There’s never a bad time to learn Python. If you’re totally new to this snaky language, never fear—there are tons of tutorials and documentation online to help you get started.
In September 2019, Microsoft launched a video series, “Python for Beginners,” with 44 short videos (most under five minutes in length; none longer than 13 minutes). It covered everything from “Hello world” to calling APIs. Now the company has added more videos in the series: “More Python for Beginners” and “Even More Python for Beginners: Data Tools.”
“More Python for Beginners” (20 videos) covers key concepts such as managing a file system and asynchronous operations; “Even More Python for Beginners: Data Tools” (31 videos) is a pretty intensive look into using the language for data science.
Focusing a substantial portion of these videos on data science is an interesting move, and speaks to Python’s increasing relevance (some would say dominance) in the realms of data science and analysis. Over the past few years, the language has even managed to put a serious squeeze (so to speak) on data-specialist languages such as R.
“Behind Python’s growth is a speedily-expanding community of data science professionals and hobbyists—and the tools and frameworks they use every day,” stated GitHub’s most recent State of the Octoverse, which suggested that the language had gained 151 percent in usage between 2018 and 2019. “These include the many core data science packages powered by Python that are both lowering the barriers to data science work and proving foundational to projects in academia and companies alike.”
Of course, when it comes to online learning, options abound, and there are more ways to learn Python than just Microsoft-produced videos. Anyone who wants to learn the language should swing past Python.org, which offers tons of documentation, including a useful beginner’s guide to programming in it. Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, you can then focus on writing faster code (via Functions, Lists, and more), debugging, and other more advanced skills. A variety of tutorials and books (some of which will cost a monthly fee) can help you with the language in the context of data analytics and other fields.
You can download the language’s most recent stable version on the Python downloads page (and if you can’t decide between versions 2 and 3, this page will help you choose). If you’re interested in learning additional programming languages, websites such as Codeacademy, Code.org, and Codewars all have free online courses in coding various languages.