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What’s the Best Way to Learn Python? Top Tips from Experts

Posted in Python, Courses

If you are a non-programmer, Python could be your starting point as it is on the top of the top programming languages of the 2022 list and is also the easiest to learn. If you know any other programming languages, learning Python will be a breeze for you. Except for the syntax differences, the basic concepts of object-oriented programming remain the same. Also, Python has extensive libraries that support almost everything that you want to do.

But is there a best way to learn Python? Read on to find out more!

What is Python Like?

Python:

  • Has readable and easily understandable support modules that encourages code reuse
  • A cross-platform language – code once, run anywhere (Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac, etc…)
  • An interpreted language – interpreter executes each line of code one by one, making it easy to debug
  • Open-source, so you can easily practice anytime you want

Further, Python has an excellent set of standard libraries that:

  • allow integration with other languages like Java, C, C++
  • supports object-oriented programming

With these in mind, let’s go through the topics that you need to learn to master Python, starting from the basics to advanced topics. By the end of this article, you should have a solid understanding of Python that can help you learn the language a bit more easily.

To begin, you can install Python from its official page.

Recommend Python Course

Complete Python Bootcamp From Zero to Hero in Python

The Best Way to Learn Python: Things to Remember

What is the best way to learn Python? Quite honestly, as with anything, there is no single “right” way to begin. After all, everyone’s brain works differently, which means everyone learns in a different way. Therefore, the best way to learn Python is to implement whatever you read. Just open your laptop, install Python, and start coding. You can learn as you go!

Everyone has their own best ways to learn Python, but one thing’s for certain — these tips below can make it easier for you.

  • If you are a non-programmer, have a little extra patience. You will get there for sure. Python is the easiest way to get into programming (or at least one of the easiest ways). The best way to learn Python for a non-programmer is to go slowly and patiently. Taking your time to understand core concepts before moving on can help build a strong foundation for you to build upon.
  • Think of what application you want to create first and make your learning plan around it. Preferably, try building a simple website using Django along the way.
  • If you get an error, that means you are going in the right direction. If you make a lot of mistakes, that’s great — because mistakes are how you can learn to do things correctly in the long run. Every error should make you excited and eager to find the solution. The best learning is through errors and exceptions.
  • Take a reputed online course to kickstart your Python journey. From Zero to Hero in Python is one of the best courses on the internet to start learning Python.
  • Learn the syntax along the way. Don’t spend too much time learning the syntax alone. Have a project set up with an IDE like PyCharm, and start coding. You will get to know the syntax as you write more code.
  • Start with a simple project and enhance the functionality as you code. Include more complex concepts as you begin learning them.

Okay, without any more theories, let’s talk a bit more about the concepts and components of Python.

You might want to skip the first few subtopics if you already know one or two other programming languages. The topics below will welcome you into the programming world by familiarizing you with common jargon used in most programming languages.

Variables and Data-types

Suppose you want to purchase a phone. You browse through a lot of phones and add one to your shopping cart. How does the computer know where to store your data like the handset model, the plan you have chosen, and any accessories like earphones that you have added?

Data is stored in the form of variables. It helps the application to retain and pass the data from the beginning till the end of the application (for example, the place order page) where your order ends.

There are different types of data. For example, your phone number will be an integer; the service plan could be a String, a variable to determine if you have any coupons could be a Boolean, and so on. Integer, Boolean, String (and some others) are called data types.

Let us check a simple example –

handset_id = 90993
plan = “MYPLAN199”
print(handset_id, plan)

We can use these variables handset_id and plan throughout the application instead of using hard-coded values.

Operations

Anything we do with the data is called a process, including addition, subtraction, comparison, or logic operations. For example, to compare a user’s new mobile plan and existing plan, we can write something like –

print(new_plan == old_plan)

The double equals is a comparison operator that returns a true or false as output. There are many operators in Python.

Conditions

Let us say a discount is applied to your plan based on some criteria like your monthly usage, choice of handset, and several other factors. How does the application automatically check if you are eligible for a discount? By checking if these conditions are met!

if(plan == ‘DISCOUNT30’ and customer_existing):
print(‘You are eligible for discount’)
elseif(some_condition):
#some block of code
else
#some other block of code

There are many other conditions in Python, like while and for loops. Read this excellent blog post to know about the conditional statements of Python.

