Python Projects for Beginners

Python derives its popularity as a programming language from more than its expressive name. Since the language is versatile and easy to read and learn, it has a huge fan base among coders and developers in countless industries. 

How big is that base? Developers ranked Python as the language they most want to learn, according to a 2020 survey by Stack Overflow. (Note: Developers also ranked it as their third “most-loved” language.) Overall, nearly half of all developers work in Python, making it a vital skill for new and aspiring programmers to learn.

Perhaps you have ventured into the world of Python programming, immersing yourself in keywords, variables, loops, and functions — but now you’re wondering about the next step and asking, What are some Python projects I can do as a beginner? Great question! Since practical experience is a must for programmers who want to learn a new language and develop a portfolio, now is the perfect time to learn by doing. 

Below we have compiled a collection of 12 Python projects for beginners listed in order of difficulty. These projects will help you test your mastery of the language’s essentials while continuing the learning process. Don’t worry if you can’t complete all of these projects — learning any coding language requires constant  trial, error, and learning. And, in case you’d like to learn even more, we’ll cover some suggested educational paths as well. 

1. Math Exercises

Math exercises are a good place to get comfortable with Python’s syntax and style. Write some code to conduct simple math calculations (addition, subtraction, etc.) but with caveats.

For instance, write a short program that asks the computer to request and add two variable inputs. Then, adjust the program to perform a specific task based on the result. For example, print a specific statement if the sum is between 10 and 20, above 100, or print “no negative numbers” if a subtraction problem delivers a corresponding result. You can gradually expand the program to make it more elaborate and the tasks more complex.

Skills Tested

These exercises offer a good introduction to using Python’s math conditions. For example, “a != b” means “a does not equal b.” You also will have the chance to learn about defining functions and commands such as “if” and “else,” and you’ll likely come away with a better understanding of the importance of indenting certain lines of code to avoid error messages.

2. Mad Libs Generator

Many of us have played Mad Libs with friends, where you asked for a variety of nouns, verbs, or adjectives to complete in a prewritten story. While Mad Libs are entertaining on paper, they are also a great way to practice your Python coding skills. 

This is a popular programming exercise for newcomers — one that Python sites pitch as a great project for kids. The concept is quite simple: write the text of your story, leaving openings for the specific inputs (e.g., nouns, verbs, adjectives) for which you will ask. Once the user adds those inputs, your Python code will complete the story. The story can be as long and as creative as you like.

Skills Tested

Writing a Mad Libs program makes you more comfortable working with strings and variables. A key element of Python, this is a method of storing sequences of data — usually numbers, symbols, or words. This project also teaches the various ways to perform string concatenation, which is the process of combining strings.

3. Number-Guessing Game

This game often serves as the first project for many coders. The program generates a random number, the user makes a guess as to what the number is, and the program responds with clues (e.g., “too high”, “too low”) until the user guesses correctly. The program also counts the number of attempts required to guess the number.

This project introduces coders to Python modules, which you can import from an existing library. Many modules are available, including those that generate random numbers. To write the program, users first will import a random-number module into their code. Modules such as this help simplify the coding process.

Skills Tested

In addition to learning about modules, programmers will have the chance to hone their skills with inputs, variables, statements such as “if” and “else,” and while loops. Broadly, these factors can aid a coder’s general understanding of text-based commands; specifically as they pertain to numeric algorithms and mathematical accuracy. 

4. Password Generator

Password generators are easy to find, but why not design your own with a few lines of code? Creating a password generator isn’t difficult, though you can alter the parameters to give your password (and your code) more variety. How would you mix upper- and lower-case letters? Do you want to add numbers or other keyboard characters? How many of each character should be included? You can set all of these conditions in your code to create stronger passwords.

Skills Tested

You’ll work with the Random library (a built-in module used to generate random numbers) and strengthen your algorithm-development muscles. Depending on the complexity of the password string you create, the code can range from simple to complex. Start with an eight-character password, then keep going.

5. Rock, Paper, Scissors

Familiar games offer great ways to learn Python, since we understand how they are played and can translate their strategies into code. Since just about everyone knows how to play Rock, Paper, Scissors, this beloved game can also act as a simple Python project to test your skills. Your Python code will simply make the computer your opponent.

This game, like the number guessing game, also begins by importing a function from the Python random module. 

Skills Tested

Coders again can firm up their understanding of while loops and “if,” “else,” and “elif” statements. A few extra steps will be required because of the number of game combinations involved. 

6. Hangman

Ready for another game involving random strings, variables, and loops? Hangman is a great option.

Hangman is a guessing game involving letters and words rather than numbers. The computer chooses a random word from a list, and the user guesses letters until they figure out the hidden word. The game itself is simple, but the code tends to be a bit more involved. It requires step-by-step instructions that the computer needs to recognize letters guessed, both correctly and incorrectly, and the number of guesses needed to determine the word. Writing this type of program helps beginners learn how to debug code as well.

Skills Tested

Strings get more complicated in Hangman since you want to display the letters the player has guessed. While loops and “elif” statements also play a big role, as does the variable establishing how many guesses are allowed before “Hangman” is achieved and the player loses. Further, a large word list resource from which the computer will randomly choose each game’s word is also required.

