Python 3 by the book

Python “is going to help them in their career. It’s the future.”

The way to learn programming is to study the fastest growing language in the world, according to Irv Kalb, who has just published an introductory book on the newest version of Python—Python 3.

Learn to Program with Python 3: A Step-by-Step Guide to Programming (Second Edition) is, like Kalb’s course—Python Programming for Beginners—an introductory approach to programming.

“I use Python because it’s an excellent teaching language,” Kalb says. A simple program that may require eight to 12 lines of code in one language, may require only a single line of code in Python. “The syntax, the way that you write things in Python, is much more clear than in most other languages. It’s easier to write and to read because the language takes care of many details.”

Python is gaining ground in college and industry as a general purpose language with applicability across diverse industries. If programmers begin working with Python for one job or career, they can easily jump to another, even if it’s in an unrelated industry, according to the Packt Skill Up survey earlier this year.

The Stack Overflow’s 2018 Annual Developer Survey in March ranked Python as one of the fastest-growing languages. Engineers ranked it No. 1 in the IEEE 2018 list of top programming languages in August.

Kalb’s book, available online this week from Apress Publishing Co. and Amazon, is an update to Kalb’s first book on the subject, which was based on Python 2 and released in 2016. Support for Python 2.7 will be ending Jan. 2, 2020, however. This new edition addresses the latest capabilities of the language.

“The new version contains more detailed explanations and all code samples were rewritten into Python 3,” Kalb says. Like the first one, it builds on curriculum from his Extension course.

“My course and my book assume that the reader/student has never written a single line of computer code,” Kalb says. By the end of a six-week course, however, his Python Programming for Beginners students are able to write a small- to medium-size program in Python. The book adds to the instruction because Kalb has the space and time to provide a more comprehensive dive into the language.

“The interesting thing about teaching at UCSC is that the people really want to learn the material,” Kalb says. “Either they have a job where they need to learn this language or they want to get a job that uses Python so they’re very motivated. It’s going to help them in their career. It’s the future.”


Have some questions about Python Programming for Beginners? Contact our Outreach Team at or (408) 861-3860.

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