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What is the Python programming language?

ACG Technical Editors Team
ACG Technical Editors Team

In this post we explore Python, a multi-paradigm language useful in a wide variety of projects. Keep reading to learn why it’s is so popular, what it can be used for, and how it compares to Ruby and Java. By the end of this post, you’ll know why Python is one of our top picks for cloud programming languages. Let’s get started!


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What is Python?

Python was created by Dutch programmer Guido van Rossum and was first released in 1990. Programming languages are often designed to accomplish one specific task, limiting their use. Python, however, is a multi-paradigm language. It’s great as an object-oriented programming  language, but if you’d rather write programs in a functional programming style, you can do that too. This flexibility has led to Python becoming the go-to language for many fields and industries. 

Python may not be a new programming language (hard to believe it’s over 30 years old!), but its continued adoption growth has shown that it has stood the test of time.

Python vs Ruby

Ruby is primarily used for web development. For the most part, it’s used to create web applications because it has a great community, frameworks, and libraries for doing so. 

Python, on the other hand, can be used for a boatload of other things, like:

  • Writing a script to clean up files on your computer
  • Writing a web application
  • Working on a serverless project
  • Data science applications
  • Teaching programming to kids and college students
  • Animation projects

Of all the programming languages you’re likely to encounter, you won’t find one that is used by non-programmers more often than Python.

Python vs Java

There are many reasons why Python is so popular, but one of the main reasons people come to it and stick with it is because of its super simple syntax. Traditionally, the first program that a person writes in any language is “hello world,” which just prints that text to the screen. Let’s take a look at how easy it is to write the “hello world” program in Python versus Java.

Java requires several functions and lines of code to execute “hello world.”

Writing “Hello, World” in Java requires several functions and lines of code.

In Python, all you need is just a single line of code and one well-named function to experience your first programming win.

Writing “Hello, World” in Python requires a single line of code and one well-named function.

Syntax isn’t everything, but the above pattern generally holds true for most things you’ll want to accomplish in Python vs other languages. 

Python’s continued popularity is based on three important factors:

  1. General availability
    Python can run on nearly any device and operating system in use today. That means you can write a program on your Windows machine, share it with someone who is using a Mac, and still expect that it will run properly for them. 
  2. Existing community
    Python.org is a great place to start for resources, documentation, and Python Software Foundation membership. The PSF’s mission is to support and empower Python users through grants that fund conferences, meetups, user groups, and more.
  3. Availability of libraries to help you achieve your goals
    The Python Package Index has over 250,000 packages published to it that are available for you to download and use in your projects.

Should I learn Python?

If you’re on the fence about learning Python, here’s some info that may convince you to go for it. 

According to the 2021 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, Python is consistently loved by developers who are already using it and is the #1 language other developers wish that they were using. 

According to Indeed’s salary calculator, in 2021 the average Python developer in the United States made around $114k a year.

And, Python has third-party support from all major cloud providers (AWS, Azure, and GCP). 

Learn more at A Cloud Guru

Want to learn more? A Cloud Guru has plenty of courses that will help you learn Python from the very basics, to advanced usage, to using it with your cloud provider of choice.

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