7. Contacts List

Ready to tackle a functioning app instead of a game? Why not try building a contacts list, similar to the one available on your phone?

This project represents a new challenge since you’ll be asking for a variety of string inputs and then allowing the user to interact with them (update, search, delete, etc.). First, you’ll create the parameters for a contacts list, and then you’ll provide the ability to manipulate them. That’s where this project grows more ambitious.

Skills Tested

You’ll work to become comfortable with classes, lists, strings, and functions in Python to create a contacts list. The code will contain plenty of “if” and “else” statements, which can get tricky to track but are well worth the effort.

8. Tic-Tac-Toe

While Tic-Tac-Toe might be an easy game to play, it’s another step up in the coding degrees of difficulty. You can program the game for player vs. player or player vs. computer and design a game board as elaborate as you like. With more experience, you might consider using a Python library (such as Pygame) to create a user interface with images and sound effects. Eventually, you can create an AI algorithm through which the computer learns how to win at Tic-Tac-Toe.

Skills Tested

You’ll work with classes to create game players, functions to play the game, and loops and conditional statements to teach the computer the rules of Tic-Tac-Toe. The code will also include “try” commands (i.e., commands designed to test pieces of code for errors and general functionality) to test for valid moves in the game.

9. Web Scraper

Data analysts employ Python for a variety of projects since it’s an easy language to use for web scraping. Web scraping is the process of finding data from the internet, choosing specific data from the set, and using that data for a specific purpose (e.g., analysis, storytelling).

Google offers several interesting projects on its Python developers page, including ideas like a web scraper using a database of U.S. baby names. Upon extracting the data, you can use Python to organize the names by year, search for the most popular names, or extract all the instances of a particular name.

Skills Tested

You may work with a variety of libraries and packages, including one called Beautiful Soup that is used for web scraping. This skill is important in conducting data analytics and fintech projects. This exercise will hone your ability to navigate both HTML and XML files as you seek different types of information. 

10. Alarm Clock

Like the Mad Libs generator, an alarm clock project is generally tailored to Python newcomers thanks to its relative simplicity. Many different tutorials offer ways to approach this project, depending on how involved you want the GUI (graphical user interface) to be and what effects and options you would like to include.

This alarm clock tutorial offers an inside look at the process of learning by doing. 

Skills Tested

You’ll work with a variety of variables, including how to define a.m. and p.m. in your code. You’ll also work to create while loops to operate the alarm properly, and you can get more advanced by incorporating music or video files as the alarm is activated through the code.

11. Currency Converter

Due to its popularity, Python is equipped with libraries for almost any function, and that includes a currency library that catalogs worldwide currency values, conversion rates, and even the fluctuating values of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

You can use the currency library to display currency values and, better yet, convert them: U.S. Dollar to Euro, Canadian dollar to Chinese Yuan, U.S. Dollar to Bitcoin, and many more. Since the library includes historical values, you can perform conversions in the currency values of past years as well.

Skills Tested

You can become more comfortable importing libraries and using Python to download and work with data. In addition, to create a graphical user interface (GUI), you can familiarize yourself with interfaces such as Tkinter, which this currency converter tutorial explores.

12. Automate Social Media Messages

Python is instrumental in helping people automate repetitive tasks, and many professionals beyond coders can benefit from this skill. For instance, businesses with a consistent social media presence may opt to automate daily posts; saving time and effort otherwise spent on a potentially mundane task. 

This project has a fun side as well: it’s possible to write programs that generate automated messages on social media, allowing people to post regularly on an account while learning Python. Who knew wishing friends and family “Happy Birthday” on Facebook could be so educational? The applications of this code are endless — have fun with it and simplify your social media activities for life!

Skills Tested

This is an opportunity to learn more about the tools and APIs available to Python. Among them is the Social Post tool from Ayrshare, which can be imported and used to set up the automating process. From there, you’ll write code in Python to create posts on different platforms, upload media, and even retrieve analytics. 

Are These Projects Too Advanced? Here’s How You Can Get Started With Python to Build Your Portfolio

Perhaps some of these projects appear daunting, and you want to expand your knowledge of Python before tackling them. The good news is, you have several options.

Python’s wide use in programming and development makes it a popular subject in college programs and bootcamps. In addition, independent learners will find free or low-cost online courses, exercises, and video tutorials in all things Python.

Before enhancing your Python education, consider a few questions:

  • What is my goal? Do I want to learn Python for fun, or do I want to acquire skills for a new career?
  • How much time and money do I want to devote to learning Python?

With those questions in mind, here’s a look at some pathways for studying Python.

Bootcamps

Bootcamps are typically concentrated and short-term educational courses that tailor their focus to specific fields such as coding, data analytics, or fintech. In a bootcamp, you’ll spend 3-6 months acquiring the in-demand skills that employers value in a tech-centered workforce.

Bootcamps can be the right fit for coding beginners and working professionals who want to pursue a career in tech. They cover essential skills, guide learners in building project portfolios, and fit flexibly into a working schedule. Even better, employers take notice of bootcamp learners, with more than 70 percent of hiring managers considering them as qualified or more qualified than other recent hires, according to HackerRank.

