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3 Reasons For Python’s Explosive Growth

3 Reasons For Python’s Explosive Growth

Python is one of the fastest growing programming languages in 2016. This article discusses three major growth factors which are the Python community, the language’s simplicity, and university usage.

Community – PyCon Draws Record Attendance

One week ago I was in Helsinki for PyCon Finland 2016. The PyCon was sold out one week before the conference. Nearly 160 people enrolled for the conference and attendees ranged from university students to Python veterans with over 15 years of experience.

PyCon Finland 2016

PyCon Finland 2016 – The photographer on the 5th floor could barely fit all the people in the picture

During one of the coffee breaks at the PyCon I spoke with some of the organizers. I asked if PyCon Finland is normally sold out, and was told that they normally get 60-80 people, but this year they simply could not accommodate the demand for the conference.

Many of the talks were about Data Science this year and the organizer told me this was surprising. In 2015, most of the talks were about web programming. It was clear that Python is making huge inroads in the data science field.

At the end of the conference a final presentation was given where they said that Python is community. It is more than just a programming language on its own. Many of the participants at PyCon Finland were friends, and yet they welcomed newcomers of any experience level. I left the conference with a great impression of the Python community.

Simplicity – Python’s Elegant Syntax

Python was created by Guido van Rossum as a hobby project initially. The basic idea was to create a language with a simple syntax that would be easy and fun to use. This concept of simplicity and readability proved to be revolutionary.

Most other languages developed around the same time focused on features rather than readable syntax. C++ provided a way to do Object Oriented Programming with the C language. Perl offered complex regular expressions and a powerful scripting engine. Javascript could be run inside of a browser. Java chased the Enterprise market for large scale solutions.

Python had the idea to use a batteries included approach which meant basic language features would come prepackaged and not require complex installations. The language was open source, and people began contributing to the code base. There was a fun sense of humor to Python (‘import this’), and when people tried Python they liked it. Word began to spread about Python from programmer to programmer.

Universities Begin Teaching Python

Philip Guo did a wonderful analysis of how Python is being used at top universities for introductory computer science courses.

Philip Guo analysis - Python is #1 for teaching

Philip Guo analysis – Python is #1 for teaching

The top two languages on the list are Python and Java. It is easy to understand why Python is superior to Java for learning. In Python we have:

print(‘hello world’)

While in Java we have:

public class HelloWorld {
public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out.println(“Hello, World”);
}
}

That is in addition to Java needing an interactive development environment, configuring the proper JRE/JDK, putting JAVA_HOME on your path, and other settings just to print a simple hello world program.

Imagine explaining to a first time programmer what public static void main means. With so many students learning Python as their first language it is bound to increase the popularity of Python.

Where Python Is Heading

It is my hope that the Python community continues to grow. What do you think are the reasons for the explosive growth of Python? Leave me a comment below!

5 Comments

  1. Usman Nasir

    November 9, 2016

    Post a Reply

    Maybe the amount of libraries present for a different kind of field of studies like MachineLearning, networking , penetration testing and more.

    • rampage101

      November 9, 2016

      Post a Reply

      Yea, it seems the Python libraries are really great currently and provide a lot of value to people in different fields. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. Ann

    November 18, 2016

    Post a Reply

    Oh, yeah! Python is a great introductory language. I think it should become the standard first language to learn.

  3. Joel Lawhead

    November 22, 2016

    Post a Reply

    The interactive interpreter, which is now common, was revolutionary. It encouraged experimentation with the language. You could quickly test ideas out and know that when you put code in your program it was going to work. The infrastructure to easily create python APIs to C libraries is also what helped the language spread virally to many scientific fields that needed programming but nut necessarily computer scientists.

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