If you want to learn to code and don’t know where to start, the Python programming language is a great ‘first’ language. Python is easy to get running, easy to write, and easy to read. This makes Python programming not only a popular choice for beginners and educators, but for professionals as well. All types of science and technology professionals use 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!
- What is Python?
- Comprehensive Introductions to Python Programming
- Python Through Computer Science
What is Python?
Python is an object-oriented programming language with an emphasis on human readability, extensibility via modules, and simplicity (meaning only one or two ways to accomplish a task). Python has a huge range of applications:
- Run server scripts
- Build static websites
- Analyze data
- Develop games
- Run queries against MySQL databases
- Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI)
- Python Installs Packages (PIP) package management system
Python 2.X was discontinued in April 2020. Similar to PHP, developers must sometimes update code to implement the next version, Python 3.
Below we’ll explain how to learn Python for free, no matter your preferred learning style.
Comprehensive Introductions to Python Programming
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. The short course provides an overview of everything from basic operations to a simple introduction of object oriented programming. If you’ve never done any programming before, check out this course first; you may be surprised by how simple and readable Python code can be.
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. Al 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 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 the basics of Python before using the language to study algorithms. If you want a multimedia introduction to computer science, start here!
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.
If what you’re looking for isn’t listed above, don’t hesitate to check InMotion Hosting’s Support Center. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about getting started with programming and point you in the right direction if you’re looking for a specific resource.