Unix Support

Python: Introduction for Programmers

Course description

This course is part of the Scientific Computing series, and as such many of the examples chosen are of most relevance to scientific computing.

The course notes (in various forms) are available here.

The files used during the course are available here.

This course is aimed at those who already know how to program in another high level programming language (such as C/C++, Fortran, Java, Perl or Visual Basic) and who now wish to learn Python. (Those with little or no prior programming experience should try the “Python: Introduction for Absolute Beginners” course instead.) The aim of this course is to provide sufficient familiarity with Python that attendees can attend any of our more advanced Python courses and easily follow any of the widely available Python tutorials on the more complex aspects of the language.

This course is an introductory Python course, covering all the material contained in the “Python:Introduction for Absolute Beginners” course, but in a more abbreviated fashion suitable for those who already have significant programming experience. This course does NOT cover the more complex aspects of the language (for such topics see our other Python courses), nor is there much explicit discussion of the object oriented features of Python.

Course attendees may wish to attend the “Python: Further Topics” course after this one.

The best book on Python that we know is “Dive Into Python” by Mark Pilgrim, published by Apress. The complete text of the book is freely available online here, but if you find it as useful as we do, then you'll want to buy a printed copy to support this excellent book.

Topics covered in this course:

  • Interactive and batch use of Python
  • Common Python data types
  • Control flow statements (if, while, for)
  • Functions
  • Reading from files
  • Processing input
  • Writing to files
  • Using external modules (libraries)
  • Structuring programs


The course notes for the “Python: Introduction for Programmers” course are available in various formats.

The course features three extra handouts with details of more list methods, a list of useful Python modules, and a summary of the Python Python formatting codes. These are available as source (ODT) or as PDFs. The files given to course attendess are available for browsing or as a TGZ download.

List methods PDF ODT
Modules PDF ODT
Formatting PDF ODT
Course files TGZ browse

All comments or questions regarding this course, and any course materials provided on this page, should be sent to escience-support@ucs.cam.ac.uk.

The title of this document is: Python: Introduction for Programmers
URL: http://www-uxsup.csx.cam.ac.uk/courses/moved.PythonProgIntro/index.html