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Python Programming – What and Why (2020)

the incredible growth of python according to stackoverflow trends
Growth of Python

According to Stack Overflow Trends, Python Programming Language is the most popular language right now. Its growth rate is higher than any other language. In 2017, Stack Overflow published a blog with the title “The Incredible Growth of Python“. They said:

We recently explored how wealthy countries (those defined as high-income by the World Bank) tend to visit a different set of technologies than the rest of the world. Among the largest differences we saw was in the programming language Python. When we focus on high-income countries, the growth of Python is even larger than it might appear from tools like Stack Overflow Trends, or in other rankings that consider global software development.

The Incredible Growth of Python
tiobe index of programming languages
tiobe index

According to the Tiobe Index, Python is currently the 3rd most popular programming language. The reason for Python’s being so popular is its use in statistical analyses. They said:

lots of statistics and data mining need to be done to find a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus. As a consequence, statistical programming languages that are easy to learn and use, gain popularity now

Tiobe Index July, 2020

What is Python Programming

Python is a modern general-purpose, object-oriented, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. It was developed by a Dutch programmer Guido van Rossum and first published in 1991. You may think it has been named after Python, the snake. But in reality, the name comes from Monty Python, a popular comedy show.

Programmers easily fall in love with Python because of the increased productivity it provides. In a nutshell:

  • Simplicity: Python has a very clean syntax. It’s easy to learn, highly readable. The syntax mostly uses whitespace instead of lots of curly braces and semicolons like other programming languages. Hence, the maintenance cost is very low.
  • Cross-Platform: The code works on all major OS like Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, etc. No change is needed when using codes from one platform to another.
  • Easy Debugging: Whenever an error occurs, Python raises an error message with a hint about what could be the problem. Hence, it’s easy to fix problems. You can even debug your code with a simple print function!
  • Code reuse: Python supports modules and packages. So if you have a code that needs to be reused, just import it in one line and keep using it! In fact, this is one of the biggest advantages of Python.
  • Pre-built Packages: Currently, there are 1,968,144 packages available in PYPI (Python Package Index). Just install what you need and start using it.
  • Community: Python has a huge community. You can ask for help anywhere in Stack Overflow, Quora, Reddit, Facebook, and where not!

A ‘Hello World’ program in Python looks like this:

print('Hello World!')

Isn’t it so simple and readable? You’re just saying, ‘Hey Python, print ‘Hello World!’ for me’.

What is Python used for?

Each programming language is the best in its own sectors. Although Python is a general-purpose language, only choose Python language over others in the following fields. Just remember one thing, when the end result is more important than the program execution time, use Python.

Python in Scientific Analysis

In scientific analysis, you need to focus on the end result, not the structure of a language. Although Python is slower compared to C, C++, or Java, it’s so simple to use that scientists use Python to deploy their models. Say you’re finding a vaccine for COVID-19. You need to analyze lots of data, visualize them depending on different factors, take decisions, and a lot. If you try to use C, for example, then you need to concentrate on the syntax a lot. It takes a long time to even deploy an initial model. Your program will run faster, but shouldn’t you concentrate on the end result instead of syntax?

Python in Data Science, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence

If you’re interested in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DL), Data Science (DS), then you must learn Python. This is by far the most important application of Python. There are lots of pre-built libraries and frameworks that will make your life easy. For example,

  • Numpy
  • Matplotlib
  • Pandas
  • Tensorflow
  • Keras
  • Pytorch
  • Scikit Learn
  • and a lot more

Just learn the maths and theories behind each model, and deploy them in Python without concentrating on the syntax.

Python in Web Development

You can use Python in server-side web development, known as back-end development. It is mainly used in creating web apps. Browsers can’t run Python, but they can run JavaScript. So developers use JavaScript and Python together, where Python works in server-side and JavaScript in the browser. Moreover, Python is useful in the back-end to store and manage user information. It also helps how information transfers to and from the server. Python frameworks help to assure the stability and security of the servers within no time. If you’re interested in web app development with Python, you should consider learning these frameworks:

  • Flask – A micro and lightweight framework
  • Django – Not the most flexible, but has the most features, is secured, and tested

Python in Cryptography

crypt means hidden and graphy means writing. It’s a method of protecting information. Cryptography is a very interesting part of the Computer Science world. In fact, it has a great impact on WW2. You encrypt a message with a key and no one can decrypt it without the key. Creating a key requires high IQ and mathematical knowledge. But Python has made it easy for us. Python has a dedicated library to cryptography, named as cryptography. In case you’re interested, Stanford University offers 2 cryptography courses on Coursera which uses Python.

Python in Robotics

Are you interested in Robotics Operating System (ROS)? Then Python is a must for you to get started with ROS. Because ROS uses Python within it! The latest version of ROS, ROS Noetic, started using Python 3. Earlier versions use Python 2.7. In robotics with Python, you most likely are using Raspberry Pi, which is a cheap, small single-board computer and runs Linux OS. Try googling Raspberry Pi projects!

Others

The list is very big as Python is a general-purpose language. You can use it for software development, game development, molecular biology, and a lot! When starting with a project, just check the PYPI if Python has support for your project.

What Should be my First Programming Language

The main purpose of a programming language is to solve problems. So the underlying concept is the same for every language. If you’re comfortable with any Programming language, you can easily switch to another. That’s why programmers are always seen to know more than one language. As Python is easy to learn (in fact, the easiest), and also has a vast field to work on, you should learn it to explore the programming world. When you’re comfortable with all the concepts, choose the best language for your field of interest. Don’t worry, programming is not tough, but the syntax might be!

Conclusion

Install Python using Anaconda as it’s the best way of using Python. Keep following the tutorials as arranged in the Python page. You’ll definitely enjoy your Python journey!

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