Functions

Sometimes, there are certain functionalities that we may want to reuse, or a piece of code may be so big that it might be a good idea to move it into a separate block and call it whenever needed. Such blocks are called functions. For example, our above code can be moved to a utility file, so anyone can use the function.

defcheck_for_discount(customer_existing):
#function code

def defines the function. When we call the function, we pass the value of customer_existing (in this case). It is called a parameter. We can pass any parameters to a function.

Object-oriented Programming

Most of the top programming languages today are based on OOPS (object-oriented programming concepts), and so is Python. It is a straightforward concept and a powerful one. In OOP, everything is considered an object. A class is an entity of which we create objects as needed.

Watch this cool video to learn more about OOPS concepts.

In our handset example, the handset can be a class, and all the handset details like model, make, type, and features can be its attributes. Whenever a user selects a handset, an object of the Handset class will be created, and the details will be filled into its attributes (member variables).

You can consider a human being as a class – Human. Your attributes can be your name, age, gender, and so on. You can find yourself as an object of the Human class with specific values like name = ‘Mac,’ age = ‘22’, gender = ‘M.’

Each class has attributes and methods to get and set those attributes. A class will also have a constructor or init method that will create the object of the class whenever needed.

classHuman:
def___init__(self, name, age, gender):
self.name = name
self.age = age
self.gender = gender

Try to apply this analogy to our handset class.

classHandset:
def___init__(self, handset_id, model, manufacture_date, features):
self. handset_id = handset_id
self. model = model
self. manufacture_date = manufacture_date
self.features = features
defprinthandsetdetails():
print(self.handset_id, self.model)

Now, let us say a user added a particular handset to their cart. The details can be stored as –

handsetDetails = Handset(“NOKN96”, “2009”, “23-05-2009”, “slim”)

Suppose we want to print these details, we can add a method inside the class to do this and call it as handsetDetails.printhandsetdetails()

Data Structures

The term data structure is common to all programming languages. In Python, we call them a collection. There are different types of groups in Python that make storing and retrieving data, a piece of cake. These also make the program fast and efficient. The four main types of collection are –

  • List – the simplest of all data structures, the list is an ordered collection, which is also changeable. For example,
featurelist = ["frontcamera", "androidpie", "6GBRAM"]

To access list items, we refer them using the index, and the index always starts with 0. featurelist[0] will give you front camera.

  • Tuple – is also ordered but not changeable. You cannot add or remove items in a tuple.
  • Set – unordered and unindexed collection. You cannot access set items using the index; however, you can loop through the items or scan through them to check if an item is present.
  • Dictionaries – also called maps, these are accessed through key-value pairs. They are unordered. For example,
handsetdetails = {
"name": "Nokia6.1",
"color": "Black",
"RAM": "6GB"
}

To get the value, we should access using the key handsetdetails[“name”].

This free Udacity course is a good one for you to have a detailed knowledge of data structures and algorithms of Python. If you take this, you will be able to use data structures in any programming language later on.

Learning data structures will help you play with data in Python and build a large-scale application with ease. It will also help you master efficient writing, efficient code, and dynamic programming.

User Inputs

Getting input from the user is quite simple. Just using the input() method will get the input from the console.

name = input(‘Enter handset name - ’)

Based on the name received, you can fetch details of the handset and display it to the user. Data can be brought from a file or database using the connection.

Connecting to Database

To connect to a database, you should install MySQL connector Python (for MySQL) or MongoDB driver like PyMongo. If you are a beginner, go for MySQL as it is the most common and useful to learn.

This simple tutorial will walk you through steps to connect to the database and fetch the necessary details.

File Handling

File handling is an essential part of any application. Your application might want to read from a file, write onto a file, and so on. It is effortless to implement file handling in Python. There are two types of data in Python - binary, and text. There are four types of file operations, which we call CRUD - Create, Read, Update, Delete. For example, we can open a file as -

file = open(“handsetlist.txt”, “w”);
#this will open the file in ‘w,’ i.e., write mode

If we give ‘r,’ the file will open in reading mode, to add a new row, we use ‘a’ (append). The ‘r+’ mode is a special mode that handles both read and write actions while working with a file.

