Senior full stack developer and CTO at Ideamotive.
Python is not just a programming language. This is a whole world with its own opportunities, difficult tasks, and ways to solve them. It is quite useful for a business owner since having one technology, you can build a bunch of products.
In fact, the choice is quite huge.
But what is Python used for? Below we’ll review the most popular areas of the language’s use (like ML and AI) as well as see what are its core pros and cons from a business perspective.
Yes, unfortunately for aspiring developers, this piece is made for business people who want to explore Python opportunities.
What is Python?
In 1989, Guido Van Rossum created a new programming language called Python and released it in 1991. The main goal that the author set for himself is to simplify the programming process. To make it easier to write code, it must become more readable and understandable for humans.
Python is open source. In other words, it is created and distributed in such a way that various groups of specialists and individual developers can freely modify it, as well as add new features and fixes in order to further improve and update it. One of the advantages of this language is the ability to run programs on it both on Windows and on macOS and Linux.
Therefore the following question pops up.
What makes it so popular?
So why is Python still moving towards its Olympus? Why hasn't it been pushed out by competitors? After all, even the creator of Python himself said that he did not predict popularity in the market for his language.
What is Python used for? In fact, with Python, everything is as transparent as possible - it is simple and versatile, so it can be used to work in many areas (from building microservices to prototyping).
Business owners like it for the ease of finding talent and simple onboarding of new Python developers thanks to easy iteration. With it you can experience the absence of barriers when it comes to functionality, relatively fast product development and a lot of utilities and libraries that help to expand the product.
Other prominent features include:
Interpretability greatly simplifies testing and moving small blocks of code from platform to platform.
It is great for those who are just starting to code. This high-level language allows the developer to focus on the essence and goals, rather than specific steps and procedures. For this reason, writing scripts in Python is faster than in many other languages.
In addition to small application scripts, large commercial applications can be written in Python, thinking only about how to provide them with the necessary functionality (all small tasks are solved “under the hood”, and the programmer does not need to worry about them). Reliability makes the Python programming language very popular.
These three reasons are the key factor why people keep asking “what is Python used for”. This is why programmers, security engineers, and data scientists are so fond of Python.
What is Python used for? 12 basic areas
The most obvious answer to “what is Python used for” is building web applications.
In Python, you can make the entire backend of an Internet resource that will be executed on the server. This is done using special frameworks (Django and Flask) written in this language.
With the help of Django developers, the procedure of processing addresses, accessing databases, and creating HTML that is displayed on user pages is simplified.
To date, third-party developers have written a large number of additional tools aimed at implementing network applications. For example, the HTMLGen tool allows you to create ready-made classes for an HTML page using the Python language for this. And the mod_python package makes it easy to run Apache scripts while keeping Python Server Pages templates running smoothly.
Despite the complex algorithms and processes behind artificial intelligence, the simplicity of Python allows you to build robust systems. Developers can fully focus on the tasks they are trying to solve with AI without being distracted by the technical nuances of the language.
Python’s main toolkit and additional libraries and frameworks allow you to work in the field of machine learning. Scikit-learn and TensorFlow are the core for machine learning engineers.
Another answer to what Python is used for is building servers. Python is convenient enough to interact with code written in other programming languages. You will be able to embed your Python project into frameworks of different languages, and vice versa. This means that you will simply create servers that combine Python with other programming languages (for example, C++), resulting in the most efficient solution of the two worlds.
Another coin in the treasury of Python's features is the language interfaces that allow you to control the services of Windows, Linux, and other operating systems. Thanks to this, Python opens up a lot of opportunities for creating portable programs for business needs.
It's no secret that this language is used to write applications used by system administrators. In this way, Python makes it faster to find and open files, launch applications, make calculations easier, and more.
The developers of the modern version of Python have created the simplest and most understandable access to almost any database. So, today, in the working environment of the language there is a programming interface that allows you to use the databases directly from the script using SQL queries. This makes Python a great choice for data analysis.
Also, code written in Python can be used for MySQL and Oracle databases with minimal modifications.
Having all this we can successfully implement analytics and visualization in any product.
Data Processing in FinTech
This is the very area where Python can compete in its capabilities with FORTRAN or C++. A special NumPy extension written for mathematical calculations works great with arrays, equation interfaces, and other data. As soon as the extension is installed on the computer, Python seamlessly integrates with formula libraries.
But NumPy isn't just for computing. In addition to its main task, it can be used to create animated elements and draw objects in a 3D environment, while performing parallel calculations. For example, the popular ScientificPython add-on boasts its own libraries that are designed for computing processes in the field of science.
In addition to calculations, Python allows you to visualize the received data, which is quite convenient for building FinTech products.
One of the most popular uses for Python is writing small scripts to automate various workflows and processes.
