Why Use Python?

Python's expansive library of open source data analysis tools, web frameworks, and testing instruments make its ecosystem one of the largest out of any programming community.

Python is an accessible language for new programmers because the community provides many introductory resources. The language is also widely taught in universities and used for working with beginner-friendly devices such as the Raspberry Pi.

Python logo.

If you're learning about why to use Python you should also take a look at the best Python resources and read more about web development.

Python's programming language popularity

Several programming language popularity rankings exist. While it's possible to criticize that these guides are not exact, every ranking shows Python as a top programming language within the top ten, if not the top five of all languages.

The IEEE ranked Python as the #1 programming language in 2019, which continued its hot streak after ranking it #1 in 2018 and 2017. RedMonk's June 2019 ranking had Python at #3, which held consistent from previous years' rankings in 2018 and 2017.

Stack Overflow's community-created question and answer data confirms the incredible growth of the Python ecosystem and tries to determine why it growing so quickly with their own analysis. In the 2020 Stack Overflow developer survey the data indicated that Python was the fastest growing major programming language and that there is a close alignment between the languages and tools that developers choose to learn and the usage in developers' professional work.

The TIOBE Index a long-running language ranking, has Python moving up the charts to #3, climbing from #8 just a few years ago.

The PopularitY of Programming Language (PYPL), based on leading indicators from Google Trends search keyword analysis, shows Python at #1.

GitHut, a visualization of GitHub language popularity, pegs Python at #3 overall.

These rankings provide a rough measure for language popularity. They are not intended as a precise measurement tool to determine exactly how many developers are using a language. However, the aggregate view shows that Python remains a stable programming language with a growing ecosystem.

Why does the choice of programming language matter?

Programming languages have unique ecosystems, cultures and philosophies built around them. You will find friction with a community and difficulty in learning if your approach to programming varies from the philosophy of the programming language you've selected.

Python's culture values open source software, community involvement with local, national and international events and teaching to new programmers. If those values are also important to you and/or your organization then Python may be a good fit.

The philosophy for Python is so strongly held that it's even embedded in the language as shown when the interpreter executes "import this" and displays The Zen of Python.

>>> import this
The Zen of Python, by Tim Peters

Beautiful is better than ugly.
Explicit is better than implicit.
Simple is better than complex.
Complex is better than complicated.
Flat is better than nested.
Sparse is better than dense.
Readability counts.
Special cases aren't special enough to break the rules.
Although practicality beats purity.
Errors should never pass silently.
Unless explicitly silenced.
In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess.
There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it.
Although that way may not be obvious at first unless you're Dutch.
Now is better than never.
Although never is often better than *right* now.
If the implementation is hard to explain, it's a bad idea.
If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea.
Namespaces are one honking great idea -- let's do more of those!

More perspectives on using Python

Programming language rankings and the philosophy behind a language provide solid initial data points for why you should learn Python. These resources also give perspectives on why people switched from other programming communities and why they advocate for Python as a primary language.

What else do you want to learn about Python?

What editor should I use to code my Python app?

I want to learn how to code a Python web application using a framework.

What are web application programming interfaces (APIs)?

Matt Makai 2012-2022