Understanding Programming with Python

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About this wiki

Understanding Programming with Python is a curriculum for teaching programming concepts using the Python programming language. The author has been teaching programming courses since 1999, and has come to the conclusion that Python makes the best language for a new programmer to learn.

Python’s advantages include:

  • Simple syntax and elegant data structures
  • Enforced indentation, making code look organized
  • Fully object-oriented (OO), but flexible in allowing programming in either OO or procedural style
  • Wealth of 3rd party modules, ensuring that students will make Python useful throughout their careers

I have created this wiki in order to share my curriculum and also to improve it. You cannot edit this wiki, but you can add to the discussion on each page, and that will help me update the curriculum. If you are interested in this process, please send me an email at


About Python and education

Python continues to grow in popularity. According to http://www.tiobe.com/tpci.htm, it is now the 6th most popular programming language in the world, surpassing both C# and Perl.

Python's potential as an introductory programming language seems enormous. Of all languages today, it best combines simple syntax with powerful programming constructs.

Until recently, Python has been considered an obscure language. This is no longer the case. As the section on Python in the Real World shows, Python is happening! Educators will be more inclined to use Python when they realize that the student can use it in a wide variety of applications after the course is over.

The Python in Education special interest group at http://www.python.org/community/sigs/current/edu-sig/ is composed of educators who are now considering Python for their introductory programming courses. Their interest signals an emerging trend in education to which this wiki responds.

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