What is Python?
Python coding is a scripting language widely used by older children learning how to code. But it is also behind projects such as blockbuster movies and spaceshots.
It is a text based programming language which means it is a step up from block based languages like Scratch and is much more powerful. It can be used for pretty much anything and is one of the most versatile coding languages in the world.
Students tend to start ‘graduating’ from block based coding to Python around the age of 11 and can continue to use it throughout their education and indeed beyond.
Where is Python coding used?
Here are just a few examples of applications using Python coding:
- Data processing and analysis at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider
- Visual Effects for films like Star Wars and Marvel
- Commonly used in website development
- ArtificiaI Intelligence projects
- Online Games
Python can be used to code the Raspberry Pi and the Micro:bit both of which are widely used by students of all ages.
A key feature of Python coding is the extensive library of Modules which are standardized solutions for many tasks that occur in everyday programming. This avoids having to ‘re-invent the wheel’ - you simply write a single line of code to import the required module into your programme.
For example this simple piece of code, to calculate the area of a circle, uses the ‘math’ module.
Another important advantage of Python is that its code very closely resembles the English language and so does not have complicated syntax which makes it more easily comprehensible for beginners.
The snippet of code below is a simple example of Python code that asks for the password (which happens to be peanut butter). The user types in the password and Python responds ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’. Without having any knowledge of Python you would probably have at least a vague idea of what the code is about.
The Python editor can be downloaded free of charge and will run on most computer systems including desktops and laptops.
The Python coding language has a global community with thousands of software developers who interact online. This creates a great resource for guidance, examples and explanations etc.
Millions of people have already learnt Python so it is easy to find answers to questions that might arise while learning simply by conducting an internet search. Someone else has probably already asked the same question.
The Python Software Foundation is a non-profit organisation which actively promotes and advances the language helping to ensure it is kept up to date and remains freely available.
- Python coding is very widely used by both students and coding professionals.
- Compared to many other text based languages, Python is easy to learn and to use.
- It is versatile and can be used across a wide range of applications.
- The coding curriculum requires pupils to gain experience of at least one text based coding language and for this Python represents a good choice.