edX is part of 2U: the next era of online learning begins today! Visit our Help Center to read more about changes at edX.

An edX Engineer Weighs In: Learning to Code with Python

I’ve been programming in Python for more than 15 years, and working full-time in Python for nine. My first job at edX was coding grading tools for the student exercises used within the 6.00x courseware. I’ve taught Python classes, have spoken at conferences, and help organize the Boston Python user group. So you could say I’m a fan of Python. 🙂

Python is a great language to learn programming. It was designed to be approachable and clear, so much so that many institutions, including MIT, use it as their primary language for teaching programming. That said, Python is far from just a tool to teach coding: Python solves real-world problems and has been used to build world-class sites and applications such as YouTube, Dropbox, Instagram, Reddit, and edX.

—Did you notice edX in that list? The Open edX platform that runs edx.org is written almost entirely in Python. EdX code is open source, and it’s Python that helps make it possible for developers around the world to contribute to the code.

As you begin learning Python, you’ll quickly discover another aspect that makes it a good place to start coding: the Python community. A welcoming and diverse group, Python developers take seriously the importance of supporting new users, and helping each coder find his or her place. We coordinate local meetups and national conferences all around the world, as well as domain-specific conferences for scientists and web developers.

I can’t say enough about my experience —both on- and off-line — with Python as a language, hobby, career, and community.

I can’t say enough about my experience —both on- and off-line — with Python as a language, hobby, career, and community. Python is a great language to learn to start programming, and 6.00.1x is an excellent way to start learning. 6.00.1x starts with the very basics and works all the way up to significant programs. The coursework is rigorous, but the end result worth it; if you find yourself stuck at any point remember that you can reach out to classmates on the edX course forums and to more senior developers online. I look forward to welcoming this course’s students to the world of Python!

6.00.1x Introduction to Computer Science and Programming using Python starts January 13, 2016 – enroll now!

Follow Ned on Twitter and github, and check out the Boston Python user group when you’re in town.