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Python for Non-Programmers

If you've never programmed before, the tutorials on this page are recommended for you; they
don't assume that you have previous experience. If you have programming experience, also
check out the BeginnersGuide/Programmers page.


Each of these books can be purchased online and is also available as a completely free website.

Automate the Boring Stuff with Python - Practical Programming for Total Beginners by Al
Sweigart is "written for office workers, students, administrators, and anyone who uses a
computer to learn how to code small, practical programs to automate tasks on their computer."
||Python 3 ||website ||print version ||

How To Think Like a Computer Scientist is a classic open-source book by Allen Downey with
contributions from Jeffrey Elkner and Chris Meyers. It was updated to Python 3 by Peter
Wentworth. ||Python 2 ||website ||print version || ||Python 3 ||website ||print version ||

Making Games with Python & Pygame by Al Sweigart introduces the Pygame framework for
novices and intermediate programmers to make graphical games. ||Python 3 ||website ||print
version ||

Interactive Courses

These sites give you instant feedback on programming problems that you can solve in your

CheckiO is a gamified website containing programming tasks that can be solved in either Python
2 or 3.

Computer Science Circles has 30 lessons, 100 exercises, and a message system where you can
ask for help. Teachers can use it with their students. It is also available in Dutch, French, German
and Lithuanian. (Python 3)
DataCamp Python Tutorial (Python 3) Unlike most other Python tutorials this 4 hour tutorial by
DataCamp focuses on Python specifically for Data Science. It has 57 interactive exercises and 11

How to Think Like a Computer Scientist: Interactive Edition (Python 3.x) is an interactive
reimagination of Elkner, Downey and Meyer's book with visualizations and audio explanations.

Python on Codecademy (Python 2)

Python story-based game (Python 2) Merscythe: Adventures with the Codue is a story-based
game for learning Python. The tutorials provide feedback and hints.

K-12 Oriented (for Children)

Build a "Pypet" Learn programming fundamentals in Python while building a tamagotchi style
"Pypet" by Tatiana Tylosky.

Guido van Robot A teaching tool in which students write simple programs using a Python-like
language to control a simulated robot. Field-tested at Yorktown High School, the project includes
a lesson plan.

PythonTurtle A learning environment for Python suitable for beginners and children, inspired by
Logo. Geared mainly towards children, but known to be successful with adults as well.

Python story-based game (Python 2) Merscythe: Adventures with the Codue is a story-based
game for learning Python. The tutorials provide feedback and hints.

Young Coders tutorial (Python 3) This is the full text of the tutorial taught annually at PyCon
(North America), with examples and exercises throughout. This tutorial starts with basic skills
and builds to working with complex logic and games. Appropriate for ages 10 and up, including
adult beginners,

Tutorials and Websites

A Byte of Python, by Swaroop C.H., is also an introductory text for people with no previous
programming experience. (Python 3)

After Hours Programming Python 3 Tutorial (Python 3)

Ask Python Absolute Beginners Python Tutorial (Python 3)

Hands-on Python Tutorial Beginners' Python, graphics, and simple client/server introduction,
with videos (Python 3)

Instant Hacking A minimal crash course by Magnus Lie Hetland that's an excellent starting point.
(Python 2)

Learning to Program An introduction to programming for those who have never programmed
before, by Alan Gauld. It introduces several programming languages but has a strong emphasis
on Python. (Python 2 and 3)

The Wikibooks Non-Programmer's Tutorial for Python by Josh Cogliati is available for both
Python 2 and Python 3.

One Day of IDLE Toying A very gentle introduction to the IDLE development environment that
comes with Python. This tutorial by Danny Yoo has been translated into nine different languages.
(Python 2)

The Python tips blog includes Python tips and tutorials for beginners and professional

There is a Python Tutorial in Python's documentation set. It's not written with non-programmers
in mind, but it will give you an idea of the language's flavor and style. It is available for both
Python 2 and Python 3.

The website has an extensive tutorial for complete beginners, in both Python
2 and Python 3, with lots of illustrations.

Pythonspot Tutorials Python tutorials.

The Python Guru A beginner friendly guide for aspiring programmers.

Tutorials for Scientific Audiences

These websites are written in support of science courses, but are general enough that anyone
can learn from them.

Beginning Python for Bioinformatics by Patrick O'Brien. An introduction to Python aimed at

biologists that introduces the PyCrust shell and Python's basic data types.

Handbook of the Physics Computing Course Also available in various forms at the author's
Python in Education page, this is a preliminary course handbook for 1st-year university students
with no computing experience. This course material is still preliminary and assumes some high
school-level maths. It does not cover object-oriented programming or graphical applications.
(Python 2)

Pasteur Institute courses are aimed at biologists but are useful to anyone wanting to learn
Python. Introduction to Programming using Python is for people completely new to

The Programming Historian is a tutorial-style introduction to programming for practicing

historians. It assumes that you're starting out with no prior programming experience and only a
basic understanding of computers. (Python 2)


Python 3 Beginner Video Tutorials

Python Programming Tutorials for Beginners: Installation, IDE, variables, functions, strings, lists,

The Young Programmers Podcast contains video lessons on Python, Pygame, Jython, Scratch,
Alice, Java and Scala.


Thonny, Python IDE for beginners