To read a file, we use the file. read () method and to write, yes, you guessed it right! We use the file.write(“data to write”).

Read about and play with more file handling functions from this crisp and simple link.

So now, you can create individual programs and stand-alone applications that give perfect results. But, how about a scenario where your application can be accessed by multiple people at the same time? For example, a printer that is accessible by various users — how does the printer handle multiple jobs without a deadlock?

Concurrency and Multithreading

There could be situations like the above. Two or more processes are waiting for the same resource. Let us say process A is trying to access a resource R. Now; process B also tries to access resource R. To avoid issues of B overriding the data of A, the processes will be synchronized where-in each process (B, C, D, etc…) is blocked until the previous thread/process A completes using the resource R. This is called mutual exclusion.

It means process A locks the resource till the time it is using the resource, and releases it when it is done. The other processes have to wait for their turn to have the lock. But what if process A runs into an issue and is not able to complete its work? What if process A needs something from process B to be completed, and B is waiting for A to complete? It is called a deadlock! Deadlock is deadly, and you wouldn’t want it in your program.

In a working environment, it is essential to know about multithreading, multiprocessing, and locks.

Creating API Services

Let us now take a bigger picture of the web world, where programs and applications interact with each other, share resources, and, most importantly, pass requests to each other using the HTTP protocol. Each application that can communicate with another is called a microservice. It means if you want your app to interact with the world, you should know how to expose your services – by creating an API! You can quickly generate API services using the Python library – Flask. Watch this series of videos to know how.

Creating Web Applications

You can now create your web application using Python. This free tutorial gives you a good step-by-step way to build a project using Django and Python. Enroll in this course and learn about Django. Django is a full-stack web framework with which you can create an end-to-end web application in Python. It uses the MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture and ORM (Object-Relational-Mapping) for data access. There are libraries in Python that fully support ORM and building web application security.

Steps to Learning Python

Although learning Python is often pretty straightforward (follow tutorials or a course, join a bootcamp, enroll in a short program at a college or university, etc), there are a few steps you can take to guide you along the way. They’re pretty simple, but following this simple philosophy can help make the learning process a little easier.

First things first, figure out your motivation. Knowing why you want to learn Python can help you keep it top of mind so you can recall it in moments where you get frustrated or discouraged. You don’t have to do this, but if you do it can help you make the learning process a little less painful along the way.

Then, start with the fundamentals. Learn all the basics and make sure you understand the concepts well before you attempt more complex concepts and ideas. Don’t just learn the theory, make sure you reinforce every lesson with a practical coding experience to help you apply what you’ve learned

Learning with others through collaboration is a great way to broaden your knowledge and find out things you might’ve never found out on your own.

Finally, practice, practice, practice!

Tips to Remember: Best Way to Master Python

While (or after) you learn Python, you might want to take some steps to solidify your learning and cement the knowledge you’ve taken in. So how exactly can you make it stick? Check out the tips below:

