Learning a foreign language isn’t a one-and-done experience and that’s true for programming languages as well. Whether you’re new to Python or want to polish your skills, consistent practice can seriously impact your fluency. Unlike other languages, you can’t just hop on a plane and start chatting with native speakers, but there are a few things you can do to add regular practice to your routine and improve your Python skills.
A Beginner’s Guide: What is Python?
Just in case you’re brand new to programming…what even is Python anyway?
Commonly touted as the more beginner-friendly programming language, Python can be used in web development, task management and automation, design, AI and machine learning, and data analysis. It’s an open-source language with a thriving online community and countless applications.
It’s a perfect choice for those just starting out in their web development careers, as it’s such a flexible tool to have in your kit, it’s easy to learn, and there are plenty of beginner-friendly projects to help you improve.
If you don’t already have Python on your computer, download it from Python.org and decide which code editor or integrated development environment (IDE) to use. Some IDEs that work in Python include Pydev, Pycharm, Sublime Text, and Visual Studio.
How to Practice Python Online
It’s possible to find online platforms where you can practice Python without installing it on your computer. You can use browser labs, some of which are mobile-friendly. Coding on smartphones isn’t easy, and you shouldn’t rely on it. However, depending on your circumstances, you can use it for practice.
If you’re using an Android smartphone, you can install applications like Pydroid, Dcoder, and Acode. Once you install them, you can practice coding offline. For iPhone, you can install applications like Pythonista and Pyto.
You don’t need to carry your laptop everywhere you go to practice Python. With an online Python editor, you can start practicing from any computer. You don’t need the administrator’s permission to install the program since everything is accessible online. Best of all, this type of tool is free, allowing you to build, test, and share your code online–and you don’t have to worry about updates.
Join an Online Python Community
While your community of fellow Ironhackers will undoubtedly have some Python know-how (especially our Web Development and Data Analytics students), you may want to broaden your horizons and meet others who are learning or upgrading their Python skills.
Try checking out the official Python community where you can meet other enthusiasts, learn more from seasoned professionals, and maybe even do some networking.
Check Out Some Popular Python Books
If you love a good book, there are plenty of great reads out there about Python and programming. We’ve handpicked these recommendations for you:
Python From The Very Beginning by J. Whitington: this offers you a more hands-on experience, presenting you with questions to work through on your own time (don’t worry, all of the answers are inside!)
Leaving the Rat Race With Python: An Insider’s Guide to Freelance Developing by Christian Mayar and Lukas Rieger: one for all of you entrepreneurs-at-heart who dream of building your own coding empire.
Python 3 Object-Oriented Programming by Dusty Phillips: once you’ve mastered the basics of Python and you’re ready for the next step, give this a try! It’s the perfect tool to take you from beginner to a more confident programmer.
Get Involved in Online Python Projects
Building on a project is the best way to learn Python; it provides an opportunity to implement everything you learn. And it’s what employers look for when hiring programmers. The kind of project you choose will depend on your fluency in Python, your areas of expertise, and how much free time you have available. You may also choose to tailor your project to the industry, niche, or company of your dreams, as projects are great job-hunting fodder.
But what if you have no clue where to start? Let’s see:
You can build what you see others building or find Python exercises online. Try to pick something fun to get you interested and keep you motivated to finish. Regardless of what you choose, it will still help polish your skills.
Contributing to GitHub online projects is a great way of improving your coding skills. GitHub has thousands of open-source projects that run simultaneously. It’s more likely that you’ll find a Python project that suits you and best of all, the platform has a place for all skill levels.
If you’re new, you can find beginner-friendly projects. Plus, you can work on project documentation since it doesn’t involve any coding. Such projects involve finding errors in the code made by others and if you have advanced skills, GitHub has endless opportunities for you.
Working on open-source projects also helps you learn from others and build relationships with online communities. You’ll improve your resume by showing that you can collaborate with other developers, and it’s a good way to build up your confidence.
Tips For Practicing Python
Consistency is crucial when it comes to practicing programming. So make it a habit to code every day. But keep in mind that breaks are just as important and maintain a schedule that alternates coding time with break time.
If you join a class or an online forum, don’t just focus on learning from others. You learn better when you teach. If you can explain a concept correctly, it shows you understand it. And if you don’t, you can identify areas where you need improvement.
Programming can be challenging if you skip the essential rules taught in the introduction. So don’t ignore Python theory and programming blogs, but keep in mind that practicing requires you to build code in-person. Knowledge without implementation doesn’t make you a good programmer.
Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for help when you encounter a problem. Doing so will save your time and limit the risk of feeling frustrated when something doesn’t work out. If possible, practice coding as a group of two or three people. That way, you can learn faster and generate more ideas.
Learn Python From the Experts
These are all great ways to keep practicing Python in your own time. But if you’re just starting out or you’re thirsting for as much tech knowledge as possible, learning from home may not be the way to go. It can be challenging to stay consistent and to make sure you’re learning the right things.
An Ironhack Web Development Bootcamp lets you join a global network of alumni, as well as getting you into your local tech community. And you know you’re learning everything you need to know for a blossoming tech career with us!