Python can be a major component of bootcamp courses in coding, data analytics, and fintech. For example, the second of three modules in Columbia Engineering Data Analytics Boot Camp is called “Python Data Analytics,” which delivers a strong foundation in the language. This bootcamp can be a gateway to the expanding fields of data analysis and data science, which the U.S. Department of Labor projects will grow by 31 percent in the U.S. through 2029 thanks to an increased cross-industry demand for stronger internal technology and data infrastructure. 

A chart showing the projected employment rate for data scientists.

Columbia Engineering FinTech Boot Camp positions Python at the center of its financial programming module. Learners use Python and APIs to run financial analyses and build apps that use real-time data. The bootcamp further covers financial modeling, cryptocurrency, and machine learning applications in finance. Careers in financial analysis depend more and more on computing skills, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additionally, Columbia Engineering Coding Boot Camp prepares learners for careers in web development, in which Python is also important. After acquiring the skills needed to become a full stack developer, learners can immerse themselves in Python as part of a free continuation course. Python is one of the tools covered in this phase, where material is available on-demand for one year after learners complete the bootcamp. Further, the continuation courses are project-based, offering learners the opportunity to develop portfolios that illustrate their Python programming abilities.

Degree in Computer Science

Python is a very important tool for many programmers. But, perhaps you’re interested in learning about computer science theory and mathematical principles in addition to specific programming languages. If so, consider pursuing a computer science degree.

Obtaining a college degree is an excellent path to working in a computer-related field. If you have the financial resources and can devote the time needed to complete an undergraduate program, a bachelor’s degree may be a good fit for you.

Programs such as Columbia’s undergraduate computer science curriculum include majors in computer science, computer engineering, data science, and information science. The program covers computer architecture and programming languages, the theory of computer science, and artificial intelligence. Students graduate ready to enter the workforce or continue their studies in a graduate program.

Independent Learning

Are you a financial professional who wants to learn Python to develop stock forecasts? Do you run a website and want to glean more insight from Google Analytics data? Or maybe you’re simply inquisitive, industrious, and eager to learn a new skill? No matter the reason, self-starters can make Python a personal project and learn independently.

As noted earlier, Python is considered a comparatively easy language to learn. However, it certainly still requires dedication and hard work for coding beginners to grasp the concepts of classes, objects, and functions. But, with time and patience, you can learn to write functional and fun programs in Python. And, if you get stuck on a project, there are plenty of resources available to help you figure it out.

Free and low-cost online courses are available to take you step-by-step through Python. They provide introductions to the language, teach the syntax and techniques of coding, and explore methods to use Python for data science, research, and finance. In addition, a YouTube search yields a variety of Python video tutorials that will allow you to view every step of writing a Python program.

Python programmers (from beginners to experts) conduct these tutorials, which can make it difficult to assess their veracity and usability. With careful vetting and diligence in your studies, you can still develop a strong Python skill set independently.

Building a Project Portfolio

A coding portfolio serves as an important companion to your resume; while your resume explains where you’ve worked and what you’ve achieved, a portfolio shows how this expertise has been put to the test. 

Coding portfolios are a great asset for those searching for tech jobs — especially recent college graduates, bootcamp learners, and the self-taught, according to LinkedIn. If an employer can visit your website to view your work, you have a better chance of standing out from the competition.

Here are a few tips for creating a smart portfolio:

A checklist graphic for tips to create a smart portfolio.

  • Showcase a diverse collection of projects
  • Include the programming language used
  • Make sure your code is clean and readable
  • Consider using GitHub as a project-hosting site

Python FAQ

Python is a high-level, object-oriented programming language that can be used for many purposes. As a high-level language, Python employs easy-to-read syntax commands that it converts to machine code. As an object-oriented language, Python organizes programs into classes and objects that are reusable within and between projects. 

As a multipurpose language, Python can be used to create software, apps, and operating systems; to design websites; and to automate the repetitive tasks of data analysis, AI, and machine learning. Python is used in a variety of industries, including software development, gaming, finance, healthcare, banking and insurance, IT services, and many more.

Three primary ways in which learners can gain Python skills are through bootcamps, a college computer science program, or independent study. Each approach includes pros and cons that depend on the individual’s needs, goals, and abilities. Before starting a Python course, consider what you want to accomplish. Are you looking for a hobby, a college degree, or a way to upskill for a new career? Your answers to these questions will help inform your decision.

Employers value hard skills, and being able to showcase those skills is key to making a positive impression. A professional portfolio demonstrates proficiency and achievement, as well as providing potential employers with an opportunity to view your work. Programmers certainly can explain in an interview how accomplished they are working with Python, but it’s much more credible and impressive to be able to display those skills by compiling a collection of their best projects into one portfolio site.

Python beginners should start their portfolios with simple projects they can achieve to build their skills and confidence. Build a word game, an alarm clock, or a currency converter to get a feel for Python. As you grow your proficiency, consider tackling more difficult projects, such as those involving web scraping or data analysis. Maintain all these projects in a portfolio, then choose your best to showcase for potential employers.

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