  • Consistency is key! During your journey to mastering Python, it’s important to be consistent. Just like learning any new language, practice is important — so you may want to commit to code every single day. Making this effort is the best way to commit coding to muscle memory so you can autopilot through most tasks without worry. Even half an hour each day is a good enough commitment to your future success.
  • Interactive is the way. Learning Python can get a bit mentally draining. Fortunately, you can make things a bit more fun by using Python REPL, the interactive Python shell that can quickly become one of your best and favorite learning tools. There are many guides to help you activate this shell if you don’t know how.
  • Take notes manually. Although learning is often done digitally these days, writing your notes out by hand is still one of the best ways to retain information long-term. You don’t have to believe us, you can look at this article and find out why this works yourself.
  • Step away when you get frustrated. If you ever run into a frustrating moment where you can’t seem to pick up a concept or figure out what went wrong with your code, step away from your computer. Even a short break can help refresh your mind and allow you to come back with a new perspective. Sometimes, stepping away is enough to help you find that errant piece of code (or even a single character!) that’s breaking your code.
  • Regular breaks matter. Even if you aren’t frustrated, taking a break every so often can help you better absorb the information you’ve just learned.
  • Learn with others. No matter when or where you decide to start learning Python, there will always be others who are starting the journey at the same time you are. And, there will always be others in various stages of learning. Surround yourself with people who are learning too by joining forums or other communities. Never underestimate the power of having feedback or guidance from someone else — you never know what you could learn.
  • Ask questions. There’s no doubt that programmers turn to the internet when they can’t figure something out. That’s why websites like StackOverflow exist! However, it’s not enough to just ask your question. Make sure you ask it well by providing context, outlining any things you’ve done to troubleshoot or try to fix the problem, and offering up any guesses you may have as to what the issue could be. It also benefits you to demonstrate the problem by including your code, any errors you might get, logs, and explanations. Asking questions in this way can save you a lot of back and forth so people who might want to help can get right to the heart of the problem.
  • Start making! The best way to learn Python online or anywhere else is often by doing. The only way you can truly cement what you’ve learned is by building apps or programs so you can gain the practical experience you need. Don’t worry about what you build, worry more about how you’re building it — make sure you follow best coding practices to help you establish good habits.

If you really want to learn more and in a productive way, you can always try contributing to some open source projects. Doing so is an excellent way to build your confidence in your skills and a good way to start building your portfolio!

3 Best Free Ways to Learn Python

You don’t always have to spend money to learn Python — there are many resources available for free! If you’re looking for the best free way to learn Python, check out some of them below.

1. CodeAcademy

If you want to learn Python, CodeAcademy is one of the best places to do so. Although CodeAcademy also has some paid content, it has plenty of free resources that are beginner-friendly. If you’d like to learn Python 3, they also have a course available, though it’s a paid resource. One of the best things about CodeAcademy is the fact that everything you need to start is provided for you right within your browser. No setup or installations are necessary!

2. LearnPython.org

LearnPython is a great free text-based resource. It’s definitely in the running for best way to learn Python for free — especially since it’s interactive. It works well for any level of learner, whether you are a beginner or not. There is also a Facebook group you can join if you’d like to ask questions, see updates, and join discussions.

3. Udemy

Udemy is a MOOC (massive open online course) provider with hundreds of thousands of courses on practically any topic you can think of. One such topic is Python. Although the courses themselves tend to be rather affordable — especially during one of Udemy’s frequent deep discount sales — the platform also has many Python courses available for free. Check this link for some of them, including courses such as Introduction to Python Programming, Python for Absolute Beginners!, and Python from Beginner to Intermediate in 30 Minutes. Although you won’t earn a certificate of completion doing free courses, following one of Udemy’s courses is the best way to learn Python for free — especially if you want to see what Python’s all about before you commit.

3 Best Paid Ways to Learn Python

Although learning for free is certainly a valid way to pick up Python coding skills, sometimes paid methods give you more benefits such as certificates of completion, a network to fall back on, and in some cases, career services that can help you find a job. Coding bootcamps are always a fantastic way to learn to code fast, but they can be prohibitively expensive. If you want to see what bootcamps are like before fully committing to one, you can try some free coding bootcamps first.

If you don’t want to spend the thousands of dollars required to enroll in a bootcamp, these websites below may be the best place to learn Python for you.

1. Udacity

Udacity is a great choice if you want to learn Python. They have a free introduction to Python course that you can start with before you pay for more of their courses or Nanodegrees. Nanodegrees are a collection of courses to take you along a certain path, such as learning Python or becoming a full-stack web developer. One of the best things about this platform is the fact that the certificates you earn here, although unaccredited, are widely recognized and respected by most employers worldwide. The reason behind this recognition is that Udacity is known for its extremely high-quality courses, which are often developed in cooperation with tech giants and experts who really know their stuff.

Read our full review of Udacity here.

2. PluralSight

Want to learn Python practically with hands-on exercises? PluralSight can help. Arguably one of the more affordable ways to learn all sorts of tech-related skills, PluralSight offers many courses to help you learn Python. Content is developed by professionals and experts, so you can trust the quality of the lessons on this platform.

