Why Python Makes A Great First Programming Language

Python is now the most popular introductory language at American colleges, a recent Association for Computing Machinery study reports.

In an analysis of the top 39 computer science departments as ranked by U.S. News in 2014, the general-purpose programming language has replaced Java as the budding computer scientist’s first exposure to writing code. Eight of the top 10 CS departments (80%), and 27 of the top 39 (69%), teach Python in their introductory courses.

Invented 23 years ago, Python’s discovery as a great tool for first-timers has been more recent. The beginner-oriented Raspberry Pi has certainly influenced Python’s new role as a teaching tool, but also its increasing adoption at organizations like Google, Yahoo and NASA that make it valuable to know even after a programmer is no longer a beginner. In modern times, it has routinely been ranked as one of the eight most popular programming languages since 2008.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, Python is my first programming language, too. I’m halfway through Zed Shaw’s Learn Python The Hard Way on my road to mastery. And in this liberal arts student’s studies, I’ve noted a few key characteristics that make Python easy to grasp.

Here are some of the reasons Python makes a great first programming language.

Very Minimal Setup

To show you just how easy it is to get started with Python, let’s literally get started with Python.

On a Mac, find your Terminal program and open it. On a PC, find the PowerShell program and open that. It’ll be a blank box where you can write in text prompts.

Do that now. Write in the word “python” and hit Enter. You should see something like this:

If you don’t see that and instead see the words “python is not recognized” or something similar, you need to download Python, Python 2 to be exact, and try again.

Either way, it only takes a single word to get your computer to run Python. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

It’s Written In Plain English

Python is so easy that we’re going to write our first Python program right now.

If you’re still running Python from the last section, type CTRL-Z on a Mac or “quit” on a PC to exit.

Now create a new blank Python file using Nano, a basic command line text editor. All you have — For more information read the original article here.    

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