Blog of The Day: 5 Best Python Books For Beginners

If you are thinking to learn Python programming and searching for some best python books for beginners then you are surely at the right place. In this article I am sharing 5 best python books that will help you learn fundamental as well as advance topics and become a good python programmer. These books are for both new programmers and professional developers.

Learning Python, 5th Edition is written by Mark Lutz which is one of the most popular python programming book. By reading this book you will get a comprehensive, in-depth introduction to the Python language. This updated fifth edition will help you quickly write efficient, high-quality code with Python. It is an ideal book for both new programmers and professional developers versed in other languages.

Python for Data Analysis is written by Wes McKinney which guides readers about the ways in which Python can be used to analyze large sets of data. It also provides an introduction to practical data related problems and how Python language can manipulate, crunch, clean and process that data. This book uses number of case studies to make the explanations easy to understand.

Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science is written by John Zelle. This book is designed to be used as the primary textbook in a college-level first course in computing.

Python Cookbook is written by Brian Jones. If you need help writing programs in Python 3 or want to update older Python 2 code then this book is a good choice. Inside this book you’ll find a dozen topics covering the core Python language as well as tasks common to a wide variety of application domains.

Head First Python is written by Paul Barry. This book is a complete learning experience for Python that helps you learn the language and become a great Python programmer.

Blog of the day: Women In Tech – Margaret Hamilton: The Mind Behind Software Engineering

Margaret Heafield Hamilton is an American computer scientist, systems engineer, and business owner. She is credited with coining the term “software engineering”.

It might come as a surprise to most of today’s software engineers to learn that the founder of their discipline is a woman.  Indeed, Margaret Hamilton, renowned mathematician and computer science pioneer, is credited with having coined the term software engineering while developing the guidance and navigation system for the Apollo spacecraft as head of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory.

Hamilton explains why she chose to call it software engineering:

“I fought to bring the software legitimacy so that it—and those building it—would be given its due respect and thus I began to use the term ‘software engineering’ to distinguish it from hardware and other kinds of engineering, yet treat each type of engineering as part of the overall systems engineering process. When I first started using this phrase, it was considered to be quite amusing. It was an ongoing joke for a long time. They liked to kid me about my radical ideas. Software eventually and necessarily gained the same respect as any other discipline,” she said in a recent interview in a Spanish magazine.

While software was not an important part of the Apollo program in the beginning, it became clear by 1965—when Hamilton came on board—that software was going to be integral in putting a man on the moon.

From her fledgling days with NASA to her current standing as a software engineering legend and luminary, Margaret Hamilton helped pave the way for an industry—now worth well over a trillion dollars—to change the world forever.

While working at NASA, during her time sending a man to the moon, Hamilton was tougher on herself than any bureaucrat could be.

“The space mission software had to be man-rated. Not only did it have to work, it had to work the first time. Not only did the software itself have to be ultra-reliable, it needed to be able to perform error detection and recovery in real time. Our languages dared us to make the most subtle of errors. We were on our own to come up with rules for building software. What we learned from the errors was full of surprises,” Hamilton said.

Right before Apollo 11 was about to land on the moon, the software program overrode normal operations to let the astronauts know something was wrong.

Problems began when the computer was overloaded with commands from the rendezvous radar and the landing system, requiring more processing power than the computer could handle. With the radar running at 13% and the landing system at 90%, something had to give. Fortunately, Hamilton had programmed the computer to prioritize tasks according to importance not sequence. When the priority displays posed a go/no-go decision to the astronauts—to land or not land on the moon—the astronauts said “Go.”

And the rest is history.

Hamilton continued to work on NASA’s remaining Apollo missions as well as SkyLab, America’s first space station. Her rigorously specified design methods have become the foundation of many modern software engineering techniques today.

She later received the NASA Exceptional Space Act Award (2003) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama (2016).

Margaret Hamilton in an Apollo Command Module. Photo credit: NASA Margaret Hamilton, lead software engineer of the Apollo Project, stands next to a huge stack of code written by her and her team, in 1969.

  1. Margaret Hamilton in an Apollo Command Module. Photo credit: NASA
  2. Margaret Hamilton, lead software engineer of the Apollo Project, stands next to a huge stack of code written by her and her team, in 1969.