9 Best Online Resources to Start Learning Python Today

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Want to start learning Python but struggling to find quality resources? Well, they're out there—and we'll review them here. In no particular order, here are the best online resources to learn Python.

Courses

1. Vertabelo Academy

Vertabelo Academy is an interactive e-learning platform that offers nine Python courses. Among them, you can find two learning paths: programming and data science.

Programming path:

  • Python Basics Part 1. This is the first of a two-part course that covers everything you need to know about Python so you can start writing your own scripts and applications. You’ll learn how to use variables, data types, mathematical operators, conditional statements, loops, and functions.
  • Python Basics Part 2. Building on the first course in the series, this Python course reviews important issues related to data structures: lists, dictionaries, error handling, processing user input, and operating on text files. You’ll learn to write more complex applications and create scripts to automate various tasks.
  • Python Basics Part 3. This is the final course in our Python Basics series. You'll learn new powerful data structures: tuples and sets. Together with lists and dictionaries, they comprise the essential data structures that any aspiring Python developer should know. You’ll also learn how to work with date and time. Once you finish these three basic courses, you’ll be able to write advanced applications that solve a variety of problems commonly found in the IT world.
  • How to Read and Write JSON Files in Python. If you know the basics of Python, you can take this course to learn more about processing files. This includes opening, reading, and processing JSON files. You will learn how to handle JSON files with NULL, arrays, or nested objects. You will also learn how to differentiate JSON and CSV files. This is a great guide for students, beginner developers, and programmers.
  • Python Data Structures in Practice. This is a good course for beginner programmers or students with basic Python skills who want to gain practical knowledge of Python and learn how to solve fundamental programming problems with basic data structures. You will analyze common cases for each of the four data structures and present optimal solutions to typical problems. At the and of this course, you have the chance to write a PC game.
  • Built-in Algorithms in Python. This course is the next step after the “Python Data Structures in Practice” course. You will learn how to apply typical operations to basic data structures, like finding the highest value in the dictionary, sorting string values in a list, or checking if tuples contain a given element. This course answers questions about searching, sorting, using the “in” operator, and finding the index of elements in a given structure or the number of occurrences of an item. You will also learn how to apply lambdas. This course is not only for junior programmers but also for professionals who use Python.

Data science path:

  • Introduction to Python for Data Science. This course is ideal for anyone who wants to specifically use Python for data analysis. You’ll learn how to import and work with CSV files, create simple data visualizations, perform simple data analysis, and work with variables, data frames, and filters. You’ll also gain hands-on experience with Python data science libraries such as matplotlib for data visualization and pandas for data analysis.
  • Working with Strings in Python. This course extends your knowledge about string operations in Python, which are widely used in all modern programming languages. You'll learn how to join, slice, and iterate over strings and will explore string functions such as replace(), split(), and strip(). You’ll also learn how to format and display string values. This course is perfect for students who have very basic knowledge of Python.
  • How to Read and Write CSV Files in Python. This introductory course teaches you how to operate on data from a CSV file. You’ll learn how to read CSV files with opencsv, process them in for loops, read a CSV row into a list or dictionary, and switch between various CSV formats. This course also teaches you how to create a custom CSV dialect that matches your preferred CSV file format. This course is recommended for students with basic Python skills.
Vertabelo Academy

All these courses are designed with beginners in mind, so if you don’t have any programming or IT experience, you’ll feel right at home. You don’t even need to know how to install Python or set up an interactive development environment (IDE)—you can get your hands dirty in Vertabelo Academy’s sandbox environment.

Experienced software developers will tell you that the best way to learn programming is by doing— and that’s exactly what you get with Vertabelo Academy. In each course, you’ll gain hands-on practice with plenty of interactive exercises, and you’ll get real-time feedback on your work. If you have any questions, you can also chat with other members of the Vertabelo Academy community in the Discuss tab of the course.

