Programming IntroductionΒΆ

What is Programming?:
  • First, let’s cover what’s a Computer?
  • It’s a machine that stores and manipulates information. In it’s simplest form it’s a machine that can add and compare numbers.
  • A Program is a VERY detailed set of instructions telling a computer what to do. Our job as programmers is to figure out and write these instructions to the computer. If you’ve ever taught a baby how to do something, it’s something like that, only even more precise!
Example instructions to adults:
  • “Honey, can you figure out the amount in bills we have to pay next week?”
    • Me to a significant other :)
  • “Don’t forget to say thanks to everyone’s happy birthday posts on your FB wall!”
    • “My todo list on my birthday” ( I wrote a program to do this for me! )
  • “A vanilla shake with cherries and oreo cookies please.”
    • My sister to a cashier.

The main purpose of programming is to solve problems, from getting stuff into outer space, to Facebook and social media, to just keeping track of your expenses. The best way to learn how to program is to be motivated, and the best way to get motivated is to have a passionate problem you want to solve. Writing software to write software may be valid for some people, but for the vast majority of us, programming is a means to get something done. Programming is a tool, just like knitting needles and yarn are tools to create fabric, the goal is the piece of fabric we are making, not the knitting needle! Same with Photography, unless you are a total camera geek, the goal is the amazing picture you take (whether of your kids or of an awesome sunset) and not the tools you use to take the picture. Our goal here is to get your feet wet with the Python programming tool and programming in general, so you can go accomplish awesome fabulous things!

  • Is named after Monty Python, Guido Van Rossum’s (creator of Python’s) favorite acting troupe.
  • Readable, powerful language
  • Great Community
  • Interactive Shell
  • Nasa, Google, Reddit, Lots of Banks and many Governments use Python.
  • Is now the second most frequently used language in business analytics, after SQL (2012 Berkeley paper:
Interactive Shell:
  • Provides instant feedback!

  • >>> is the python "prompt" -- it prompts you to type stuff!
  • Let’s get started with Python now!