Python is an open-source coding language that has become increasingly popular in the last 10-20 years because of its simple syntax and quick testing functionality. While it is not emphasized by the Society of Actuaries or the Penn State Actuarial Science Majors, it can be a great tool to possess to set yourself apart from the competition. While you can learn Python quickly online, you can also get started at Penn State by taking CMPSC 101: Introduction to Programming and CMPSC 121: Introduction to Programming Techniques. These courses are not focused entirely on Python, as they also teach other techniques such as C++, but they are a good way to understand the logic of how coding works. After you take these courses, try CMPSC 131: Programming and Computation I: Fundamentals and CMPSC 132: Programming and Computation II: Data Structures which will more specifically teach Python. For more ways to learn Python, check out the resources below:
- Google has published a complete learning manual with video lectures from set-up to advanced techniques! There are learning exercises included to help you practice your new coding skills as well! Check out this fantastic resource here
- This is a nicely put together online manual for learning Python as well!
- Here is another great online manual for learning Python through the Open Book Project
Check out the below image for how linear regression can be done through Python! This is a great example of how to get more detailed results than a simple Excel best fit line would provide.