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Is Python worth it?

Jack Moore Iii
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 07, 2012
Posts: 76
Back when I was in college, the main language that was being taught was switching from C++ to Java, and stuff like Python was really only being talked about by other students and such but neither them nor the professors gave much indication that it was something that would rival the legacy and more popular languages in a development sense. Has this changed since back then?...
Allen Downey
Author
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 07, 2012
Posts: 25

Yes, I think this is changing. The number of colleges using Python in their intro sequence is growing fast. But I don't have good current numbers. Does anyone have a source?

Allen

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Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16019
    
  20

I don't know about Python in academia, but it's pretty important in Linux, where it has come to essentially serve the same purpose as Visual Basic did for Windows. In fact, the Red Hat, Fedora. and CentOS operating systems all run a process named Anaconda when they first boot in order to auto-configure the hardware, and pretty much all of Anaconda is written in Python. The Trac issue management system that I use to monitor and control bug reports is written mostly in Python as well.

Python has become my weapon of choice when I need something coded in a hurry. It will never replace Java for me for major-league projects, for the simple reason that loosely-typed languages are to apt to explode randomly at runtime and I prefer my explosions at compile-time when possible. Plus, Java was designed from the ground up for security so it's easier to create and maintain secure apps in it. But I don't need compile-time type checking, scalability, or enterprise-grade security when I pull my contacts out of my LDAP server and build my Xmas card mailing labels. So that program - and quite a few others - are coded in Python.


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chris webster
Bartender

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 1671
    
  14

I'm seeing quite a few Python jobs coming up in the financial services sector, where I guess they are taking advantage of Python's excellent scientific/maths libraries (check out Allen's "Think Stats" book for more on this), its portability, and the relative ease of implementation compared to things like enterprise Java.


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