What is the need to learn python

T³ EduBlog

The Python Power - explained by Python inventor Guido van Rossum

Posted 03/03/2020 by Koen Stulens

Technology is becoming more and more important in our everyday life and students with programming skills are much better prepared for professional life. That is why Texas Instruments (TI) is also expanding the existing programming capabilities of its technology to include the programming language Python. TI had the unique opportunity to discuss with Python inventor Guido van Rossum how the programming language came about and what potential it has for learners.

Intoxicating physics teacher

"If I had had the chance, I would have been sitting in front of the computer and programming since I was 7," says Guido van Rossum with shining eyes. From the heart of Silicon Valley, the retired developer still leads the Python community as a kind of benevolent dictator for life ’. “50 years ago I went to a high school in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and focused on today's STEM subjects. I found school very easily, although many of the lessons were very theoretical and not very exciting, ”says Guido van Rossum. “But I had a rousing physics teacher who made a lasting impression on me. Fortunately, he also noticed that the two boys were working ahead in the back of the classroom and that both were huge electronics fans. So he let us build an electronic clock as an extra task. That was a great project. This clock was also used in the classroom for years! "

The Python advantage

Guido van Rossum learned programming while studying mathematics at the University of Amsterdam. As a scientist, he later worked there on the development of a new programming language to replace Basic. This was necessary because scientists had to be able to program themselves. The new language called ABC failed, but it resulted in Python, named after the satirical classic ‘Monty Python's Flying Circus.’ "The advantage of Python is that the code is short and clear. Advanced users can read it very easily. This makes it suitable for both beginners and experienced programmers, ”explains Guido van Rossum.

Python in school class

Because of this user-friendliness, Python is one of the best options for programming lessons from secondary level I. “Many other programming languages ​​require precise formulation of the code. In addition, their syntax is often difficult, especially for beginners, ”says Guido van Rossum. “Python is easy to learn. Nevertheless, Python is not a "simple" language. In Silicon Valley, the global capital for high-tech and innovation, every company uses Python to a lesser or greater extent. ”In addition to programming skills, schoolchildren could also acquire important other skills for life. “This includes logical thinking, problem solving and the ability to analyze tasks. The language is pretty abstract, but that should be manageable for learners in this age group. They also learn math at the same time. "

Smaller MINT projects

Guido van Rossum would like schoolchildren to be able to choose programming as a subject. “A lot of children and young people are interested in coding,” he notes. “Schools could offer classes on general computer subjects, including optionally programming. For example, small, practice-oriented projects in which students write codes to control lights, measure temperature or measure movement and acceleration using sensors. This enables a quick introduction to the topic, even if the teachers have little time outside of the curriculum. Many learners will benefit from this knowledge in their professional lives. Every scientist today must be able to program in order to process data. "

Openness that inspires

The need to be able to process data is what makes Python so popular with scientists and companies. “All STEM subjects generate large amounts of data,” explains Guido van Rossum. “For example, physicists who build a particle accelerator collect terabyte-wise data per second. In order to find certain phenomena within such a large amount of data, one has to be able to code and develop software - and that is where scientists use Python. " The fact that Python is an open source programming language is what makes it so powerful. “This openness encourages people to improve on a technical level,” says Guido van Rossum. "There is also a psychological aspect: improving software together is much more fun than alone." The open source method is extremely successful - millions of programmers worldwide work with Python.

Python continues to grow

And how will Python develop in the future? "I think Python will continue to grow", Guido van Rossum is certain. “I expect the greatest developments in the Python libraries - we see a lot of additions here. As for using Python in the classroom, I hope students find the programming language easy and fun and are encouraged to use it outside of school. I hope it's not just some one-off projects, but that they keep actively using the language. It would be great if, after graduating, they started a future in a STEM subject and then they could use their basic Python knowledge for their own research! "