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Python is powerful. Its syntax is simple and sparse as elegant as the algorithms and equations it is built upon. Coding in it is a course is brevity and functional simplicity. Because of its considerable strengths, Python has grown exponentially in popularity. Currently, it’s one of the most in demand technical skills with an average median salary of a hefty $92,000. Most self-respecting coders know a touch of Java and C++. Being proficient in those mainstays may not prove to be enough to keep a competitive edge. Developers must utilize languages with faster development times as to not fall victim to vaporware.

Increasingly, software developers need to broaden their horizons and learn multiple programming languages in depth. Python is a perfect stepping stone into branching out as a developer. Still, committing yourself to becoming knowledgeable of a brand new programming language is a serious endeavor. Why should you devote yourself to the task of learning Python? Here are the top 5 reasons:

1. Easy-to-learn object oriented programming

When you look at Python code, you’ll notice that it resembles a scripting language. This is no coincidence. Scripting languages, as opposed to object-oriented programming (OOP) languages, are much simpler to learn. As you have probably already noticed, it’s less complex, which allows for faster programming. This way, you can accomplish tasks in a much faster development cycle. In fact, Python programs are, on average, 5-10 times shorter than equivalent C++ code.

What sets Python apart? Python isn’t merely a programming language with classes pasted on. It melds functional, procedural and object-oriented models to create an exceedingly versatile and easy-to-learn tool. This is what is so beautiful about Python: while it looks like Ruby, it can become as sophisticated as C++.

2. Large open source community

Maybe you’re a fan of Lua or Scheme. They’re elegant programming languages with the power to create amazing platforms. Lua has proven to be an effective lightweight tool for programming interactive video games and was used famously in the perennial classic Grim Fandango. Why isn’t this article listing reasons to learn Lua? While Lua and other languages like it are perfectly good languages to learn, they are limited due to the size of their communities and, therefore, the number of applications they can be used with realistically. Further, learning Lua could prove to be a purely academic endeavor, while Python has innumerable obvious, practical uses. Indeed, Python’s exceptionally large and active open source community can guide you as you learn the language’s ins and outs.

3. Rapid prototyping

Behavior reuse is an integral part of OOP languages. In Python, components written in C and components written in Python are treated the same. This makes it incredibly easy to prototype in Python then move those programs over to another target language, such as C++. This remarkable flexibility gives you the ability to prototype at rapid speeds since you won’t need to be rewriting code over and over again.

4. Internet scripting

Python comes equipped with a great deal of functionality for networking tasks. Programming client-side and server-side functionality can be done with great speed, from transferring files to generating XML documents. Due in part to its rapid development cycles, Python programmers are attracted to it as a solution for creating systems that respond quickly to the Internet’s constant change.

5. Powerful and mixable

As you’ve probably already surmised, Python can be used in a variety of contexts. Internet scripting is only one (albeit very popular) use of the language. Data mining, database programming, systems programming and video game programming are just more slices of the seemingly never-ending pie. Its automatic garbage collection means an end to dangling pointers, its large library and precoded object types allows for coding complex programs in moments, and its overabundance of third-party tools creates a rather expansive language. Best of all, you can mix Python with lower level languages like C for better efficiency. Python can act as the adhesive to disparate components, mixing together Python and C++ without losing the desired speed of development.

Python is a perfect second or third language to add to your programming repertoire, thanks to its flexibility and ease-of-use. What’s more: it can even act as your first foray into programming. It’s a perfect primer for object-oriented concepts without all the hassle of unnecessarily complicated syntax. Its large open source community will provide you with virtually unlimited resources as you learn to apply your Python skills to real world applications, such as Internet scripting and systems programming.

As Python programming becomes a more lucrative skill, it’s hard to find reasons to avoid the language given its manifold uses and benefits. Learning a new programming language is never easy work, but Python will be well worth the time and energy you invest into it. Keep learning, researching and refining your coding skills as you practice your Python programming and you’ll be a bonafide snake charmer in no time.