What is Python for? (Beginner’s Guide)
We’ve covered Python extensively here on unite.ai. Indeed, it is crucial for the fields of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).
Python is one of the most popular programming languages in the world, and countless developers and non-developers use it for a variety of applications. Many people don’t know that we come across Python work in our daily life. For example, Python was responsible for Netflix’s recommendation algorithm, and it’s widely used in self-driving vehicles.
Before diving into the applications of Python, let’s first take a closer look at the programming language itself.
What is Python?
Python is a versatile programming language that can be applied almost anywhere that uses mathematical calculations, data, or code, which means it’s not limited to web development.
A high-level, interpreted, interactive, and object-oriented scripting language, Python was designed to be highly readable. It relies on many English keywords and has fewer syntactic limitations than other languages.
Let’s break down each of these Python features:
- Interpreter : This means that Python is processed at runtime by the interpreter. You don’t have to compile your program before running it.
- Interactive: Python lets you sit at a prompt and interact directly with the interpreter to write your programs.
- Object oriented: Python supports object-oriented style or a programming technique that encapsulates code in objects.
Python is a great choice for beginner programmers because it supports the development of a variety of applications, such as word processing and games.
The coding language was first developed by Guido van Rossum in the late 1980s and early 1990s at the National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science in the Netherlands. Derived from several other languages like ABC, Modula-3, C, C++, Algol-68, SmallTalk and Unix shell, Python now stands out on its own.
One of the reasons Python is so popular is because of its wide range of useful features:
- Easy to learn: Python is easy to learn for beginners. It has few keywords, simple structure and clearly negated syntax.
- Easy to read/maintain: Python is also clearly defined and easy to read, as well as maintain through its source code.
- Interactive mode: The language supports an interactive mode that lets you perform interactive tests and debug code snippets.
- Portable: Python is highly portable and can run on many different hardware platforms.
- Stretch : Python lets you add low-level modules to the Python interpreter, allowing programmers to add or customize their tools to be more efficient.
- Data base : Python provides interfaces for all major commercial databases.
- Scalable: The language has a solid structure and supports large programs.
- Libraries: There are many Python libraries that can be used for a variety of applications, such as data science, deep learning, image processing, machine learningand natural language processing (NLP).
Advantages of Python
Python also offers many advantages over other programming languages, which is why it is widely used by amateurs and professionals alike. Its biggest advantage is its simplicity, with a syntax close to English that makes it easy to learn and read. Unlike other languages, Python uses simple line breaks rather than symbols to define blocks of code.
Another great thing about Python is that it speeds up development with its built-in classes and functions that have a huge selection of libraries. These libraries make writing code faster and easier, and you can run and test the code right after writing it. Running and testing the code does not require an intermediate compilation process.
Finally, Python is very versatile compared to other languages. It is portable and cross-platform, meaning programmers can write and run its code on any operating system with a Python interpreter. It’s far superior to other languages that require you to modify code for each application.
Because Python is so versatile, it is used for a wide range of applications in various industries. Some of the most popular applications include data science, machine learning, financial analysis, web development, automation or scripting, software testing and prototyping, and more.
Let’s take a look at each:
One of the most popular uses of Python is in the field of data science, where data scientists and analysts use it to manipulate data for reporting, predictive analytics, and more. One of the reasons Python is preferred for data science applications is its simple syntax and wide selection of third-party libraries.
Machine learning relies on unique algorithms and involves training systems to learn independently, constantly updating and improving based on input data. Python helps these systems learn to solve new tasks by generating output based on past data sets, and based on the result, they can update themselves.
Another major application of Python is web development, where it is used for back-end development. It runs on the server of a web application and can interact with databases and APIs upon requesting data from the front-end of the application in the browser.
Automation or script
Python helps to create automated processes, called scripts. Automation helps check errors in multiple files, convert files, remove duplicates in data, and perform simple calculations. Beginners can rely on Python to automate simple tasks, such as downloading online content, sending emails or text messages at certain intervals, or renaming files.
Python is used in the financial industry due to its data processing capabilities and third-party libraries specifically designed for financial analysis.
Software testing and prototyping
Python makes software development easy, especially with specific tasks such as build control, bug tracking, and testing. Software developers can use Python to automate testing of new products or features.
Python is also used for day-to-day tasks and by various professionals besides programmers and data scientists, such as journalists, business owners, social media marketers, stock traders, etc.
For example, Python can be used to track stock or crypto quotes. It can also be used to send reminders, update lists, rename large collections of files, convert text files to spreadsheets, auto-fill forms, and much more.
How to get started with Python
There are many ways to get started with Python, but one of the best is to take a certification or a course. Because Python is so widely used and utilized, there are many different certifications, courses, and programs related to it. These programs allow you to improve or strengthen your programming skills with the general purpose programming language.
Some of the most popular and recommended courses include:
- Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate by Google
- Python Programming Certification Training from Edureka
- University of Michigan Python for Everybody Specialization
These are just a few of the Python courses available. You can find a more complete list with our “Best Python Certifications.”