Seeking advice on how to go about learning Python

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02-01-2015 11:18 AM
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New Contributor III

Hi all,

I'm currently looking for any information on learning how to code in the programming language of python. I'd say I'm at the intermediate level of understanding how to program in any given language given that I know and understand the syntax for that particular language. The languages I'm currently able to code in (to some extend) are: C++, Java, Html and MATLAB.

Any information on good books to buy or websites to visit or even personal experiences are welcome.

Thank you for your time,

Jordan McMillan

12 Replies
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MVP Esteemed Contributor

There are many threads and even a poll on this site, of course all opinioned from a personal perspective.  Since you have a background in programming and presumably want to explore this venture in conjunction with ArcMap, I would suggest

  • Python's homepage and look at the documentation for 2.7.x (for arcmap < 10.2.2) and 3.4.x (for arcmap >=10.3)
  • There are general books that you can find on the Esri site...two specific to python-arcpy and one on modelbuilder
  • arcmap help for both versions, I find the best because of code examples
  • ArcGIS Help (10.2, 10.2.1, and 10.2.2)
  • Documentation | ArcGIS for Desktop

I am certain you don't need any help on what to help you study python given that you have probably already established and identified you learning style.  Assuming that, I won't bore you with a list of links that novices might find helpful.

Good luck

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New Contributor III

Thank you very much for your insight--I will definitely be looking into these links you've provided.

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Regular Contributor

The best book that I have come across for learning python is by Mark Lutz: Learning Python, 5th Edition - O'Reilly Media

I have the fourth edition and it covers everything you are likely to use except for specific third-party modules such as arcpy or numpy that you may also need to learn.

The ESRI blog has a post that may also be useful: Seven easy ways to start learning Python and ArcPy | Support Services Blog

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Esri Esteemed Contributor

There is a free course starting tomorrow: Coursera - Free Online Courses From Top Universities

Although pretty basic with your experience, you may want to download the course material and run through it at your own speed.

I have posted some python snippets that you may want to look at:Some Python Snippets

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Regular Contributor

I would also recommend Coursera as a useful resource.

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New Contributor III

Thank you Owen Earley  and Xander Bakker for your replies. I checked out that free online course and it seems very promising so I signed up for it. Although I will say that I think the pace is very slow, but I think it'll work out okay because I'm already a full-time student at OSU. 

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New Contributor III

For those of you who recommended signing up for the free Coursera ‌ python class would you recommend purchasing the "signature track" for the verified certificate? It costs $49. I guess it would probably be worth it if I was able to add it to my resume, but I'm not really sure if something like this would be worth it. I guess I think if I'm able to show my skills of coding in python I wouldn't really need to buy this certificate.

what do you think?

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MVP Esteemed Contributor

Other links...now that the links are flying fast and furious

Python for ArcGIS | ArcGIS Resource Center

Numpy reference

Numpy tutorial 

ArcPy Café | Get all your ArcGIS Python Recipes here!  to provide a direct link

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New Contributor III

Thank you for these suggestions.

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