One of the best ways to learn a programming language is to take your knowledge from theoretical to practical by doing coding projects. These are projects that are easy to conceptualize, typically have one or two functions (like a random-number generator or a countdown timer), and can be completed relatively quickly. The idea is that, the more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll be putting your coding skills to use.
If you’re currently learning Python, for example, you may know that it’s used for web development, data analysis and visualization, machine learning, and financial analysis. But before you dive into these fascinating fields, the first step is to master the basics of the language. Then, as your coding skills grow, you can tackle the bigger, more complex problems and applications.
Here are seven beginner-level projects that can help you take your skills to the next level — plus, some recommendations for online coding courses that can help you continue building your Python skills.
Build a program that rolls dice
To start, build a Python program that rolls just one die. You’re basically creating a random number generator for integers one through six. Once you’ve got a handle on the basic project, you could add an option where the user enters the number of dice that are being rolled, and the program returns the random numbers for any number of dice.
Play rock, paper, scissors with your computer
While this sounds like a lonely way to play a childhood game, it’s actually a very fun way to get a handle on your new Python skills. After you create a program that outputs either rock, paper, or scissors, check to see if you can incorporate a countdown timer so you can play with the computer in real time.
If you’re feeling a bit creative, you could make it so the program returns a picture of a rock, paper, or scissors, rather than just a word. And if you’re feeling extra creative, you could also extend the game to the Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock variant described on the popular TV show “The Big Bang Theory.”
Program a hangman game
For a hangman game, you can start with a simple version and have a small bank of words that the program picks from. There are a ton of string methods that can be used for this project. Then, once you’ve programmed that version of the game, you can try expanding the pool of words. You could even try using a database of words from an online source so that you won’t know the words in the game.
Block out the websites that distract you
For this project, see if you can use Python to build a specific website blocker to keep you focused when you’re practicing programming. It’s hard to keep on track when the other tabs are full of exciting social media content or the next season of that show you really want to watch. So build a website blocker that helps you stay on task. If you’re interested in web development, this would be a great project to sharpen your skills in that area. One way to do this is with the Tkinter module.
Create your own Pomodoro Timer
If you haven’t heard about Pomodoro Timers, take a look at our article on how you can use it to find your coding focus. Essentially, you’ll be building a timer that will countdown a 25-minute focused work interval for you, followed by a 5-minute break. You could add in a chime when the timer is complete if you wanted to get a bit more creative. You could also add in the number of Pomodoro cycles that the user wishes to complete as an option. Typically, it’s four at a time, but having the ability to customize the timer is a great way to test your Python skills even more. This can also be done with the Tkinter module.
Program a password creator
You can think of this as a first step toward the complicated passwords that your computer automatically suggests each time you create a new account online. Start by having the program ask the user for the number of characters in the password and whether there should be numbers, capital letters, lowercase letters, and special characters. To take this project up a notch, you could make it so the program doesn’t repeat a password it already generated. This can be done using a collection or sequence data type and the random module.
Design your own contact program
Try building a program that easily stores all of your contact information and makes it easy for you to search for someone’s information at any time. Sure, you probably have this built into your smartphone or your email, but are there features about those programs you wish you could improve? Put your Python skills to the test and build yourself a simple but effective contact list program using some custom functions.
Keep improving your Python skills
If you want more practice, check out our full catalog of coding projects. But if any of these projects were too challenging and you’d like to brush up on your Python skills, check out our Learn Python 3 course. Not only will you get a refresher on the fundamentals of programming, but you’ll also challenge yourself with a few more coding projects that you can add to the list above.
If you already have a solid foundation in Python, consider taking your skills up a notch with one of our intermediate-level courses, such as:
- Learn Intermediate Python 3
- Applying Natural Language Processing with Python
- Build a Machine Learning Model with Python
- Learn Data Structures and Algorithms with Python
Need more help? Check out these Python programming books.