Python: Basics

Python is a popular programming language used in in many different domains like AI, Machine Learning, Data Science or web development. Furthermore, as a concise and easy to read language, Python is facilitating the start in programming.

This beginner friendly course is designed for persons without further experience in programming skills who want to learn the Python programming language. Since programming is mainly "learning by doing", the participants write during the course small programs themselves.

General information

Duration 12 hours
  • Python syntax
  • Data types (string, float, integer, boolean)
  • Control flow
  • Methods
  • Functions with return value
  • Data structures (lists, tuples, set, dictionaries)
  • Basics of Reading and Writing Files
  • Debugging
This is a beginner friendly introduction into Python. You do not need any knowledge of this language prior to this course. However, if you never have used a programming language (e.g. working with variables or control structures), we recommend to have a glance at a short explanation of the aspects of programming prior to this course. In this course the focus lies on learning Python as an end and not as a mean to learn programming. Hence, we only touch the basic principles of programming while explaining the syntax of Python.
Students and employees of the University of Zurich
Participants of this course will be able to describe the basics of the Python programming language and know how to work with different data types as well as data structures in this language to store, retrieve and calculate information. Furthermore, participants will be able to use control flow structures and functions to write their own first programs.
Course materials are provided online on the day of the course.
Additionally, we recommend the following resources:

Installation Guide

We recommend using your own computer for this course.
Please, ensure before the course starts that you have a running environment to write and run Python programs.

If you already have a running Python installation with Jupyter Notebook or an IDE like AtomPyCharm or Spyder, feel free to use whatever you feel most comfortable with. If not, we recommend to install and use Visual Studio Code.

Install Python first

Download and install the latest stable Python 3 release. (under no circumstances should it be version 2.7) from If you are on Windows: Do not install from the Windows Store

Install Visual Studio Code as IDE

Follow the instructions here:
To summarize the above-linked tutorial:
  1. You need to install Python first!
  2. Install Visual Studio Code (VSC)
  3. Install the Python extension - VSC will ask you if you create a .py file and open it in the editor. Otherwise, check the link below
  4. (optional) Verify that everything works by doing the Hello World part of the tutorial
  5. (optional) Install pylance (also a Visual Studio Code plugin)

How to install extensions:


Code Referents Dates Available seats Place
HS23-APPB2 Brennwald Milena 05.10.2023 - 26.10.2023 (14:00 - 17:00 Time)
5 Universität Zürich Zentrum Register
HS23-APPB4 Pinezich David 05.10.2023 - 26.10.2023 (14:15 - 17:15 Time)
3 Online Course Register
HS23-APPB3 Bubanja Kaju 21.10.2023 - 28.10.2023 (09:00 - 16:00 Time)
0 Universität Zürich Irchel register in waiting list
HS23-APPB7 Fernandez Fernandez Elena 07.11.2023 - 28.11.2023 (17:00 - 20:00 Time)
0 Online Course register in waiting list
HS23-APPB5 Gloor Philipp 02.12.2023 - 09.12.2023 (09:00 - 16:00 Time)
10 Universität Zürich Irchel Register
HS23-APPB6 Gloor Philipp 13.01.2024 - 20.01.2024 (09:00 - 16:00 Time)
14 Universität Zürich Irchel Register