This book sounds like it might be right on time for me as I'm just getting ready to start learning Python. I plan to go into more advanced topics (i.e. data science etc.). The title states that it's for complete beginners so I was wondering if it would provide enough of a foundation to allow me to jump off to advanced topics or it I will need to supplement with additional basic info. If I will need to supplement, what books/material would you recommend?
The book is split into two parts. Part 1 is a general Python tutorial for people who have never programmed before (or never programmed in Python). Part 2 goes into automating various tasks using different modules.
If I were in your shoes, I'd at least read Part 1 and also Chapters 7 through 10 in Part 2. Those cover regular expressions, dealing with files, and Python's debugger. At that point, you'll be ready to jump into any other advanced topic.
Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, a free book for beginners.
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Al's book looks like a good place to start, and there are tons of extra learning materials available online to help you along.
If you're particularly interested in using Python for data science, I'd suggest you install the Anaconda Scientific Python distribution, which includes all the major libraries in mutually compatible versions, and can be installed on any machine (you don't need root/admin privileges). This includes the excellent IPython Notebook server, which is a great way to build programs for exploring and analysing data in your browser - no IDE required.
You should also check out the Pandas library for data analysis, together with the book Python for Data Analysis by Wes McKinney who wrote Pandas. Another powerful library is Bokeh (also in the Anaconda repositories) for fancy interactive graphics in the browser, although there is a bit of a learning curve here.
Python also has great connectivity to all the major SQL and NoSQL databases, so you can access your data wherever it is.