I am a beginner and I want to learn computer programming. So, for now, I have started learning Python by myself with some knowledge about programming in C and Fortran.

Now, I have installed Python version 3.6.0 and I have struggled finding a suitable text for learning Python in this version. Even the online lecture series ask for versions 2.7 and 2.5 .

Now that I have got a book which, however, makes codes in version 2 and tries to make it as close as possible in version 3 (according to the author); the author recommends “downloading Anaconda for Windows” for installing Python.

So, my question is: What is this ‘Anaconda’? I saw that it was some open data science platform. What does it mean? Is it some editor or something like Pycharm, IDLE or something?

Also, I downloaded my Python (the one that I am using right now) for Windows from Python.org and I didn’t need to install any “open data science platform”.
So what is this happening?

Please explain in easy language. I don’t have too much knowledge about these.

Anaconda is a python and R distribution. It aims to provide everything you need (Python-wise) for data science “out of the box”.

It includes:

  • The core Python language
  • 100+ Python “packages” (libraries)
  • Spyder (IDE/editor – like PyCharm) and Jupyter
  • conda, Anaconda’s own package manager, used for updating Anaconda and packages

Your course may have recommended it as it comes with these extras but if you don’t need them and are getting on fine with vanilla Python that’s OK too.

Learn more: https://www.anaconda.com/distribution/

Anaconda is a Python distribution that makes it easy to install Python plus a number of its most often used 3rd party libraries in a flexible way on a Windows or Linux machine.

My experiences with it are very positive, both on Windows and Linux. It is quite complete and avoids problems in building libraries that you need from source code, that frequently plague one by one installations of those libraries by tools like pip.

By the way: It’s very wise to start with 3.5 or 3.6 since 2.7 is approaching the end of its lifecycle, though many applications still depend on it.

As for tutorials: Pythons own docs are quite suitable for learning the language.


Anaconda is a Python-based data processing and scientific computing platform. It has built in many very useful third-party libraries. Installing Anaconda is equivalent to automatically installing Python and some commonly used libraries such as Numpy, Pandas, Scrip, and Matplotlib, so it makes the installation so much easier than regular Python installation. If you don’t install Anaconda, but instead only install Python from python.org, you also need to use pip to install various libraries one by one. It is painful and you need to consider compatibility, thus it is highly recommended to directly install Anaconda.