Why You Should Learn to Program in Python

Python Script
Source: techrepublic.com

Looking for a way to make life easier and more fun? Python is the answer! Not the animal, but the computer programming language. Python is rapidly increasing in popularity among not just experienced professional but also beginners all around the world. The language is renowned for its ability to easily manipulate data. Through Python, you can create your own calculator to cut homework time in half or have more fun with it and be able to analyze the statistics of your favorite sports team.

Read on to find my top three reasons for why you start your journey in learning python today.

Data compiled from a survey facilitated by Stack Overflow

1. Python Is Quick and Easy to Learn

The syntax of Python is clear and easy to understand. When compared to other languages such as Java or C++, Python usually requires fewer lines of code and more friendly to the eye. For example, let’s compare a scenario where the computer is programmed to print out the phrase “Hello World.”

public class Greeting {
   public static void main(Stringp[] args) {
       System.out.println("Hello World!");
   }
}
print("Hello World!")

Which box do you think is coded in Python?

In the first box, a class has to be created first to execute the subsequent code that prints “Hello World.” Then, a “main” method is created for a place to insert the command that prints “Hello World.” Finally, “Hello World” is printed in a print line that combines three different words. On the other hand, the second box features one line of code: the command “print” and the phrase “Hello World” inserted just after it. This makes it very clear as to what the computer is being told to do i.e. to print “Hello World.”

Now for the answer: the second box is the one written in Python and the first is in Java. See, I told you Python was simple. In fact, almost every industry uses Python in one way or another. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

2. Flexible: Numerous Industries Utilize Python

Web Development:

Python allows web developers to code websites or apps that appear on smartphones and smart TVs. Many of the world’s leading tech companies utilize Python is some form or another. Netflix is one of these companies and the streaming service pays tribute to the ease at which Python code can be executed.

Developers at Netflix have the freedom to choose the technologies best suited for the job. More and more, developers turn to Python due to its rich batteries–included standard library, succinct and clean yet expensive syntax, large developer community, and the wealth of third party libraries one can tap into to solve a given problem.

Netflix

Netflix is just one of many large companies that implement Python to create the backbone of their services. A few other companies include Google, Instagram, and Spotify. Aside from being extremely user friendly, Python is also equipped with Web Frameworks. Web Frameworks are packages of code that provides the developer with a place to get started; the developer does not have to code from scratch. One of the most popular web frameworks used among web developers is called Django. Django provides the backend code which is tied to advanced functionality such as authentication support, contact forms, and file upload support. Think of Django as a template.

Data Analytics:

In order for data to be useful, it must be organized. Again, web frameworks make data processing relatively simple. For example, programmers can take advantage of NumPy and Pandas web frameworks to cut the amount of up-front work down significantly and easily convert vast amounts of data into easily readable charts and graphs.

A specific way in which data analysts use Python in their job is through data mining. For example, with the help of web frameworks such as Scrapy and BeautifulSoup, data analysts can analyze data and eventually depict patterns in consumer behavior. This helps businesses narrow in on what they want to target the consumer with.

Twitter is a platform with infinite amounts of data. With Python, companies can analyze public opinion of their business which provides valuable information to improve marketing strategies. To preface the following example, it is important to understand what an API is. API is short for Application Programming Interface and it contains a special set of commands. For twitter, their API contains commands that enable programmers to retrieve data; this makes the process easier as the programmer does not have to create their own commands. However, the API cannot be access directly so programmers use a tool called Tweepy to do that.

Let’s say we want to analyze the public sentiment of Toptal, company that connects freelancers to clients.

First, Tweepy is imported to create an API object, which is enabled by entering information that authenticates the developer.

Note: lines of code starting with the “#” symbol indicate a comment.

import tweepy
#steps for developer authetication
consumer_key = "wXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX1"
consumer_secret = "qXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXh"
access_token = "9XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXi"
access_token_secret = "kXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXT"

Next, the API object is created.

# Creating the authentication object
auth = tweepy.OAuthHandler(consumer_key, consumer_secret)
# Setting your access token and secret
auth.set_access_token(access_token, access_token_secret)
# Creating the API object while passing in auth information
api = tweepy.API(auth) 

Then, variables are created, the API object is called upon, and a for loop is used to print the tweets associated with the company. In case you are unfamiliar with a for loop, it is a command that continuously runs the program until a certain number of tweets are found or the program has found all tweets associated with Two Sigma.

