks on a handful of databases don’t have to take hours. Python lets you swiftly write miniature programs to do the work for you. Sweigert’s book introduces you to Python in this context. You will learn the syntax of Python, the fundamentals of programming, and how to make your work easier!

The National Security Agency’s Python Training Document

The United States government’s cybersecurity professionals have a practical need to learn programming. This instructor’s manual for the NSA’s Python training course was recently released to the public. While the guide is formatted more for instructors than self-learners, it is still well organized and worth skimming for an overview of the language.

Python Through Computer Science

Think Python

Think Python is chiefly concerned with introducing the reader to computer science. The book’s gradual progression also provides a clear overview of Python’s syntax. One highlight is a look at the object-oriented programming principles which form the basis of larger Python applications.

Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python

Enroll in this MIT designed programming course for free on the edX platform. The course looks at basic of Python before using the language to study algorithms. If you want a multimedia introduction to computer science, start here!

Composing Programs

Based on classic computer science textbooks, ‘Composing Programs’ is a comprehensive introduction to programming and program design using Python. The book was developed at UC Berkeley as a modern successor to the classic ‘Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs’. The book is less a collection of introductory coding concepts and more of an academic introduction to computer science as a subject. While challenging, the exploration of computational thinking and programming design is worth study. Few things provide as much of a ‘big picture’ look at programming as this book.

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