Python 3 Basics Tutorial

(c) 2015 Dr. Kristian Rother ([email protected])

with contributions by Allegra Via, Kaja Milanowska and Anna Philips

Distributed under the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike License 4.0

Sources of this document can be found on


Who is this tutorial for?

This is a tutorial for novice programmers. You are the learner I had in mind when writing this tutorial if:

  • you have worked a little with a different programming language like R, MATLAB or C.
  • you have no programming experience at all
  • you know Python well and would like to teach others

This tutorial works best if you follow the chapters and exercises step by step.

The dataset of U.S. baby names


The authorities of the United States have recorded the first names of all people born as U.S. citizens since 1880. The dataset is publicly available on . However for the protection of privacy only names used at least 5 times appear in the data.

Throughout this tutorial, we will work with this data.

If you are an experienced programmer

If you are fluent in any programming language, this tutorial might be very easy for you. Of course, you can work through the exercises to get the Python syntax into your fingers. However, this tutorial contains very little material on the higher abstraction levels in Python, like classes, namespaces or even functions.

For a tutorial for non-beginners, I recommend the following free online books:

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