# Creating the API object while passing in auth information
api = tweepy.API(auth)
# The search term you want to find
query = "Toptal"
# Language code (en is english)
language = "en"
# Calling the user_timeline function with our parameters
results = api.search(q=query, lang=language)
# foreach through all tweets pulled
for tweet in results:
# printing the text stored inside the tweet object
print tweet.user.screen_name,"Tweeted:",tweet.text

Example of the program’s output:

The resulting output from the code above
Source: toptal.com

Note: the above code was provided by toptal.com

Clearly, Python makes the process of analyzing a company’s sentiment a simple and quick process. This method is used by countless businesses and helps them develop more effective marketing practices, in turn reducing advertising costs, and boosting sales. Thus, Python developers are highly desirable individuals companies of all kinds are looking to employ.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML):

Python is increasingly finding itself in AI discussion. First, it is important to understand AI and its interaction with ML. You can think of AI as computers that behave like humans; think of Siri from Apple. Meanwhile, ML is a subcategory of AI and it gathers information for systems like Siri to make decisions.

Summary of Python’s usefulness to AI and ML
Source: edureka.com

AI and ML are two of the most significant pioneers of data science which has increased the demand for Python in their field. As discussed in the Twitter example above, Python is incredibly effective at managing data. Furthermore, AI and ML rely on the simplicity provided by Python to generate solutions quickly without having to start from scratch. It is critical that the advantages provided by Python are utilized by AI because the algorithms required by these machines are significantly large in size. Additionally, Python is platform independent, meaning, it can be complied across various operating systems such as, MacOS, Windows, Linux, etc.

Clearly, Python has a place in numerous industries which highlights its status as a promising career to pursue.

3. Strong Career Outlook

Employed by some of the world’s most prominent companies including but not limited to Google, Youtube, Facebook, IBM, Instagram, and Reddit, Python is well respected. Thus, if you are interested in pursuing Python as a career, there are plenty of jobs available. Exponential growth in fields such as data analytics and AI have contributed to increased jobs.

According to Stack Overflow’s 2021 Developer Survey, Python was the 3rd most popular programming language out of over 83,000 respondents.

Most commonly used programming languages
Source: Stack Overflow

Moreover, the Python community is an extremely expansive one and offers programmers countless resources. In fact, when over fifty thousand professional developers were asked what they do when they get stuck on a problem, almost 90% of the time they google it. The internet has transformed into a great learning space and a destination for collaboration among professionals from all around the world, simultaneously increasing innovation.

Most common resources used to find a solution for a problem
Source: Stack Overflow

In terms of pay, a career in Python development puts you in a financially stable position but it has the possibility of proving to be tremendously lucrative. Per Zip Recruiter, the generic Python developer earns between $72,000 to $160,000 a year. Although not significantly large in a relative sense, the wide range between these two figures indicates that the opportunity to grow and increase your salary is likely. However, if you engineer your own software and sell it, you could make millions of dollars. While the chances of this are slim, they are undoubtedly there and perhaps increasing as the field of data science and AI are constantly growing.

Despite the money appeal, it is important that you are interested in Python and its applications in data science and AI. Pushing yourself through a career that does not appeals to your interest is not sustainable. Choose wisely.

Careers using Python
Source: adjusted.com

Python is easier than ever to start learning today. With the internet, there are endless applications to learn Python on. For example, explore online sites such as Udemy or Codecademy. If you do not like the idea of learning via the internet or would like extra resources take a trip to your local bookstore. If the selection at your book store is limited, visit Amazon.com as they have a wide array of books to choose from.

Despite the value of the resources above, do not forget about the site you are on right now, STEM From Scratch. Our computer science team is composed of select individuals with high regard for the science and they are continuously adding resources to the website. Visit the computer science subject page to find videos, self-study books, ways to get involved with others in programming, and more.

References

https://www.dataquest.io/blog/how-long-does-it-take-to-learn-python/

https://www.edureka.co/blog/artificial-intelligence-with-python/

https://www.ideamotive.co/blog/python-for-data-analysis

https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2021

https://www.pythonforbeginners.com/learn-python/what-is-django

https://www.toptal.com/python/twitter-data-mining-using-python

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