4. Your First Python Script: Writing and Executing ‘Hello, World!’

Embarking on your programming journey with Python is a thrilling adventure, and there’s no better way to start than by crafting your very first script. It’s a rite of passage for budding developers, and I’m here to guide you through it. We’ll begin with the timeless classic: writing and executing a ‘Hello, World!’ script.

This simple exercise is more than just tradition; it’s your gateway to understanding the basics of Python. I’ll walk you through each step, from setting up your environment to writing your first lines of code. You’ll see just how easy and satisfying it can be to bring your code to life.

Setting Up Your Environment

Before diving into the ocean of coding, it’s crucial that we set up a proper environment to write and execute our Python scripts. I’ll take you through this process step by step, ensuring you’ve got everything ready for your first line of code.

Download and Install Python
The first step is to download Python from its official website. Ensure you get the latest version suitable for your operating system. During installation, don’t forget to check the box that says ‘Add Python to PATH’. This small but mighty action allows you to run Python from any command line.

Choose a Text Editor or an IDE
Next, you’ll need a text editor or an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to write your code. Some popular editors include Sublime Text, Atom, and Visual Studio Code. If you’re looking for an all-in-one option, IDEs like PyCharm or Eclipse with the PyDev plugin can offer more features like debugging and code suggestion.

Hello, World! File Creation
Open your selected text editor or IDE and create a new file. Save it with a .py extension, which tells your computer that it’s a Python script. For instance, you might name it hello_world.py. This is the file where you’ll write your first script.

Running the Script
With the file created, it’s almost time to see your code come to life. To run your Python script, open your command line or terminal. Navigate to the directory where your hello_world.py file is saved. You can do this with the cd command followed by the path to the file’s folder. Once you’re in the correct directory, execute your script by typing python hello_world.py into the command line and pressing Enter.

These few steps are the bedrock of beginning your programming journey. With your environment set up and your first file ready to go, you’re on the cusp of something great. Keep the anticipation high; you’re about to start speaking the language of technology.

Understanding the Basics of Python

Before diving into writing your first Python script, it’s essential to get acquainted with the core concepts of the language. Python is renowned for its readability and simplicity, making it an ideal choice for beginners. The syntax of Python is clean and easy to understand, which helps new programmers to learn coding principles without getting bogged down by complex details.

At its core, Python is an interpreted language, meaning that it reads and executes code line by line, as opposed to compiling the entire script before execution. This feature allows for a more interactive coding experience and easier debugging. Moreover, Python is dynamically typed, so you don’t need to declare the data type of a variable upfront. The interpreter infers the type automatically, which can speed up the coding process and reduce the risk of errors.

Python’s standard library is another of its standout features. Packed with predefined modules and functions, the library enables you to perform a vast range of tasks without having to write your code from scratch. Whether you need to create a web application, automate a task, analyze data, or develop a game, there’s likely a module in the standard library that can help you get started quickly. These modules are also a great way to learn through practical examples and real-world applications.

Another aspect to highlight is Python’s strong community support. With millions of developers around the world using and contributing to the growth of Python, you’ll never be far from help or resources. Online forums, detailed documentation, and a plethora of tutorials make it easy to overcome any hurdles you encounter. This collaborative environment not only fosters learning but also keeps the language updated with the latest trends and best practices.

To truly grasp Python, it’s necessary to familiarize yourself with its data structures, such as lists, dictionaries, tuples, and sets. These structures are fundamental to storing and manipulating data effectively within your scripts. Understanding their nuances allows you to choose the most suitable structure for your task, optimizing your code’s performance and readability.

Let’s look into how you’d use variables and the different data types in Python to start writing meaningful scripts. A variable in Python is like a container for storing data values. To assign a value to a variable, you simply use the equals sign followed by the value. Remember, variable names in Python are case-sensitive and should start with a letter or an underscore, not a number.

Key Data Types:

Writing Your First Python Script

Diving into writing your first Python script, it’s essential to start with an editor that’s simple and easy to use. IDEs like IDLE, which comes bundled with Python, or lightweight text editors such as Sublime Text or VS Code, are perfect for beginners.

Once you’ve got your editor up and running, the creation of your first script is straightforward. Start by typing out the cornerstone of beginner’s programming:

print("Hello, World!")

The print() function is ubiquitous in Python because it’s how you display text output in the console. It’s a powerful yet easy-to-understand feature that provides immediate feedback on your code.

Ensure that you save your file with a .py extension, which stands for Python. The file name should be simple but descriptive, like hello_world.py, making it clear what the script does at a glance. File organization is crucial as you delve deeper into coding, so developing good habits now will set you up for success down the line.

To run your script, navigate to the directory containing your file using the command prompt or terminal. Then, you’ll execute the script with the following command:
python hello_world.py

If everything is set up correctly, you should see Hello, World! outputted to your screen. This results from the Python interpreter reading your file line by line, interpreting the code, and executing it in real time.

One key takeaway here is the accessibility of Python scripts. They don’t require a sophisticated setup or complicated procedures to run. They embody simplicity, ensuring that beginners can achieve results with minimal set up, which is a testament to why Python is highly recommended for those starting their programming journey.

Advancing from these foundational steps, let’s explore how you can manipulate data within your scripts, which will give you a solid grounding in Python’s capabilities and the satisfaction of seeing your code come alive.

Executing Your Python Script

Running a Python script is a straightforward process, but it may vary slightly depending on the operating system you’re using. To activate your script, we’ll work with a common denominator: the command line or terminal.

For Windows Users

If you’re on a Windows machine, open the Command Prompt. Navigate to the folder where you saved your script using the cd command, followed by the path to the script. For example:

cd Documents\PythonScripts

Once there, execute the script by typing python followed by the name of your script file:

python hello_world.py

Make sure Python’s installation path is added to your system’s Environment Variables, so the python command is recognized.

For macOS and Linux

On macOS or Linux, the process is quite similar but you’ll be using the Terminal. Again, navigate to the directory containing your script:

cd Documents/PythonScripts

Run the script by typing python3, as Python 3.x is generally the default version:

python3 hello_world.py

Ensure you’ve installed Python 3 and that it’s in your system’s PATH to avoid issues when calling python3.


Occasionally, you might run into an error when trying to execute your script. Here are some common issues:

  • Permission Denied: Make sure you have the necessary permissions to run the script. If necessary, on macOS and Linux, precede the command with sudo.
  • Python Not Recognized: Verify Python is installed and its path is included in your system’s environment variables.
  • Syntax Errors: Double-check your code for any syntax mistakes, which are common when you’re starting out.

Running your first script marks a significant milestone in your programming journey. As you see the output of your “Hello, World!” script, you’ll be well on your way to becoming proficient in Python. With practice, you’ll soon be writing more complex scripts and diving deeper into the powerful capabilities of Python programming. Remember, consistency is key, and with each script, you’ll be refining your skills and understanding of this versatile language.


Embarking on your Python programming journey with the ‘Hello, World!’ script is a milestone. You’ve learned the basics of writing and executing a script across different operating systems. Whether you’re using Windows Command Prompt or macOS and Linux Terminal, you’re now equipped to navigate directories and bring your code to life. Remember, encountering issues is part of the learning curve, so embrace the troubleshooting process. I encourage you to keep practicing and delving deeper into Python’s powerful features. Your first script is just the beginning of an exciting coding adventure. Happy coding!