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Ask HN: What made you learn Python?
18 points by skies 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 32 comments

Working with scientific researchers and data analysts.

I was a big fan of ruby, and doing web development, so the pressure was on to learn javascript, which I really wasn't enjoying. Only partly the language, mainly the framework churn.

I was a math major and industrial engineering grad student and did a lot of analytical code in a previous life (numerical recipes in C kind of thing, as well as Java interfacing with ILOG/CPLEX). So I managed to get over to that side of life again.

Ruby isn't big in the scientific computing world, but python is pleasant to work with. The whole thing is a better match for me, kind of glad to be out of web development.

That said, it does limit employment options somewhat. There's enough activity in python/analytics/data science to provide some options, but it's also very popular (a lot of people really want to do ML/AI stuff, so the competition is high). If you really have the front end/full stack javascript thing nailed, my guess is that jobs are very easy to come by

I work in the aerospace industry as an embedded software engineer. There are a great deal of engineers in the department that use Ruby over Python (long story so please don't ask). However, I find that Python shines in it's community of contributors and users. There are tons of free online documentation, resources, forums, tutorials and even free courses.

Other than the above, my mentors have stressed the advantages of automating my tasks now rather than later. This was the main drive in getting on board with learning a scripting language quite quickly. I initially tried Ruby and it didn't seem like a language an embedded software engineer should be using "daily" over the alternative (the language I wanted to learn in first place) being python. I'm sure someone has an alternative opinion on that. Another main contributor at the time was the amount of time I spent scp'n files back and forth between two hosts. There's an awesome python library called paramiko that solved all the annoyances with doing this manually. Cheers~D

The team hated Perl in an almost religious fashion (although they never worked with nor bothered to learn it) so we settled with Python. I must say the ones pushing for it weren't exactly our best programmers.

Note that I didn't have to "learn" Python. It brought nothing to the table other than a different syntax and concepts such as generators, iterators, metaclasses and list comprehensions were not new to me.

Fast forward a few years and while I admit that it probably has the best ecosystem a dynamic language has to offer, I still don't see the point of Python language-wise (disclaimer: I don't factor in implementations and ecosystems when talking about programming languages).

Worked in a team that developed it's own tools for NeXTStep (yeah, that long ago) ...

Glen joined the team and holy shit Glen was awesome. Was scripting in PERL with ObjectiveC bindings until Glen looked over my shoulder and told me that was crap. So he wrote Python bindings for ObjectiveC over the weekend and made me learn Python.

Can't remember the version, but the only support came from Guido Van Rossum via email so that was a magical time.

In high school I wanted to make a Twitter bot that tweeted about the weather everyday. I had an easy time with Python's Libraries / Ecosystem.

I downloaded Sage, and Sage uses it. I was getting into solving mathematical problems by setting them in the appropriate number system - like finding the perfect data structure for a problem, so the answer drops out. Then realized Cython is a zillion times faster (took a while to learn how to get it to run at full speed) and now use that for everything.

My boss made me. I'm glad he did, though.

I was working on Java at the time. While browsing tech sites, I came across Python. I think there was a good description of it as a VHLL, including the usual term "executable pseudocode"; also, there was a good online tutorial about Internet programming with Python, and I was new to both. Got hooked, and never looked back.

Forgot to mention: I came for the language, and stayed for the community.

I noticed python in the very early 2000s and my reaction was pretty much like that of ESR [0]:

1. Significant whitespace!? Eeeew!

2. Pause, measured in a month or so.

3. Hm, code gets written quickly and usually works...

4. Finished problem solver that eluded me in C.

5. SOLD!

[0] https://www.linuxjournal.com/article/3882

Used to use MATLAB for all data processing. Python was free and seemed to be gaining popularity. One day for analysing some data just decided let's see if I can do this in Python. Went from zero to a fully functioning script with many features in a few hours. I was hooked.

Had to for work. I switched from a PHP team to a Python and Perl team. I vastly preferred Python. Later, I worked to introduce Go at work and now nearly all legacy services are Go. Now I only use Python for little quick scripts.

Have to use deep learning framework.

The official language for some Stanford/online courses, no choice.

Need to write some scripts that don’t need extra dependencies on Linux and Mac. And shell is too difficult.

I wanted to get SMS notifications from a constantly updated Google spreadsheet.

Simplest way to work it and an SMS api was using Python.

I use Google Apps Script and Twilio for something pretty similar.

It's the only way to write plugins for Sublime Text. That aside, I would not choose to use it.

It was much nicer than Perl in that I could actually read and understand code I wrote 6+ months back.

Desire to automate manual processes that take our team months to complete otherwise.

Not good enough with C and C++, bored with VB for Excel and lua.

Tried the Django tutorial and loved the framework.

Using Blender

back in the day, it ran better on windows before we had strawberry Perl.

This comic: https://xkcd.com/353/

The alt-text of the comic hints at project Euler, which is another extraordinary rabbit-hole xkcd got me into.

easy to learn, wide support, great community, fast development

Data science and ML.

all the good ML tools are in python



When was this? I graduated highschool only 2 years ago and all through it they forced us to use Delphi, because the old teachers didn't know anything else. At least I learnt Java in my spare time back then.

2006, but my highschool was really early in Germany with this (and e.g. we weren't allowed to use Python in our exit exams years later, since it hadn't been approved yet)

Why not Ruby?

The two aren't mutually exclusive.

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