Understand the importance of Python in solving big data problems


Python is the programming language you'll be using throughout this learning path. Although it may seem that you're learning about only one programming language, the concepts learned here can be applied to many others.

A little bit about Python

Guido van Rossum created Python in 1991 and named it after the TV show Monty Python. Python is a high-level programming language, so from the programmer's point of view, the code reads closer to a natural language (English). That's why it's easier to read and write. Python does the heavy lifting behind the scenes, to convert relatively natural language instructions into commands that a computer can execute.

Why Python?

You may be asking why we chose Python out of all the programming languages out there. Over the past 15 years, Python has become increasingly popular, and it's often known as a great beginner programming language. It's also versatile and can be applied to advanced computing topics, such as data science and machine learning. Additionally, Python has many packages and libraries of code that are written by others. You can include them in your own projects to cut down on the code you need to write.

Real world examples of Python at work

Examples of software that include Python code are YouTube, Dropbox, and Google. NASA even has a page of open-source projects, many of which are programmed in Python.

Jupyter Notebooks and Python

We'll be using a type of file called Jupyter Notebooks to help you learn Python. Jupyter Notebooks support Python in a read-eval-print loop (REPL) style, which means that users can write a few lines of code in one file, execute them within the file, and then write more code and continue executing. Jupyter Notebooks also supports rerunning "cells", which are chunks of code. This kind of coding environment creates a great experience for learning a new programming language. But don't worry, installing the Python extension for Visual Studio Code installs the notebook for you!