Introduction

The Python programming language lets you build many types of programs like:

  • Business apps to capture, analyze, and process data.
  • Dynamic web apps that a web browser can access.
  • Games in both 2D and 3D.
  • Financial and scientific apps.
  • Cloud-based apps.
  • Mobile apps.

As programming languages go, Python is relatively simple yet powerful. This combination likely has contributed to its enormous popularity. Beyond the programming language itself, Python boasts a wealth of libraries that can reduce complex tasks into a few lines of code.

This module starts by explaining the most basic concepts to make sure you have a firm grasp on how programming works. We'll discuss:

  • The role of a programming language's syntax.
  • The need for compilation and interpretation.
  • The process of programming.
  • The tools you need to build your own software development environment.

What's the best way to learn Python?

The best way to learn how to build Python programs is to write as much Python code as you can. Soon, you'll work through dozens of small code examples. When you get to that point, we'll encourage you to type along with the exercises. Completing the exercises and solving small coding challenges will help you learn more quickly.

But first, we'll cover some high-level conceptual information. In the next module, we'll help you install and configure the tools you need to get started.

After we help you get oriented, you'll start writing code. Continually practice and explore by completing exercises and challenges. These actions reinforce foundational concepts. You'll build on these concepts throughout your career.

Let's start with the most basic question: what exactly is Python? To answer what question, you must understand how a programming language lets a human communicate instructions to a computer.

Learning objectives

In this module, you'll learn:

  • What a programming language does.
  • Why Python is so popular.
  • Why Python is a great choice as your first programming language.
  • Why you must compile your code into a format that computers understand.
  • The process of programming.
  • What software tools you must install.

Prerequisites

  • None