For example, you need to overwrite data from Word to an Excel file. This can be done manually, but when there are a lot of such files, writing a script that will do it on its own quickly can come to the rescue.
There are several reasons to use Python for automation tasks:
it's executed directly in the CLI;
simple syntax that allows you to quickly write scripts;
ease of debugging due to the fact that the code is not compiled before running.
Moreover, these can be additional modules, plug-ins for ready-made software, etc.
Many computer games are written in whole or in part in Python. There is a misconception that this language is not suitable for serious projects, but in fact, it was used in the development of such hits as:
World of Tanks;
The Sims 4;
As we know Python allows you to write user interfaces and work with graphics. In addition, many scripts are written on it (designed for the interaction with characters, to launch scenes, and handle events). The AlphaStar artificial intelligence for StarCraft 2 is written in Python, and capable of defeating the strongest professional players.
One major thing that Python is used for is the automation of processes. In SEO, this includes making it easier to automate tasks that would otherwise take days, weeks, or months.
And that's why more and more SEO specialists are using automation to speed up boring and repetitive tasks with Python.
Tasks to be influenced by Python are:
Internal link analysis
Graphic design apps development
If we talk about the visual component in the field of IT, then here Python can show itself as a very effective tool that solves a lot of problems. By creating modern graphical interfaces in Python, you can easily adapt to the style of the OS in which the application is being created.
Especially for these purposes, additional libraries were created for building the interface - PythonCard and Dabo, which facilitate the work process.
Software testing and prototyping
Since the Python web programming language is readily available, this ensures that the program will work correctly. You can create prototypes to easily test your code with Python.
On top of that, since Python is a dynamic language web developers do not have to declare variable types. Python detects type and errors at run time (when the program is run), but not at compile time (when the ASCII text file is regenerated into machine code). The result is less code, faster development, more flexibility, and stability.
Python developer talent pool
First of all, Python has been one of the most popular programming languages for decades due to its high scalability and performance compared to other object-oriented programming languages such as C++ and Java.
According to the Stack Overflow 2022 developer survey, Python was found to be the second most wanted technology among the community. Over 1,3% of websites online are designed using this language, while its core advantage is that it is dominating in data engineering and machine learning.
The code syntax is very simple and easy for developers to learn. In addition, it uses English commands, which makes it more efficient and easier to understand.
Thus, the developer pool is quite big. However, it’ll take some time to find a decent backend coder who knows what Python is used for.
Core benefits and drawbacks
Simplicity. No need to spend months learning complicated syntax like in C++ and worry about memory leaks. The language will do everything for you.
It is an interpreted language. Before running, a Python program is a plain text file that can be run on any platform where the interpreter is installed.
It is great for beginners. Python is well designed and logical. Due to its simplicity, development is much faster because the programmer writes less code.
The language has a powerful community. The Python user community is so large that if you run into an obscure error, you'll likely find a solution quickly on the internet.
Python programs are among the slowest. iOS apps run 8.7 times faster in Swift than in Python. The PyPy implementation is close to Java in speed, but it does not have all the features of the original language.
Strong dependence of the language on system libraries. This makes porting applications to other systems difficult.
Global Interpreter Lock (GIL) does not allow multiple threads to execute at the same time in the CPython implementation.
What is Python used for in the wild?
Google - uses the language as a component of the search engine.
Dropbox - to optimize the back-end and front-end.
Spotify - for data analytics.
Meta - on the server side.
BitTorrent - the company built a peer-to-peer network on Python.
US National Security Agency - encrypts and analyzes intelligence data.
Esri - uses Python as a configuration tool for geospatial programs.
Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic - create animated films in Python.
Intel, Cisco, HP, Seagate, Qualcomm, and IBM - test and analyze the market with Python.
NASA, Los Alamos, Fermilab, and JPL - use the language in scientific computing.
What is the future of Python?
Undoubtedly, the amazing benefits and performance of Python and its libraries work as a root for its continued growth. This foundation is so strong that almost all first-class companies use this language in their code base.
Moreover, let’s not forget what is Python used for. Future technologies such as AI, big data, and networking provide a bright future for this programming tool. It is a fairly safe and cost-effective programming language.
Python development is currently becoming more and more popular due to its simplicity. It has a very low entry threshold, but it is an extremely powerful programming language with numerous features.
Thanks to an active community and built-in frameworks business owners can enjoy a huge talent pool and low costs. By using Python, you can reduce bounce rates on your site and speed up page load times. It speeds up your site's load time, which helps visitors feel they are using a modern product.
Dawid is a full stack developer experienced in creating Ruby on Rails and React Native apps from naught to implementation. Technological superhero, delivering amazing solutions for our clients and helping them grow.