Python Programming - Getting Started
This page is part of Programming and CS - Getting Started
For a video explaining how to get started here, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLnhcCZS4-Y&t=424s
- Reading - start reading through at least one of the following before you start working on the programming problems.
- Learn Python - interactive tutorial where you can try out code in the browser
- Automate the Boring Stuff with Python - suitable for people with very limited programming experience, this is the text that is being followed for our CS 151 course (as of 2019)
- Think Python - suitable for people with very limited programming experience, not very deep
- LearnXinYminutes - quick review once you are familiar with the basics
- Python.org tutorial - good for those with programming experience already
- Get Python installed on your computer - download the latest Python3 version at https://www.python.org/downloads/. Having python3 installed on your computer allows you to debug much quicker.
- Work on solving problems that are listed below.
- Cheat sheets - keep a cheat sheet for yourself of python syntax, built-in functions, etc. See below on this page for our model cheat sheets.
- If you are a current or incoming ISU student, or an ISU alumni, sign up for the ISU CS Mattermost at https://judy.indstate.edu. Note that you need to use your @sycamores.indstate.edu email address to sign up. Look for the Python Programming Channel (direct link is https://judy.indstate.edu/isu-cs/channels/python-programming). When asking about the hackerrank problems make sure to refer to them using the title hackerrank gives them.
Let's see how far you can get with solving the hackerrank problems! Good luck!
Running Python on ISU CS Systems
If you are using one of the CS lab computers or have a terminal open connected to the CS server, you can run python programs using one of the following methods.
Execute in the terminal Edit your python code with a text editor, and run it with the python3 or python command. For example,
cd ~ nano hello.py # and put some python code in hello.py then exit nano python3 hello.py
If you want to run the program with Python2, you would use the command
python rather than
Idle You can use the builtin Python3 graphical editor to edit your programs and also run them (only if you are on one of the lab computers or tunneling X). The command for Python3 is
idle3, and the command for Python3 is
Lists of Problems
Programming Assignments 1
Programming Assignments - Beginning 1 - start with trying to solve these problems. Each requires a different feature of the Python programming language, so solve these problems as you read through one of the tutorials or links above. Note that the page includes a link to repl.it that contains solutions to most of the problems. If you do not have Python installed on your computer, you can try it out at repl.it - click the logo at the top, then click "+ new repl", select Python and Create Repl.
Programming Assignments - Beginning 2 - another set of classic beginning programming exercises. Some of these will be more involved.
Once you can do some basic Python programming it is time to have some of your work checked. Hackerrank is a site where you can create an account and work on problems that will be checked if they are correct. Note that hackerrank has very strict rules for accepting correct solutions. Start with the basic problems to get a feel for what hackerrank expects.
These problems are all pretty basic - require a single loop, if statement, etc. They are good when you are just getting started with Python and to get familiar with hackerrank.
For a bit more practice with basic problems, try out more of the problems that are listed as "Easy". Once you have completed the ones listed in this section you should be ready to complete more of the "Easy" problems on your own.
A Bit More Involved
These problems require nested loops, working with lists of lists, reading a problem statement that takes more time to understand, or other things that are the next level of difficulty. Solve all of the Basic Python problems before starting on these.
- Nested List
- List Comprehensions
- Merge the Tools
- No Idea
- Validating Credit Card Number
- Words Score
- Compress the String
- Word Order
And a Bit More
These problems are still a bit more involved. Some require some abstract thinking about the problem, a programming "trick", or other key insight. Note that at this point you are working on problems such that some of the lab assistants in the unix lab may not have solved these problems. This is where you want to be at - you have mastered the basics and are working on problems independently!
If you are able to do all of the problems above, then you don't need us to give you lists of problems any more. You can pick problems to work through on your own. Some suggested places with problems are as follows.
These cheat sheets have the highlights of basic information to memorize when you are in your first year of Python programming.