Module 1: Getting Started with Python

This module introduces the reader to the Python programming language and to some powerful tools for writing and running Python code. We will discuss what Python is, what it means to be a programming language, as well as what happens when you install Python on your computer.

Next, we will step through the process of installing Python on our computers. Specifically, we will be installing the Anaconda distribution of Python, which includes critical 3rd party libraries and tools that are essential for doing any STEM-related work (e.g. NumPy, matplotlib, and Jupyter).

Ready or not, it’s time to actually write some code! Armed with our fresh install of Python, we will embark on an informal introduction to the language by dabbling with numbers, messing with strings, and playing with lists. This will allow us to begin building an intuition of what Python’s syntax generally looks like and what it feels like to write and run Python code. Module 2 is where we will begin a more careful study of the language.

Lastly, we will take some time to survey some modern tools for writing and editing Python code. This includes the revolutionary Jupyter notebook, which has become a fantastically popular tool for researchers, data scientists, educators, and students alike. Also presented are two of the most powerful integrated development environments (IDEs) for Python: PyCharm and Visual Studio Code.