Why learn Python as your first programming language?

Web applications can be written in Python, Java, Ruby, Erlang, Haskell, Elixir, etc. If you don’t recognize these names, they are all programming languages.

However, there are certain platforms like mobile development where just a few programming languages dominate. If you want to create Android apps, you’d most likely do it in Java/Kotlin. If you’re creating apps for iOS, you will most likely write them in Swift (or Objective-C).

Despite your end-result, you should not shy away from learning Python as your first language. I’ll give you a couple of reasons.

There is a difference between learning a language, and learning to code

When you’re just starting out, you’re doing two things at once:

  1. Learning to code
  2. Learning a particular language (like Python)

As a beginner, you can’t distinguish between the two just yet. Once you learn a language well, you’re able to switch to another language easily because the core concepts are the same.

When you’re starting out, it’s important that you learn to solve problems using programming. Python is just a medium. The concepts that you’ll learn are much more valuable than knowing the syntax of Python.

Thus, you just study programming by first learning a language that’s the most convenient to learn. Then, you apply the concepts of programming into learning something like Java (if you want to build Android apps) or Swift (if you want to build iOS apps).

Your efforts with learning Python won’t go to waste.

Python is taught at many universities as the first language

MIT, for example, has an introductory programming course that uses Python. The point here is not that Python’s the best beginner language. MIT used to use a language called Scheme a while back.

The point here is that if you decide to learn Python as your first language, then you get access to a greater pool of resources. Although you could learn from a lot of tutorials online, but if you were ever curious on what’s being taught in universities, this is your opportunity.

MIT has a wonderful Open CourseWare (OCW) program that makes many classroom videos of MIT available for free. Whenever you’re done with basics of Python, you can always do the next recommended course by the university.

Python has a very large community of new developers

The curse of knowledge is that you forget what it was like to “not know.” This is why experienced people use words like “it’s simple,” but the beginner really doesn’t find it simple.

To learn something well, you need knowledge and motivation. Knowledge is something that you get from courses and books. However, motivation is something that you can get from learning in a group. Python has many beginner communities where people are not only new to Python, but also the world of programming. This is the right place to share notes, ask for help when you’re stuck, and get motivated by other people’s success stories.

Being part of a community that has the same goal as you gives you the ultimate motivation.

Python is useful in a wide variety of fields & has high commercial value

This is a partial list of things that Python is useful in:

  1. Web development
  2. Machine learning & data science
  3. Game development
  4. Image processing
  5. Music
  6. … and a lot more

Some of the fields above are huge. Machine learning, for example, encompasses everything from recognizing digits on a piece of paper to what Amazon Alexa can do.

You can create whatever you dream of in any language. But if the market is already using Python, then you can always get into a job that solves interesting problems by refining your Python skills.

In conclusion

If you always wanted to learn coding but didn’t know where to start, then grab a Python course or book, and just dive in! Don’t think about it. Don’t put your self into analysis-paralysis.

You will grasp all the basics that you need to know about programming from a Python course. Then, you’d have more information to know what to do next.

Still having doubts? Write to me in the comment section below and I’ll try to help as much as possible!

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