3. Udemy

Yes, Udemy is also a fantastic paid way to learn Python. The platform has tons of paid courses on this programming language, but arguably the best and most popular one is 2022 Complete Python Bootcamp from Zero to Hero in Python by Jose Portilla. It’s had over 1.6 million students and has a 4.6 out of 5-star average from more than 427,000 ratings. It takes you through every step of the learning process, and in the end, you get a certificate of completion. It’s not always recognized by employers, but many employers also don’t care where or how you learned your skills — as long as you can prove them, that is.

Read our full Udemy review here.

Final Words

That is all that takes to get on the path to becoming a Python pro. We started from the primary variable and ended up creating a full-fledged web application. Remember, everyone learns in a different way. There is no single best way to learn Python, but you can at least follow some of the tips and steps here to help you out!

If you feel that you are ready to go out and appear for interviews, do read our Python interview questions. Also, this comprehensive blog post will give you an excellent idea about what books you need as a beginner or an advanced Python programmer.

And, most importantly, check out some of these best Python tutorials and go ahead and enroll for some if you wish! There are free and paid tutorials, so you can choose the ones you wish to register for.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the most effective way to learn Python?

The best and most effective way to learn Python is the easiest way to learn Python — in the method that suits you best. If you learn best by doing, then the best way for you to learn is likely to just start coding. If you learn best by watching others do something or by reading, try those methods first. Either way, it may help you to follow along with a course or some sort of guide along the way.

2. What is the best and fastest way to learn Python?

The best and fastest way to learn Python is likely to join a coding bootcamp, which is an intensive but effective way to learn how to code. Although they may be expensive, coding bootcamps guide you through the whole process of learning and can quite honestly be a great way to get started in a developer career. Bootcamps may even offer other benefits, such as career services and placements.

3. Can I teach myself Python?

Absolutely! Many have done so before, and you can do it again. Fortunately, there are now so many resources available on the internet — so much so that you likely never need to pay for anything if you knew where to look. However, following tutorials or even some courses can be the best way to learn Python 3, as doing so often provides you with a straightforward learning path to follow.

4. Is it hard to learn Python?

It can be, but quite honestly, Python is one of the easiest languages to learn. Everyone learns differently, however, so your mileage may vary. Luckily Python’s syntax is much like English, so it can feel a bit natural to pick up.

5. Can a non-IT person learn Python?

Yes, of course! Anyone can learn Python, especially with some patience and effort. Fortunately, there are now many courses out there that can guide you through the process of learning from the first step to the last. If you want a bit more guidance, you can try a coding bootcamp where you’ll usually have instructors and classmates to help you along the way.

6. Can I learn Python in a month?

Absolutely. You can learn Python (and maybe even master it, if you pick it up fast enough) in a month, especially if you focus well and spend a lot of time following tutorials and courses. A coding bootcamp or instructor-led program can also help you learn this quickly. However, if you don’t learn within a month, don’t feel bad — it’s never a race!

7. How long does it take to master Python?

According to this Coursera article, you can learn enough Python to write your first simple app within a few minutes, but mastering Python’s libraries can take you months or even years — and we agree. However, everyone learns at their own pace. If you make a concerted effort and dedicate enough time to learning the language, you can shorten the time it will take you to master Python.

8. Can you learn Python from scratch (with no coding experience)?

Of course. There are many courses, instructor-led programs, and coding bootcamps that can help you learn Python even without any prior coding experience.

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Swapnil Banga

Swapnil Banga

Software engineer, hardware enthusiast, writer by avocation and a gamer. Swapnil has been working on Hackr for a large part of his career. Primarily working on Laravel, he is also the author of our React Native Android app. When not in front of a screen, you will find him devouring a novel or listening to heavy metal. View all posts by the Author

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charles
charles

This is not a good reference. There are lots of indention errors in this code. There is not a else-if in python, nor do you need the conditional statement in parenthesis. In python we use elif.

zafrinazara
zafrinazara

Thank you. We also offering python course in coimbatore for all branches of engineering students.

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