Getting started with Vertabelo Academy is rather straightforward: you just need to register with your email address or social media profile (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or GitHub) and then purchase a course. You can also take advantage of course bundles to save money.

At the end of every course, you’ll get a verifiable certificate of completion to showcase your mastery. And if you’re not satisfied with the quality of a course, you can get a refund within 30 days of purchase.

Pros and cons:

+ Interactive, hands-on courses

+ Thorough and understandable explanations

+ Sandbox environment that’s ideal for beginners

+ Plenty of exercises to sharpen your coding skills

+ Plenty of real-world examples to cement the material you learn

+ Visual aids like charts and pictures to guide explanations

+ Hints for exercises to help you out if you get stuck

+ Free (but limited) test drive for any course you want

+ Comprehensive review quiz at the end of each course

+ Certificate of completion at the end of each course

- All courses are paid

- Requires registration

2. Codecademy—Learn Python

Codecademy delivers free and paid interactive programming courses. As with Vertabelo Academy, you have to register before you can access any courses.

Note: Codecademy’s paid Python course is for the newer version of this language (Python 3).

Codecademy

Learn Python is a free course that covers the basics of Python:

  • Operating on text
  • Using conditions and loops
  • Creating and using functions
  • Using data structures: (lists, dictionaries)
  • Creating classes
  • Working with files

At the end of each part of a course, you can test your knowledge with a quiz or master your skills with hands-on projects. Unfortunately, both quizzes and projects are available only to users who have subscribed to the paid Pro version. Moreover, the most recent version of the Python language is locked behind a paywall, so you’ll be at a disadvantage if you just learn Python 2.

Pros and cons:

+ Some courses (like Learn Python 2) are free

+ Everything you need is available in an interactive sandbox environment

+ Relevant examples to guide instruction

+ Practical tasks and projects to solve

+ Hints for exercises

+ Certificate of completion

- Requires registration

- Learn Python 3 is locked behind the Pro version

- Projects and quizzes are often locked behind the Pro version

- Explanations are usually short and often hold your hand



Tutorials

3. W3Schools—Python Tutorial

W3Schools is a popular online resource that offers lots of free tutorials for web developers and programmers.

Python Tutorial

Their Python tutorial covers the issues of syntax, keywords, loops, conditional statements, and data structures (sets, lists, dictionaries, tuples). You’ll also learn how to:

  • Create functions
  • Use try-except blocks
  • Operate on text and date data
  • Work with files

All of the example code segments can be run in their interactive environment, and you can modify the code as you please to try new things. There are no quizzes to test your knowledge, but the site does offer lots of explanations and exercises.

W3Schools offers an additional resource, the Python Reference, for many Python methods and keywords.

Pros and cons:

+ Free platform

+ No registration required

+ Lots of interactive exercises (51)

+ Wide range of topics covered

- Explanations are often short and sometimes unclear

- No certificate of completion

- No review quizzes to test your knowledge

- No projects to solve on your own

4. Real Python

Real Python is a website that offers Python tutorials rich in engaging visuals and thorough written explanations. Like W3Schools, it’s free and doesn’t require registration for its tutorials. The biggest downside is that these tutorials are articles, so they’re not interactive.

Real Python

Each lesson includes colorful illustrations to help you better understand the concepts. Real Python also provides three different paths for learning Python:

  • Beginner in programming
  • Experience with other languages
  • Intermediate Python developer

This platform also offers quizzes for reviewing your knowledge.

Pros and cons:

+ Free tutorials

+ No registration required

+ Quizzes on a variety of topics

+ Wide range of topics covered

+ Plenty of engaging visuals

+ Easy-to-understand explanations

- No certificate of completion

- No quizzes to test your understanding

- No tasks to solve on your own

5. TechBeamers—Learn Python

TechBeamers is an e-learning platform that delivers lots of free programming tutorials, including its Learn Python series. Registration is not required.

