Python Programming Language: The Basics

By DeVry University

With approximately 600 programming languages in existence, you might be surprised to learn that there are only a few that are truly critical to the knowledge base – primarily because they form the foundation of computer programming. These include Java, C Programming, Javascript, Ruby and Python. Python in particular is a standout language because of its widespread use and code readability.

Here, we'll define the Python programming language, explore its uses and highlight reasons why skills in this language are highly relevant in computer programming today.

Python Programming Introduction.

Python is a programming language that provides a set of instructions for a computer to execute. It was developed in 1991 by Guido Van Rossum as a simpler – though still incredibly high-level – programming language. Python is open-source and easy to learn, and it has an extensive list of support libraries. You can use Python for everything from Graphical User Interface (GUI)-based desktop applications to language development for operating systems.

Python Programming Basics.

Python is a foundational, object-oriented programming language, which at a high-level means it leverages use cases and high-level data structures. It is a versatile language that:

  • Embeds easily in applications.
  • Works well with other languages, like C++ and Java.
  • Is known for being faster than other languages for development.
  • Is useful when a program has been written in another language and needs added high-level control and customization.
  • Has an active community of users.
  • Is open source.
  • Is considered to be one of the easier programming languages to learn.

For students in computer programming, Python provides an in-depth understanding of how computer systems and networks operate. Anyone interested in a career path in software, computer engineering or the Internet of Things (IoT) should seek to understand this basic high-tech language as part of their professional tool set.

Python on the Job.

Python provides a wealth of resources for computer programmers and web developers. As noted above, Python is an advanced and general-purpose language and one of its key features is code readability. If you are interested in working in the computer engineering or information technology departments of high-tech companies, knowing this basic and near-universal computer coding language can be critical. Many companies expect their programmers to be able to understand and apply Python to their jobs on a regular basis.

Additionally, foundational knowledge in Python provides the building blocks for understanding other programming languages. Gaining these kinds of programming skills can also be beneficial to those who work in areas such as network and cybersecurity, app design and website development.

The Popularity of Python Programming.

What makes Python so popular is its versatility, says Dr. Gina Cooper, Faculty Chair at DeVry University. "It can be used in a variety of applications such as business, web, scientific, machine learning and data analytics," she explains.

In fact, Python was ranked as the most popular programming language in May 2020 by the PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language index. The language had increased by 4.3 percent in popularity from a year ago. Meanwhile, Java, the number two programming language experienced a 2.4 percent decline in popularity from 2019 to 2020.

Why does Python tend to be the number one choice? According to Dr. Natalie Waksmanski-Krynski, Professor and Faculty Chair at DeVry University, "it has a simple programming syntax making it easier to learn compared to other programming languages such as Java." Additionally, Python is considered a "glue language;" it is used to bring together software mechanisms using prototype components and mainstream syntax.

Python Programming Applications.

Python is an essential part of the future of programming, explains Dr. Cooper, who believes "we will soon see more and more machines programmed with the ability to make data-driven decisions thanks to IoT, artificial intelligence and machine learning."

As for the role Python plays in business as a whole, Dr. Waksmanski-Krynski says, "Python has features to facilitate data analysis and visualization, allowing the audience to quickly grasp concepts, understand trends and identify patterns and outliers in order to make data-driven decisions."

Many large organizations also depend on Python syntax for some or all of their operating components. Here are just a few global organizations that leverage this popular programming language:

Python is frequently used for web and internet development tasks. It has been used to build network frameworks, micro-frameworks and advanced content management systems including Pyramid, Bottle, Flask and Django. Other applications for Python programming include:

  • Scientific and numeric computing.
  • Software development.
  • Business and enterprise management applications.

Additionally, Python is used to write several different types of code that are part of the Internet's coding languages. These include (but are not limited to) HTML, XML, JSON, IMAP, FTP and email processing protocols.

Complimentary Skill Building Videos.

Ready to see what Python is all about? Get to know more about this popular programming language with DeVry University's complimentary skill building videos. These quick, informational videos are a convenient way to expand your knowledge at your own pace. Options include:

When it comes to learning a new skill, every insight that you gain can be another opportunity to help you reach your goals faster – and taking advantage of complimentary online resources can be a great place to start.

Earn Your Degree at DeVry.

If you are interested in pursuing a career that leverages the Python programming language, DeVry offers several associate and bachelor’s degree programs to help you get ready. In fact, all of our Tech Core programs teach Python within the curriculum. These include:

These additional programs also include coursework that teaches Python:

Depending on the path you choose, additional tools and resources may be available to you – such as a complimentary laptop for students pursuing an applicable program1. Additionally, a portable IoT toolkit is included in the cost of attendance for students enrolled in select tech programs, and students in certain programs may even qualify for reimbursement for specific industry certification exam fees.

Dr. Waksmanski-Krynski offers one piece of advice for students interested in learning more about the Python programming language: "Learning programming is a lot like learning a foreign language, except you're learning how to speak to a computer so that it can execute or automate a process for you. Anyone can learn to use Python successfully – the key is to be patient with yourself and devote time to practice."

Ready to get started? Contact us to learn more about our courses that feature Python and degree programs that can help you pursue your career goals.

1One complimentary laptop is provided to students enrolled in the Associate of Information Technology and Networking, Bachelor’s of Information Technology and Networking, Bachelor’s of Software Development, Bachelor’s of Engineering Technology – Electronics and Bachelor’s of Computer Information Systems. The laptop is issued during the student’s second session. Certain restrictions apply.

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