Python as a First Language: is it the Right Move?

  • 10 mins read

Python as a First Language: is it the Right Move?

Choosing your first programming language is a lot like choosing your first car.

You want to pick something that is reliable, cost-effective, and easy enough to get the hang of quickly.

You want to find the best deal so you don’t end up paying more in the future. 

Tons of developers and programmers choose Python as their first programming language. It’s been going strong since the 1980s, and it isn’t losing any steam over time.

If anything, Python is proving that time can be extraordinarily beneficial for a programming language. It has aged like a fine wine, something you’d be proud to show off to party guests.

You’re going to spend a lot of time with the first programming language that you learn. You may even use it for the entirety of your career. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure you choose correctly the first time.

Why Choose Python?

Python is popular and beloved by many major companies both in and out of the tech industry.

Google is one of Python’s biggest fans; they actively refuse to use anything else unless they have no other choice–and then they will settle for C++ for their products.

It is such an impressive programming language that it was named the 4th most popular in the entire world in 2022. 

Readable

Python has an entire manifesto that details its philosophy, which developers take extremely seriously. One of its main points was that Python was designed to be as readable as possible.

It states, “Simple is better than complex” and “Readability counts.”

The language’s keywords are written in simple English. Those with little to no experience with coding can read most of Python’s commands because they are recognizable words.

This also makes it easy to learn Python quickly

Many new developers want to choose a language that they can learn in as little time as possible. Python is a great option if you want to start taking clients within your first year of learning a programming language.

Versatile

Several factors contribute to a programming language’s versatility.

Python is a unique beast; it’s used in a variety of fields outside of web development and computer programming that may be unexpected to beginners.

For example, Python is used by data scientists, data analysts, machine learning, and game developers.

A thorough understanding of Python makes you a valuable candidate for potential employers. This is especially true as technology continues to grow at unprecedented rates.

You’ll want to learn at least one programming language that is used by AI programmers. Python is incredibly popular among AI programmers since it seamlessly updates as technology transforms.

Most beginners learn a programming language simply by understanding they have a deep desire to create something. 

Coding is a great base; you have an entire language at your disposal to build whatever you want.

Still, you might not know what you want to build when you first start. Python’s unique versatility enables you to grow with it over time, eventually figuring out your career path as you learn.

Community

Programming takes a village! While it may seem like a solo endeavor, it’s better with a support system surrounding you.

Learning a programming language is easier and quicker when you have a community to lean on.

This is especially effective with older languages since they have had plenty of time to troubleshoot current or past issues while predicting potential future ones.

Plus, there are plenty of people online and IRL who are excited to take on new mentees. Finding a mentor can be extremely beneficial, even critical, to learning your first programming language.

There is an abundance of resources provided to you by your community while you are learning Python. Chat forums, documents, video tutorials, and more are available to you and can be found within minutes.

Learning Python

Its impressive accessibility has made it possible to learn Python in record time.

These days, many new developers and programmers are choosing to learn their first programming language from home. 

Often, people make careers by completely self-teaching their first programming language. Python, of course, stands out from the crowd due to the myriad of resources at your disposal.

You can even engage with some curricula just with your smartphone.

College Courses

Python is known as the academic programming language.

It’s the gold standard for college curriculum. If you’re planning on pursuing an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, odds are you’ll learn Python at some point in your studies.

There are entire courses dedicated to learning specific programming languages at some institutions. It’s a good idea to research your institution’s offerings before applying to or enrolling at one. 

Additionally, Python is taught outside of web development and computer programming educational paths. Sometimes, it’s taught in science courses or mathematics.

Data analysts, data scientists, and other surprising careers use Python regularly because it can solve mathematical equations.

To reiterate, this is one of the most versatile programming languages in existence. College courses provide an extra layer of cushioning to avoid any errors that may arise in self-teaching.

A common modern myth suggests that college degrees are useless in the job market, and you should just pursue self-teaching.

This simply isn’t true! At least 70% of web developers have a Bachelor’s degree. Web development is an incredibly saturated market. It’s worth it to consider all possible avenues that would give you a more competitive resume for potential employers, including college degrees.

Bootcamps

If you do not have the capacity to commit to a college degree program, there are plenty of boot camps that teach Python in a matter of months. 

These boot camps are often led by accredited institutions with certified instructors.

They also come in a wide range of price points, adhering to as many beginner budgets as possible.

Typically, boot camps from a well-known university are less expensive than enrolling as a full-time student. These courses are designed for people who are interested in coding with little to no experience. 

