Mattan Griffel Co-founder of One Month. Faculty at Columbia Business School. I write about startups, technology, and philosophy.

Why You Should Learn Python As Your Next (or First) Programming Language

4 min read

We’ve got a major course release coming up! The Python course was so successful that we’ve decided to up our game even more by adding brand-new material recorded with me, Mattan Griffel. I’m a Co-Founder of One Month and an adjunct professor at Columbia University, and I’m so excited for you to experience our re-launch! If you have been waiting to learn Python, this is the time to make it happen.

I recently sat down with Sarah Peck to talk about why we at One Month believe the Python should be your next (or first) programming language and why this is the course to get you started. Check out our conversation below!

What is Python?

Python is a popular programming language. Thousands of companies have built their websites with Python, including Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Instagram, and Reddit. Python is used for all sorts of things like building websites, web scraping, data analysis, machine learning, and natural language processing. The Python language is designed to be easy to read without sacrificing power, which makes it an excellent language for beginners to learn.

Why should you learn Python?

If you are new to coding, you should start with the Python language because it is powerful without being overly complicated. Python is a relatively new language, so it’s more streamlined than older languages, making it more intuitive and quicker to pick up.

If you are looking to add a language to your existing quiver, the demand for Python programmers is huge. According to, the average Python developer salary in the US is over $120,000. That’s not shabby!   

What about Ruby?

Ruby and Python are both good to learn, but Python is especially useful for data analytics and science stuff. It has a number of coding tools that make things like statistics easier to do. Ruby, on the other hand, is specifically meant to help you build websites.

With all of the language options out there, why is Python a good place to start?

There are a lot of programming languages. There’s C, C++, Go, Java, Javascript, PHP, Python, Ruby, and Swift,to name a few. But you have to start somewhere, and I recommend starting with either Python or Ruby. Both languages have enormous developer communities with lots of resources, and there are features of the languages that make them easier for beginners to learn (for reasons it would be hard to explain here, but for example like they don’t require; after every line or do crazy iterative for loops like Javascript.)

How did you teach yourself Python? And why?

I taught myself Python using a bunch of online resources such as Learn Python the Hard Way, Codecademy, and Exercism. Why? Because I wanted to be able to compare what it would be like learning a new programming language (I already knew Ruby). Basically, I wanted to see what all the fuss what about!

After learning Python, I knew that there had to be a better way to teach it. This eventually led us to create our Python course at One Month.   

What can you build with Python?

Just about anything you can build with other programming languages, like C++ or Ruby, can be built with Python. You can create websites, web scrapers, crawlers, scripts, interact with APIs, build your own APIs, build automated and messaging bots, and make phone calls and send text messages. You can also do machine learning, data analytics, natural language processing, statistical models, and just about everything else besides building entire iPhone and Android apps. Not to mention that there are dozens of famous websites built using Python!

What will we learn in your class? 

In the new class, we’ll write scripts that run calculations, automate tasks, get data from APIs (like stock prices and the weather), build a bot that sends text messages, write a web scraper, and build a web application.

(Yes, you’ll be able to do all of that within 30 days!)

Who is this course for?

This is for anyone who wants to learn Python but doesn’t know where to start.

Who is it not for?

This is not for experienced developers or for people who already know Python but are looking for a refresher. It’s also not ideal for people who are looking to learn to code just for fun. We pride ourselves on graduating students who are capable of working in the programming feed, which may be overkill for someone doing it for kicks and giggles.

It is a course that takes commitment — both in time and energy — so it’s not designed for people who aren’t serious about learning something new.

What is the time commitment?

We ask our students to invest at least 30 minutes a day to work on the course. Some people do it all on the weekends, spending 3-4 hours watching the videos, do the projects, and figure things out. Other people space it out during the week. Your goal is to get it done, so pacing yourself is important!

My biggest piece of advice is not to avoid or postpone assignments. Live courses are an amazing opportunity to ask questions, receive feedback, and connect with other students. If you fall behind on your assignments, the live courses will be far less helpful.

Why did you change the course up and re-launch it?

We decided to relaunch the course because we’ve learned so much about what you need to know to be successful since we first launched it. Our original course focused heavily on Django and building web apps, but we’ve found that it’s more helpful to explore Python deeply while showing you a wider variety of application. With our new version, students will learn faster, learn more, and walk away with even better projects that show off your new skills.  

What do you wish more students knew before they signed up for the Python course?

I wish that more students knew that they don’t need to enter with a foundation of knowledge! We’re here to take them from 0 to 100.  With that said, if you’re hungry to start learning there are a few things you can do before you learn python like install Python 3 on your computer, and why you’re at it know the difference between Python 2 and Python 3.

What are your favorite learning tools for Python?

The resources I used to teach myself, Learn Python the Hard Way and Exercism, are two of my favorites!

Anything else you want to tell people in advance?

I hope to see you in the course! And if you have any questions about it, leave a note in the comments so I can answer it.

How do students sign up for the Python course?

Sign up here for One Month: Python. New courses start every Monday.



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Mattan Griffel Co-founder of One Month. Faculty at Columbia Business School. I write about startups, technology, and philosophy.