We asked Tobi to guide us through a whistle-stop tour on what Python is and why it’s still such an important language to learn.
- What course do you teach at City? The Python course at City is split into 10 sessions, either once a week over 10 weeks or twice a week over 5. It is a very comprehensive course and we pack a lot of material into each session. It covers all the fundamental concepts of computer coding in detail, which can be applied to any coding language. We use industry standard tools and teach high quality techniques to create maintainable code. We also look at Python specific concepts that make the language one of the most used in industry.
The fundamental concepts include:
- The use of variables, data types and basic operators
- program control flow (loops and conditional statements)
- Functions (reusable chunks of code)
- Inputs (via the keyboard) and outputs (via the screen)
- Data structures (accessing and manipulating data)
- Error handling
- File handling (opening files, reading and writing to files)
The Python specific concepts we cover are:
- Accessing data from external sources (HTML & JSON parsing)
- Using Python libraries and modules
- An introduction to object-orientated programming using Python
- What is Python in a nutshell?! Python is a user-friendly programming language known for its clear and easy-to-read code. It’s used in many areas such web development, data analysis, and A.I. due to its versatility. Python has lots of libraries and modules you can make use of to add additional functionality to your code. Its simplicity makes it great for both new and experienced programmers.
- Why is Python still such an important language to learn? Python is often taught as the first language for beginners as the code uses English-like keywords, so is easier to understand, and therefore a good stepping stone to more complex syntax based languages such as Java or C#.This simplicity does not make Python only usable for beginners — the variety of different modules makes it a versatile and valuable programming language to learn, and it is one of the most used languages within computer science.In fact, Python is consistently ranked as one of the most in-demand programming languages in the job market and learning Python can lead to lucrative career opportunities in various industries.
- What skills or experience do you need to learn Python? You don’t need any prior programming experience to start learning Python! Whether you are completely new to programming or have some experience with other languages, Python can be easily picked up. Having a basic understanding of computer operations and how to use a computer is helpful, but is not a strict requirement. Our course at City takes you through installing Python on your Windows, Linux or Apple PC, and we provide links to useful free software as well as providing learning materials and coding examples throughout the course. All you really need to begin learning Python is curiosity, patience, and a willingness to dive in and explore. With the abundance of resources and materials we provide throughout the course, you can start learning Python today, regardless of your background or experience level!
- What would you recommend students study after taking your course?
This all depends on your reason for studying Python in the first place. If your reasons are job oriented, you may want to look into the different uses of Python in industry:
- If you wanted to use Python for web development I would recommend exploring frameworks such as Django or Flask, which use Python to build dynamic web applications.
- If you are looking into a career in Machine learning, AI or data science, I would suggest exploring and learning Python libraries such as NumPy, Pandas, Matplotlib and scikit-learn – these tools are widely used for data manipulation, analysis, visualization, and machine learning tasks.
- If you wanted to go into software engineering, I would say you should familiarise yourself with software engineering best practices such as version control (e.g., Git), testing, debugging, code reviews, and documentation.
- There are so many other career pathways that I could talk about, such as game development, cyber-security, network programming, automation or natural language processing, but the opportunities are too vast to list in full.
If you have completed the course because you are interested in computer coding and wanted to learn Python as a stepping stone to another language, I salute you! If this is the case, and you are interested in web development, I would recommend any of the other short courses I currently teach at City:
- PHP — PHP is a server-side scripting language used for generating dynamic content. Its syntax is similar to C-style languages. PHP integrates with databases and has extensive libraries and frameworks. Commonly used for dynamic websites, web applications, and API development, it’s open-source, platform-independent, and widely deployed on web servers.
- MySQL – MySQL is an open-source relational database management system widely used for storing and managing structured data. It uses SQL (Structured Query Language) for querying and manipulating data. MySQL is known for its reliability, scalability, and performance, making it a popular choice for web applications, e-commerce platforms, and when combined with PHP, is an ideal solution for data driven websites.
- Advanced Web Authoring — This course covers web development using mobile first techniques, how to create accessible websites for all users, use of web-fonts, video and audio within websites, HTML validation in forms, using CSS frameworks such as Bootstrap and styling using SASS/SCSS .
- How long does it take to master Python, or at least be able to use it in a work setting?
Once you have completed the course at City, you should have a basic understanding of the Python language which will provide you with the knowledge to move onto specialise. If you want to use Python for tasks such as scripting, automation, or basic web development, it shouldn’t take much more time and study to begin working in that field.
As with all skills, the more you use them, the better you will become. Regularly using Python to solve practical problems and create projects helps build confidence and hone your skills.
Mastering Python is something in my mind I am yet to achieve! I have been using Python for many years, and there is always some new library to learn or some new application of the language I haven’t explored yet. I would say ‘mastery of Python’ should be seen as more a journey rather than a destination.
- What career paths might open up as a result of learning Python?
There are so many — it depends on your interests or goals.
The following are all possible routes you could go down:
- Software developer/engineer
- Data analyst
- Machine learning engineer
- DevOps* engineer
* DevOps – a combination of software development (dev) and operations (ops)
- Quality assurance engineer
- Cybersecurity analyst
- And of course, an educator/trainer such as myself!
- And is Python still the most important programming language to learn or have others taken its place?
I would say yes. Python is consistently ranked among the top programming languages in terms of job demand and market trends. Many companies across various industries are seeking Python developers. Roles in software development, data analysis and machine learning engineering are commonly advertised across the country.
Thank you, Tobi!
Or check out what other computing courses we have available HERE.