What's Python Programming?
But what is it exactly?
Alright, now in more accurate and in-depth words. Python programming is the writing, debugging and testing of code made of Python syntax.
If you're not familiar with Information Technology(yet, because you'll be), these strange words may seem intimidating but they're only big words for something that can be easily understood. So lets break down the big words so that you get clear picture of what they mean.
What is writing code?
This is the least intimidating part for the newbies..
You get that the whole point of python programming is to instruct a computer right? A computer can only be instructed through what programmers call "the code".
This code is typed in text editors that are specially made for the fancy job of writing the code down. By writing, I mean literally typing the code the same way you type a message when texting your grandma.
What is debugging?
This is a step that comes after writing the code.
When a programmer(or the future you if you want to be a programmer) finishes writing the code for whatever program he's developing, the code is almost always not perfect. In my opinion, it's impossible to write perfect code right off the bat unless you're writing code for a tiny computer program.
Computers are very strict. If there are mistakes made in writing the code, the computer will not understand what you want it to do. So these mistakes in the code are what we call "bugs".
And the process of finding mistakes(bugs) in the code is what we call debugging.
For instance in a python program, a mistake(bug) would be forgetting to put a "." where it's supposed to be. Debugging would then be going through the code and put the "." where it is missing.
This can be very tedious and frustrating especially when the bugs are hard to trace and the computer also fails to tell where the bug is. There is software built for the sole purpose of just helping programmers find bugs in programs that they have written.
What is testing code?
This means what it says. Lets clarify it with an example.
Say you write your first python out-of-this-world game. You've debugged the python code and optimized it. You package the files and cheeky boom, you just made an executable file of your game.
Then the testing part is the installing of your game, playing it and see if it's behaving the way you programmed it to work. If it doesn't work the way you want, you go back into the python code and make the necessary adjustments.
Testing for small programs is easy and doesn't take a tonne of time. On the other hand, tests for huge-scale programs is obviously complex and eats a tonne of time. We're talking about months here.
The Python programming language
In the programming world, programming languages have levels. The level of a language tells how close it is to the hardware it operates on. Here are the levels...
- High-level language
- Assembly language
- Machine language
Lets not get into all the other levels in much details. That's for another article. Lets talk only to what concerns our beloved python programming language.
Python is a high-level programming language. What this means is that is has all the advantages associated with high-level programming languages. Lets dive into that below.
Advantages of a High-level programming languages
- They are easy to write
Generally, all high-level programming languages have English-like syntax. (Oops, in case you don't know what syntax is...they are just words that are used when programming.)
Out of all the high-level programming languages that are existing at the time of writing this article, python has the easiest syntax to read and understand. And it's because of that, python is the easiest programming language you can learn. But also note that even if learning python syntax can be a walk in the park, it's a very powerful language.
- They are easy to modify
As you'll discover when you start writing code, you'll spend more time modifying the code than writing it.
The whole process of debugging, optimizing and testing the code will keep you going back to the code to twist and turn this and that. And that is simplified when you're writing your code with a high-level language like python.
Especially when you follow good code-writing habits like giving your variables meaningful names that can help you understand what your code is doing, the modifying part is further simplified.
- The code is portable
What I mean here is that the python code of your out-of-this-world game program can be transferred to run on different computers. As long as the other computer has the necessary compiler files to run the code of your game.
This makes it possible to share your python code with your other programming buddies, which can also help you develop, debug and test your code.
Why would you be interested in python programming?
Should you be interested?
Because Python is the Captain America of all programming languages. Not a super-sophisticated biggie but one heck of a simple-but-powerful programming language that can do anything, anywhere, anytime.
It has a ridiculously huge standard library with lots of modules that are well documented. I was amazed by the documentation. It is thorough enough that you can learn the whole syntax and operation of a module by just reading the documentation.
Here's what python can do
- Develop desktop apps and Mobile phone Apps.
- Develop dynamic web pages
- Develop web applications
- Do Machine Learning
- Do network programming
- Data mining
- Micro-controller programming (MicroPython)
I'm very sure that this list is not complete. Python development is huge business right now and this superpower of a programming language will only get more and more powerful.
And another thing, python has a ridiculously huge community. You may not understand the advantage of having a huge community if you're a newbie programmer or someone just interested. But having a huge community is a huge plus.
When a programming language has a big community there will be a huge database of chunks of code written by different people.And whenever any random programmer(even you or your grandma) is developing software, they can extract code from other programmer's work. There are places like Github, geeks collaborate and share code every time.
How much money can you make with Python programming?
Simple question with a simple answer. The answer is you can make a lot of money.
It all depends on your level of expertise and the kind of hustle that you're investing your code into. There are generally two ways to turn your code into cash.
- Getting employed
- Self-employment (hustling)
The first one is the traditional way of getting a job at some company. You become their code guy maybe in developing their website/software or securing their networks. Then at the end of the month/week you get a paycheck.
This can be fun or tormenting depending on what you doing and where you're working. But it's obvious that flexibility and creativeness in your work is limited.
In the US, the job market for programmers is big and top-notch programmers are always in demand and the salaries are very sexy. Companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google and Instagram are built on python and programmers employed there are paid handsomely.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a software developer is $85,229 per year and for web developers it's $79,154 per year.
The level of satisfaction is high in this case. Here's are some of the many options you can do to as a self-employed python programmer.
- Develop software that meet the demands/needs of a specific market and charge dollars when the market uses your software.
- Make useful apps and sell them on platforms like Fliptopia or Google Play.
- Become a freelancer programmer. Join freelancer networks like Upwork or Freelancer.
- Develop games and sell them.(A tonne of platforms to sell these)
- Develop plugins for existing software or web apps.
The range of diversity is pretty huge and you can always find something that needs a programmer almost everywhere. But mostly online.
And there is also a greater chance of making passive streams of income when you're a hustling programmer. Happens when the code you wrote once keeps bringing in the dollars every month.
How to learn Python programming?
The best way to learn python programming or any other programming language is to do as you learn. Not reading a tonne of books but putting your hands on the keyboard as you follow a book/video/course.
There are platforms online that are build to help you become just as good or better than the professional programmers.
The traditional school way would be to go to a fancy college and spend years learning software development or computer engineering.
The new school way is to learn on your own following a course on python programming that you want and learn at your own pace. Here's a list of platforms you can hook yourself.
The best part with these programs is that you choose what you want to learn. I'll add more to the list as I bump more into cooler places to learn code from beginner to pro level.
Wrapping it all up.
You must have a better view of what python programming is right now. And also what you can do with it. We got into how you can make a living out of it and what you can expect if you jump in the python programming industry.
I hope you found something valuable or learnt something from this article. Peace out.