If you want to learn Python, there are plenty of free online coding resources. My aim here is to identify some of the best options available when it comes specifically to free online Python courses and tutorials.
As I’ve discussed before, Python is one of the best programming languages in demand for finding meaningful work. Not only is it easy to learn — it’s useful, and it can lead to a number of interesting career paths. The best part? Python isn’t that difficult to learn, so with the right online tutorials, you can teach yourself Python from home.
Before you start learning Python, it’s important that you know there are two popular versions: Python 2 and Python 3. I suggest you start with Python 3! Though a fair deal of websites still use the legacy Python 2 language, Python 3 is the future. Think of it this way: new websites will continue to launch using Python 3, and when older sites finally get around to updating their code they’ll also catch up to Python 3. So unless you’re already at a company that requires you to learn Python 2? Then it doesn’t make much sense to learn the older version now — so learn the newest version.
Most Apple computers come with some version of Python 2 pre-installed. But as I said, you’re going to want to learn Python 3. And you can’t learn Python 3 if it’s not on your computer. You might be wondering: How do I install Python 3? To be honest, it’s not super intuitive. Luckily, the Install Python site makes it easy to take care of that all-important first step.
Install Python is a step-by-step guide to installation, starting with your operating system. It will tell you what programs to install, and where to install them. It’s more than one simple button push, but that’s OK — we walk you through everything. Along the way we explain what you’re installing on your computer, and why.
The guided process may take a bit of time, but it should ensure that you’ve got everything you need to start learning Python.
Here at One Month we offer a free version of our complete Learn Python course! In the free version of the course, you’ll learn Python 3, how to install Python, command line basics, variables, floats, strings, and debugging Python code! The curriculum for Learn Python is taught at Columbia Business School and many other MBA programs around the world.
LearnPython.org is a favorite of mine. The site provides a handful of interactive Python tutorials that you can start playing with right in the browser.
When you arrive at the site you’ll see is the Python code on the left-hand side of the screen. Click “Run” and you’ll be able to see the result display in real-time. Feel free to edit, or alter the Python code and then hit “Run” again to see what happens. This is a wonderful way to experiment and learn on the go!
What can you expect to learn? LearnPython breaks down learning into different sections: It starts with the very basics, and then works its way up through data science tutorials (using Numpy Arrays, and Pandas), as well as advanced tutorials (so that you can learn closures, and regular expressions).
Don’t be fooled by the title. Zed Shaw’s various Code the Hard Way tutorials are designed specifically for beginners. Shaw has helped “millions” learn various programming languages like Python and the Command-Line. If you learn Python with One Month, Zed Shaw’s Learn Python the Hard Way is included as pre-work.
Learn Python the Hard Way has been updated for Python 3. It’s an e-book, and to access it in full, you’ll need to spend $30. But I’m focusing on the free here, and LPtHW offers a number of free chapters. In fact, beyond its introduction, the website also offers eight exercises that you can start with. It’s a great tutorial for beginners, and if you like what you read, you may want to buy the whole thing. If you’d like to learn more, listen to this interview with Zed Shaw on the Learn to Code Podcast.
I used to recommend Codecademy’s Python course, but since it’s Python 2 (and their Python 3 course is a paid course) I no longer recommend it. Unless, that is, you are trying to learn Python 2 for some reason. I’m including it on this list just to help you stay up to date. Learn more about the difference between Python 2 and Python 3.
6. The Best Python Channels on YouTube
YouTube is a great resource for learning Python online. There are a number of Python learning channels that I love. Here are just a few of my favorite:
- Al Sweigart has more than 54,000 subscribers for his programming videos. He has three playlists dedicated to Python, focused on automation, invention, and getting better at the language.
- LearnPython’s Full Course for Beginners comes from the folks at LearnPython. It’s four-plus hours long, so remember where you left off!
- Clever Programmer has plenty of Python-focused videos and playlists. I’d suggest you start with the playlist: “Python tutorial for beginners.”
- Real Python is a comprehensive Python YouTube channel. Developer Dan Bader’s videos can help newbies and advanced users alike.
From interactive tutorials to eBooks to YouTube videos, this list should give anyone a great start on learning Python for free online — no matter how you learn. But before you get started learning Python for free, you may want to check out my list of 6 Things To Know Before You Learn Python.