Python seems to be the word on everyone’s lips these days. Schools are introducing it alongside their Computer Science curriculum, recruiters are claiming there are job openings left, right and centre, and analysis of Google Trends suggets that it’s more popular than C++, Brad Pitt, and even the Beatles!
Spectrum, a magazine produced by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), found Python to be the leading programming language of 2019, scoring full marks. In fact it has been at the top of the list since 2017. A barrage of tutorials, demos and ‘Learn X in 1 day’ courses await the unwitting newcomer who Googles ‘Python Programming’.
Without a doubt Python is the ‘big thing’ in programming right now, so let’s find out why it’s so popular.
Stack Overflow is the largest community of developers on the internet. Every year they conduct a survey to comprehensively examine the languages and technologies professional and amateur developers are using. Examining the results of the 2019 survey proves useful for understanding Python’s success.
Not only did Python land itself in the second spot on the ‘Most Loved Languages‘ list, but it also found itself at the top of the ‘Most Wanted Languages‘ list.
Most Loved Languages (Source: Stack Overflow Developer Survey Results 2019)
In fact, it was the only contender to be in the top 5 of both lists and not appear at all in the ‘Most Dreaded List’. Python is the only popular, widespread tool which people aren’t worried about learning!
Most Wanted Languages (Source: Stack Overflow Developer Survey Results 2019)
Simple and Readable
Developers love Python for a plethora of reasons, but one significant factor becomes clear when Python code is placed alongside, for example, Java. Let’s examine a simple program which outputs the phrase ‘Hello World’ to the screen. In Python this is delightfully simple, take a look:
And now, the same code, but written in Java. Not nearly as friendly on the eye (or the programmer!). This isn’t to say Java doesn’t have its benefits, but for ease of use and readabilitynothing trumps Python.
Another feature which helps programs get up and running as quickly as possible is Python’s use of libraries. Libraries are pre-written code that help you solve a variety of problems in a very short amount of time, for example the ‘Flask’ library that allows users to very quickly create and edit a website, the ‘Pandas’ library that gives you all the statistics tools you could want and ‘Pygame’ which lets you create games in minutes. Python has over 130,000 libraries available for use, meaning new students can create amazing projects in only a few lines of code.
Python contains the same features as a lot of other, more complicated languages. Object Oriented Programming, Threading, Datatypes, Error Handling and more. This means that students can be introduced to these concepts through the friendly, compact language of Python before moving on to more complex languages later.
For the best chance of success when learning to program, you need the right programming language. You need a language which:
- is immensely popular with programmers and high-tech companies,
- reads more like English than code,
- has thousands of libraries ready for action, and
- allows you to transfer those skills to other languages.
Python ticks all those boxes, and more, and is the perfect language for a beginner to get started with.