Boot camps are a great way to learn because they are not only affordable but they provide daily and weekly opportunities to practice the language. 

The only true way to master a programming language is to practice it once per day.

Self-motivated, autonomous people tend to thrive by self-teaching programming languages.

Online Learning Hubs

There are tons of places to pick up new career skills and hobbies.

GitHub is a great place to learn code while you practice code. It also features a forum where you can engage in a productive, open dialogue with peers and potential mentors.

Similarly, Codefinity and Hackbright Academy offer excellent material for you to use to learn Python from the comfort of your own home.

These days, people are seeking fulfilling remote work, and working from home is especially popular among web developers. Learning your first programming language is simply the first step.

Starting this way, without pursuing a traditional college degree can sometimes provide extra benefits. Self-taught coders often move on to pursue freelance careers, at least in their early stages. Boot camps and online learning hubs create habits that promote autonomy which is crucial for a freelance career.

Tips

Learning your first programming language is a daunting process, even with all the resources that are available to you.

Getting started with any new skill, especially one that you plan to base your career off of, requires dedication and patience.

When you begin learning Python, you should:

  • Pace yourself – most people want to learn their first programming language quickly, especially because there are so many resources available for that. When you aim to learn a programming language quickly, you may miss out on some critical material. Plus, you subject yourself to potential burnout. Pace yourself to promote skill mastery and avoid burning out before you can really begin.
  • Check your sources – there are so many resources available to learn Python that you may find some dishonest information. Check to make sure you’re learning only from accredited institutions and reliable outlets.
  • Set goals – think in terms of both long and short-term goals. Separating the bigger picture and everyday goals will keep you on track as you begin your career. For example, telling yourself that you’ll learn Python in less than a year is great, but creating smaller milestones in between will help you get there.
  • Get feedback – engaging with your community is critical as you learn. In fact, we even recommend community enrichment when you are a seasoned developer or programmer. Your peers can provide valuable feedback, as well as encouragement when you’re being a little hard on yourself.
  • Practice daily – you should be setting aside at least 15 minutes a day to practice coding. You don’t need to have a specific project in mind to practice with, either. Instead, think of specific skills you’re working on and establish those. For example, 15 minutes of practice could look like memorizing important vocabulary or commands.
  • Be persistent – coding can become frustrating and daunting. There may even be times when you feel like giving up. However, if it’s your dream to become a programmer or developer, the results are well worth the obstacles. Give yourself a little reassurance and credit where it’s due when you begin to lose your stamina. 
  • Self-Care – dedicating your time to learning Python is a noble quest. However, coding requires you to sit at your computer for prolonged periods. It is absolutely crucial that you emphasize self-care while you learn. Staying hydrated, eating well, and getting regular exercise will actually encourage you to learn Python faster.

FAQs

Is Python a good beginner programming language?

Yes! Many colleges and universities teach it because it is as easy to learn as it is versatile. There is extraordinarily high employer demand for developers and programmers who know Python. It is one of the most recommended languages for beginners, next to well-known ones like HTML and Java.

Who uses Python?

Many professions use Python to complete a number of operations. You might be surprised to find that it isn’t just front-end, back-end, and full-stack developers who use the programming language daily. Data analysts, data journalists, data scientists, and more use Python to get complex work done. Sometimes, Python is even taught to solve mathematical equations.

Which companies use Python?

Google is one of Python’s most famous supporters! They will do as much as they can to prevent needing to use any other programming language for their prestigious products. Netflix, Intel, and Pixar use Python; however, perhaps most impressively, Python is used by NASA for a variety of reasons.

Should I learn Python or HTML first?

It’s up to you! Python differs from HTML in many ways, but especially in terms of readability. Python’s readability is unique because it is written in simple English, unlike a lot of HTML. Consider your desired area of focus before choosing your first programming language. Your goals may also change over time!

Is Python a poor choice for a first and only language?

Yes and no. Python is an excellent choice for a first language. It offers many benefits for beginners and can really help you create a robust skillset as you get your foot in the door. However, you should err on the side of caution choosing to learn only one language. If Python is your first, master it, and try another on for size!

Do I need to learn HTML before I learn Python?

No! You can learn either one first. Python is a unique coding language and presents a different learning curve than HTML. However, “different” does not equal “impossible.” Both languages come with obstacles and challenges. Still, you can learn them in tandem, or you can choose to learn Python first–it’s up to you!