Welcome to the first module of our Python Taster course. This course provides a fun and interactive introduction to both the Python programming language and basic computing concepts through the coding of programmable robots. It is designed for complete beginners who are interested in learning Python (or indeed any programming language) in order to embark upon a career in technology, but first wish to explore Python in a fun and engaging manner. In this module we will define what Python is and discuss the overwhelming benefits of learning Python.
1. What is Python?
Python is an open-source general purpose programming language. This means that it can be used to develop software for a wide variety of tasks. Today Python is used to create and maintain a huge range of computer applications and services including in relation to website development, cyber security, hacking (both ethical and non-ethical), performing data analysis and media processing, robotics and developing artificial intelligence (AI) systems. Python is a popular choice for those wishing to learn computer programming and computer science fundamentals for the very first time because it is easy to learn, intuitive and is supported by an active global community of software engineers, data scientists and academics.
2. Why learn Python?
Whether you are looking to embark upon a career in technology, data and/or artificial intelligence, or are just looking to add to your skillset, Python is an industry-standard language that will equip you with the skills and knowledge to future-proof yourself against the rapid advancements in modern technology.
The knowledge that you will gain learning Python is seamlessly transferable and relevant to other technologies and careers (both technical and non-technical), as the fundamental computing principles and concepts that you will learn (such as data types, data structures and control flow) underpin the delivery of our modern digital world, including everything from websites and apps to data systems and data analysis. But most importantly, you do not need a background in mathematics, science, computing or technology to learn Python - all you need is an interest in technology and, along with a basic desktop or laptop computer, you can be developing your own Python computer programs within minutes.
3. Careers in Technology
Learning Python can open the doors to a huge and varied range of both hands-on and non-technical careers in technology, data and artificial intelligence. Whether you love the idea of coding as a career, or fancy managing the creation of the next generation of technologies, learning Python will equip you with the fundamental knowledge and skills required to embark upon a career in tech, and enable you to command a significant salary as a result.
3.1. Career Pathways and Roles
Once equipped with beginner Python skills, listed below are some example common career pathways and roles (certainly non-exhaustive!) in technology, data and artificial intelligence that you may decide to pursue. Click on a role to find out more about its responsibilities and typical base salary ranges.
|Area of Interest||Entry Level Roles||Experienced Roles||Senior Roles|
3.2. Salaries and Benefits
A career in technology, data and artificial intelligence can command a significant salary, especially beyond 3 years of experience. Click on the roles above for an indication of typical base salary ranges. In general though, you may expect to earn the following gross salary per annum (excluding benefits) based on years experience:
- Entry Level (0 - 3 years): £22k - £35k
- Senior Level (3 - 8 years): £40k - £80k
- Executive Level (8 years and more): £80k - £120k
In addition to a significant salary, careers in technology often provide the following benefits:
- Flexible working hours.
- Hybrid (1 - 3 days office-based) or even 100% remote (work from home) working model.
- Private medical insurance including dependency cover.
- Pension schemes with employer contributions exceeding statutory obligations.
- Dedicated personal development and training budgets.
- Annual bonus based on company and personal performance.
- Diverse career progression opportunities.
- Dedicated R&D budgets including hackathons.
3.3. Exciting Projects
Arguably the most important factor for those choosing to embark upon a career in technology, data and artificial intelligence is the opportunity to work on intellectually challenging, stimulating and socially worthwhile projects that deliver the next-generation of cutting-edge technologies and improve people's lives. For example, you may find yourself working on projects involving (but not limited to):
- Virtual and augmented reality.
- Artificial intelligence and robotics.
- Combatting climate change and disease.
- Chatbots and human-computer interaction.
- Medical devices and AI-powered healthcare.
- Digital finance and blockchain technologies.
- Social media platforms and recommendation systems.
- Next-generation military hardware.
- Space technologies and space exploration.
All of these sectors and technologies are open to those with a good foundational knowledge of computing principles and concepts - both of which are gained through learning a programming language such as Python.
3.4. Entry Requirements
To apply for entry-level roles in technology, data and artificial intelligence, employers will generally assess the following skills:
- Demonstrable expertise in coding (such as Python and an associated certification).
- Knowledge of foundational computing concepts (including data structures and control flow).
- Good communication and collaboration skills.
- Experience working effectively as part of a team and independently.
- Detail-oriented and takes pride in delivering high quality work.
- Enjoys problem solving with an analytical mindset.
- Proactive in one's own personal development (such as self-directed training, open source projects, blogs etc.)
- Demonstrable interest in technology.
Python is an easy-to-learn, intuitive and industry-standard programming language that can open the doors to a huge and varied range of both hands-on and non-technical careers in technology, data and artificial intelligence that provide significant salaries and benefits. To get started you need nothing more than an interest in technology, a basic desktop or laptop computer, and an appetite to learn. Equipped with these things, you can be developing your own Python computer programs within minutes.
In the next module we will introduce the fundamental building blocks of the Python programming language and develop simple computer programs.