February 14, 2022

Happy Birthday, Python!

With a 29.69% global share, according to Statistics Times, Python is head and shoulders above the next most popular programming language. There are a number of reasons why this versatile language has taken over the number one spot. This year, with Python turning 31 years old, we thought we’d take a look at what makes it so great!

What inspired Python’s creation?

Python first became a concept in the late 1980s. Developer Guido van Rossum dreamed it up while working at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica in the Netherlands. He wanted to create a successor to the ABC programming language that would be capable of exception handling and interfacing with the Amoeba operating system. Van Rossum began implementation in 1989, and he would remain the project’s sole lead developer until 2018, when he retired from his responsibilities as “benevolent dictator for life” (a title bestowed upon him by the Python community). A new five-member team took over as the “Steering Council” to guide the project from there.

What is Python?

Technically speaking, Python is a multi-paradigm programming language that supports object-oriented and structured programming. Python is an open-source project that relies on dynamic typing and reference counting paired with a cycle-detecting garbage collector for memory management.

In more general terms, Python is a simple, uncluttered language that allows developers to determine their own coding methodology. Python has a number of applications, including in web development, scientific computing, artificial intelligence, information security, Data Science (our favorite), and many more. This range of applications is a big part of why Python is so popular.

Did you know?

Python supports a rich and thriving culture of developers from all over the world. Organizations that rely on Python include Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo!, NASA, Facebook, Amazon, Spotify, and Reddit. Its name comes from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, of which van Rossum is a fan. There are a number of references to Monty Python within the code and the Python culture. There is a recurring academic conference on Python called PyCon, as well as a number of Python mentoring groups like Pyladies.

Data scientists have a special reverence for Python, and it remains an important topic of study in the field. Join us — and the rest of the Python community — in wishing this amazing language a happy 31st birthday! Let’s all go code something in its honor.


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