Guide

Ask 3: Why you should learn Python

January 23, 2018  |  Jim Christopher
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If you’re ready to master a new technology, it pays to hear from someone who knows. In our Ask 3 series, we interview an expert from our worldwide network of authors to help you learn about the most important technologies today. In our third post of the series, Python pro Jim Christopher answers three questions about this critical technology.

Python is a rare bird among programming languages. Few languages are prevalent in so many disciplines: web development, data analytics, biology, operations, robotics, graphics, image manipulation, etc. Fewer can boast being almost 30 years old to boot. This combination – a professionally diverse community feeding a platform for nearly three decades – puts Python in a rather magical space. The challenge with Python isn’t finding a problem where you can use it; the challenge is finding a problem where you can’t. 

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What's the most important thing happening in Python right now?

Python adoption is accelerating in key industries, due at least in part to the surge of interest in data science and machine learning—spaces where Python has become a staple technology. Looking at patterns of Stack Overflow queries across languages, the growth of Python is clearly being demonstrated. 

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What's an adjacent skill/technology that complements Python?

At present, the most commonly cited reasons to learn Python are its applications in data science and software development. However, there really isn’t a field where you wouldn’t benefit from knowing Python. Python is used as an automation platform for several graphics and design applications, it’s an omnipresent language in cloud and datacenter operations, it’s used routinely in massive biological analytics applications like the Human Genome Project and it’s a common platform for robotics programming.

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What does the future look like for Python?

If Python isn’t everywhere, it will be soon. One of the biggest indicators I can find at the moment is Microsoft is considering adding support for the language to its flagship Excel office product. 

Part of the reason that Python is so successful is because it’s comparatively simple to many other programming languages and platforms. The language syntax is very straightforward; however the platform built around that language is immense and can feel very daunting. The natural place to begin your journey is learning the Python language—get the core syntax and structure down first. Once you feel comfortable with the language, your knowledge of the platform will come from solving real problems. Want to find out where your Python skills stand? Start by getting your Python IQ.

Want to measure more skills and be entered to win cool prizes? Join our Take 3 challenge.

 

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Jim Christopher

is the Curriculum Director for Enterprise Content at Pluralsight. He has over 18 years of experience developing software for aerospace,... See more