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Is Python Programming Truly Free? An Extensive Guide

Yes, Python is completely free and open source! You can start learning and using Python without spending a dime. In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll cover everything you need to know about the costs (or lack thereof) of Python.

What Does "Free" Mean for Python?

When we say Python is free, what exactly does that mean? Here are some key points on how Python is free:

  • The Python language itself is open source, so the code is freely available for anyone to use, modify and distribute.

  • Python is managed by the non-profit Python Software Foundation under an open source license approved by the Open Source Initiative.

  • There are no license fees or royalties associated with building software and applications using Python, even for commercial products.

  • Python can be freely downloaded and installed on any computer, server or device.

  • The Python standard library and popular frameworks like Django, Flask, NumPy and pandas are all open source and free.

  • Python education through online courses, articles, books, videos and forums is widely available for free.

So in summary, every aspect of Python itself is free, from the language syntax to software libraries to learning resources. Of course, your time spent learning has value. But monetary-wise Python costs nothing!

Why is Python Free and Open?

Python was created in the late 1980‘s by Guido van Rossum initially as a hobby programming project. Since the beginning, Python has been open source with contributions from developers worldwide.

The decision to keep Python free and open has helped drive its rapid growth and adoption over the past 30+ years. Here are some benefits of Python‘s open source nature:

  • Low barrier to entry: Anyone can easily download and start using Python without any upfront investment. This makes Python accessible.

  • Speeds adoption: Keeping Python open source allows it to spread quickly, especially among students and hobbyists first starting out.

  • Fosters innovation: With a community of contributors, new Python libraries and tools are constantly being created.

  • Promotes collaboration: Companies find it beneficial to contribute code back to open source Python projects.

  • Trusted code: With many eyes able to review code, bugs can be spotted and security issues addressed.

Thanks to its vibrant open source ecosystem, Python has grown from a hobby language to one of the world‘s most popular programming languages used by millions of developers globally.

Cost to Learn Python

We‘ve established the Python language itself is free and open source. But what about resources for learning Python? Can you truly learn Python for free?

The good news is there are abundant free resources available online to teach yourself Python. Some excellent options include:

  • Interactive courses: Codecademy, Datacamp, Coursera all offer great intro Python courses for free. Many paid platforms like Udemy also have discounted Python courses.

  • Books: Automate the Boring Stuff with Python and Python for Everybody are outstanding step-by-step books available under free licenses.

  • Documentation: Official Python docs are extensive and provide tutorials from beginner to advanced levels.

  • Videos: YouTube has unlimited Python tutorials. Some exceptional teachers to follow include Corey Schafer, CS Dojo and Telusko.

  • Forums: StackOverflow has a wealth of knowledge from the Python community. Reddit also has an active Python subreddit.

  • Podcasts: Talk Python To Me and Python Bytes keep you up to date with Python news and insights.

So while there are certainly paid Python courses and bootcamps available, they are absolutely not required. There is more than enough free material online to master Python.

Official Python DocsFree
Automate the Boring Stuff with PythonFree
Corey Schafer YouTubeFree
Coursera Python CourseFree
Talk Python PodcastFree

Cost to Use Python Professionally

Once you‘ve learned Python, what does it cost to actually use it? Good news – Python is free even for commercial use!

The Python license allows developers to build open source and proprietary software without paying license fees. There are no royalties to pay for distributing software written in Python.

Large tech companies like Google, Facebook, Spotify, Netflix and more use Python extensively without paying license costs. Python is also frequently used in scientific computing, AI research and financial services – fields with large budgets. Yet they incur no costs for using Python itself.

The only costs are developer salaries and infrastructure costs like servers to run the software. But these apply for any language, whether it‘s Python, Java, C++ or other languages.

So Python provides unique value by being free upfront while also powering software for billion dollar corporations. This cost efficiency combined with Python‘s benefits makes it attractive for all types of organizations.

Growth of Python

Given Python‘s free open source nature, it may be surprising to learn just how popular Python has become. Let‘s look at some key stats on Python‘s growth:

  • Created 1991: Python is over 30 years old, among the oldest programming languages still used today.

  • ~11 million developers: Estimated number of software developers using Python worldwide as of 2022.

  • #1 most wanted language: Python tops developer surveys for most popular and most loved language for 5 years straight.

  • ~90% growth: Python daily average downloads increased 90% in 2021 as per JetBrains data. Downloads were 15 million in 2021 compared to 8 million in 2020.

  • #1 language for jobs: LinkedIn‘s top jobs report ranked Python as the #1 most in-demand hard skill for 2021 and 2022.

  • ~7% market share: Python has roughly 7% of the overall software development market share as per Redmonk data.

Despite new languages like Go gaining adoption, Python has exhibited staying power by steadily increasing its developer base. Python‘s free availability combined with versatility has fueled its rise.

Python Developer Salaries

For individual developers, knowing Python is a lucrative skillset that commands high salaries. Here are some key data points on Python developer earning potential from recruitment site Hired:

  • Entry level Python developers in the US earn an average salary of $114,000

  • Senior Python developers earn up to $152,000 on average

  • The highest paid Python developers can earn over $200,000

  • San Francisco Bay Area has the most Python job openings with average salaries of $168,000

  • New York City ($146,000), Austin ($132,000) and Seattle ($160,000) also have strong demand

Keep in mind these are base salaries excluding stock options and bonuses which can add ~30% or more to total compensation at leading tech firms.

Developer TypeAverage Base Salary
Entry level$114,000
Highest paid$200,000+

So learning Python can certainly pay off financially. While salaries vary based on location and experience, Python developers earn well above average wages.

Should You Learn Python in 2023?

Absolutely yes! Here are some key reasons why now is an excellent time to learn Python if you‘re considering getting into programming:

  • In-demand skill – Python developer job openings continue growing as more companies adopt it for AI, cloud, DevOps, web apps, data science, and more.

  • Higher pay – As discussed above, Python developer salaries are generous and rising. There is strong competition for Python talent.

  • Easy to learn – Python‘s straight-forward syntax and extensive libraries make it one of the easiest languages for beginners to pick up.

  • Versatile – Python can be used for everything from data analysis to web development to operating systems automation. Expanding your Python skills opens doors.

  • Future relevance – There are no signs Python‘s popularity will wane anytime soon. Learning Python is a smart long-term investment.

  • Abundant resources – With so many free tutorials and courses available online, there are ample materials to become proficient in Python.

  • Fun to use – Python often tops developer surveys as the most enjoyable language to work with. Focusing on a fun language makes learning easier to stick with.

So in summary, Python offers an incredible opportunity. You can start learning Python today completely for free. Then with consistent practice, position yourself for an exciting, well-compensated programming career!


Python is unique among popular programming languages in being completely free and open source to download, use and modify. This has fueled rapid adoption and development of Python over the past 30+ years.

Today Python powers software for companies of all sizes while remaining accessible for students, academics and hobbyists. Abundant free resources exist online to learn Python at your own pace.

Demand for Python developers continues rising due to Python‘s versatility and large collection of third-party libraries. Python is relatively easy to learn compared to languages like Java and C++. Yet it can scale to complex applications used by organizations like NASA, Google and Facebook.

For individuals looking to gain valuable programming skills, Python presents a proven path forward. The initial time investment in learning Python pays ongoing dividends in terms of lucrative job opportunities. Python developer salaries start at $90k for entry level roles and rise well above $150k for experienced coders.

In summary, Python is truly free in all aspects. And it‘s a freedom well worth embracing!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.