TechBeamers

You’ll find material here for beginner and advanced levels. One major downside is that there are no interactive exercises or sandbox environments—you’ll have to program outside the platform. However, the explanations are quite good and include plenty of screenshots to guide your understanding. TechBeamers also offers quizzes and Python interview questions.

Pros and cons:

+ Free

+ Doesn’t require registration

+ Understandable explanations

+ Lots of examples

+ Wide range of topics covered

+ Visuals that supplement text

- Not an interactive platform

- No practical tasks to solve on your own

- No certificate of completion

- No quiz at the end of each tutorial

6. TutorialsPoint—Python Basic Tutorial

TutorialsPoint is a very popular (and free) e-learning platform that doesn’t require registration. It offers an interactive Python tutorial.

utorialsPoint—Python Basic Tutorial

The Python Basic Tutorial discusses many of the relevant topics of the Python programming language, including:

  • Variables
  • Conditions
  • Loops
  • Data structures
  • Functions
  • Libraries
  • Dates and times
  • Exception handling

If you click the “Live Demo” button on their tutorial, you’ll be taken to an interactive sandbox environment where you can write code and see the corresponding output.

Pros and cons:

+ Free

+ Doesn’t require registration

+ Interactive tutorials and exercises

+ Plenty of good examples and explanations

+ Wide range of topics covered

- No certificate of completion

- No practical tasks to solve on your own

7. The Python Tutorial

The Python Tutorial is the official Python documentation. It covers basic and advanced Python topics—essentially documenting everything you need to know about the language.

The Python Tutorial

The Python documentation is good for beginners and advanced users alike. You’ll learn about the following (and much more):

  • Control flow
  • Operating on text
  • Using loops and data structures
  • Creating functions
  • Creating and using classes
  • Operating on files

The documentation is also a great reference for any libraries and functions you come across in your Python programming journey.

Pros and cons:

+ Free

+ Doesn’t require registration

+ Thorough explanations

+ Lots of examples used

+ Wide range of topics covered

+ Official documentation for the Python language

- Some of the content is a bit technical for beginners

- No quizzes to test your understanding

- No certificate of completion

Books

8. A Byte of Python

A Byte of Python is an online book for learning Python that’s mainly written for beginners.

A Byte of Python

You don’t need to register or pay to read the book. You can also copy the text, use it for commercial purposes, or buy the print version if you wish.

Even though it lacks interactive exercises, the book is still a good resource for learning the basics of Python and getting your hands dirty. You’ll also learn how to install Python on your host machine and dive into a number of important Python topics, ranging from the basics to object-oriented programming and libraries.

At the end of the book, you’ll find additional resources and links to expand your Python skills.

Pros and cons:

+ Free

+ Doesn’t require registration

+ Thorough and understandable explanations

+ Plenty of good examples

+ Helps you install Python

- No practical tasks to solve

- No certificate of completion

- No quizzes to test your understanding

9. Think Python 2e

Released in the second edition, Think Python is online book available in HTML or PDF format. You can also buy it in print.

Think Python 2e

This book is a great resource for beginners, but advanced programmers will also benefit from it. It thoroughly explains each concept and shows lots of simple examples.

But this book doesn't just limit itself to basic Python topics—you’ll also learn about databases, debugging, inheritance, polymorphism, and algorithm analysis. All in all, it’s a great resource.

This book is not interactive, but there are exercises to solve at the end of each chapter, so you do get some practice (but certainly not as much as with a course).

Pros and cons:

+ Free

+ Doesn’t require registration

+ Thorough explanations

+ Lots of good examples

+ Exercises that you can solve on your own

- Has no hints for exercises

- Has no quizzes to test your understanding

Summary

There you have it! Hopefully, you’re now worrying less about where to start learning Python and more about when to start—and there’s no better time than now.

My advice? Start with an interactive online course, and supplement your learning with some of the other free resources listed in this article.

I hope you found this helpful! Stay tuned for more Python articles.

Dorota Wdzięczna

Data Science Writer @ Vertabelo

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