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Georgia Institute of Technology

Computing in Python III: Data Structures

Georgia Institute of Technology via edX


Build on your existing knowledge of conditionals, loops, and functions by studying more about complex Python data structures, including strings, lists, dictionaries, and file input and output. Organized into five chapters, this course starts by covering the basics of data structures, then moves on to these four common data structures in Python:

  • Strings let you perform far more complex reasoning with text.
  • Lists let you process long lists of data, and even lists of lists of data for more complex reasoning.
  • Dictionaries let you more clearly code for complex types of data, and even simulate some basic elements of object-oriented programming.
  • File input and output brings your programs to life, allowing you to persist data across executions of the same program.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to write even more complex programs in Python that process and persist complex data structures. For example, you'll be able to write an ongoing gradebook application that tracks and updates your average over time, a program to calculate the net force based on several force magnitudes and directions, or a program that can turn a string like this into a StRiNg LiKe tHiS.

Structurally, the course is comprised of several parts. Instruction is delivered via a series of short (2-3 minute) videos. In between those videos, you'll complete both multiple choice questions and coding problems to demonstrate your knowledge of the material that was just covered.


Chapter 1. Data Structures. Building the fundamental types of data – Booleans, integers, floating point numbers, and characters -- into more complex strings, lists, and dictionaries that can be persisted in files.

Chapter 2. Strings. Working with series of characters that can represent plaintext messages, passwords, and more, including all the complexities of combining human language with programming code.

Chapter 3. Lists. Taking fundamental data types like strings, integers, and floats and organizing them into tuples or lists that can represent complex structures of data; or for added complexity, creating lists of lists to create 2-dimensional (or more) data structures.

Chapter 4. File Input and Output. Taking information stored in your code and persisting it in an external file that can last after the program has finished executing, or loading data from a file into a program for processing.

Chapter 5. Dictionaries. Organizing key-value pairs (very similar to variables and values) into higher-level structures that can be easily passed around or reused with some intuitive structure.

Taught by

David Joyner


4.8 rating, based on 46 Class Central reviews

4.2 rating at edX based on 19 ratings

Start your review of Computing in Python III: Data Structures

  • Anonymous
    This is a great course to take for those relatively or completely unfamiliar with the data structures being discussed in the course language (for me in 2018-19, it was Python 3). Though I was somewhat familiar with strings, lists, file input/output…
  • I have programmed - without taking any course - in Python 2.x more than 10 years ago (and I forgot most of it). I am interested in data science and was looking for a Python course as a first step up. I was also looking at an introductory programming…
  • Anonymous
    This class really hit the sweet spot for me in terms of content and learning. It continues to build on the 1st and 2nd classes from this 4 class program and it definitely builds on the material you learned in the earlier classes. The abundance of sa…
  • This is was a great course to follow for understanding data structures (in general). this course give me a good space for practicing and implementing new skills with tests and exercises , I learn a lot about dealing, and manipulate data structures.

    Smartbook or the interactive textbook was a very good place for review information that i take in video lectures, it help me to clear my understanding for topic i take before.
  • Anonymous
    I've learned a lot. Great course! I enjoyed the material about dictionaries, a topic that was relatively new to me.
  • Anonymous
    My goal was to learn how to program in Python. This course series continues with a primarily academic exercise focus - too much theory. The textbook skims briefly over subjects as do many of the exercises, without in-depth explanation or sufficient…
  • Anonymous
    Well-explained lessons with great practice tests.
    Computing in Python I & II were relatively easy, so free version was enough, but III felt like more practice projects were needed, which you get with paid version.
    Love the fact that you can do the project and then check a professional way of doing it, as sometimes you find a much quicker way to solve the problem.

    You learn everything you need to learn for the beginning. The way the instructor is teaching is comforting. If it gets confusing you are comforted not to panic and that later on it will make sense.
  • Clementine
    David Joyner is the kind of teacher who I wish I had for real, he has explained the concepts of Python programming brilliantly through his relatable examples and interesting learning nuances. The course is righteously names as Computing in Python, viz far beyond than programming, which can alone take you not as far you wish.
    Good choice if you have signed up for it.
  • Anonymous
    I'm working through the four-part seriese that Computing in Python III is a part of, and have been really impressed with the structure of the course so far. The course carefully build concepts toward greater complexity and connectivity. While some problems are challenging and get me stuck or thinking for a while, I always find I've been given the tools to figure them out, and solving them fells very rewarding. The practices interspersed throughout the videos do a fantastic job of checking for understanding so that you don't get lost. The examples given by the teacher in the videos are super clear and helpful. I've really enjoyed this series and look forward to completing the fourth part!
  • Anonymous
    This is an amazing course for gaining practical skills in Python. David does a great job of providing practical, real-world examples and practice, for those learners who would rather learn by doing instead of watching. I have tried many online courses, but none have given such fundamental skill nor have been nearly as enjoyable as the X series.
  • Stanley Waiyaki Maina
    I thoroughly enjoyed the course .Especially how it was structured and the links to additional resources. I found some problem sets to be particularly challenging; however, persistence and reaching out to the awesome TA's usually provided a breakthrough. David Joyner is an excellent teacher.
  • Anonymous
    David Joyner is such a great teacher. He built everything up from the fundamentals in a logical progression and "preview" harder concepts before covering them in detail. It is a great series of courses!
  • Anonymous
    This class started great with lots of details, but feels like it was very rushed to complete. Much more coding opportunities should have been provided for dictionaries.

    The final problem was actually unworkable based on the materials provided without extensive research outside of the course. That is definitely "coding" in the real world, but it probably is the best way to learn.

    I don't expect the videos to explain exactly what to do in the coding problems, but there should definitely be a build up that let's us apply in the context of the other courses.
  • Anonymous
    It was an excellent course that i'll never forget. I also hope to have a great performance in the next course of Object-Oriented Programming and Data Algorithms.
  • Neville A. Cross
    This course teach me about dictionaries and tuples. Why tuples are better than lists in some context. This theoretical explanation was well demonstrated with examples. I highly recommend this course to learn how to program using Python. If you already know how to program, this may be a bit slow.
  • Anonymous
    If you want to really learn programming and not just rote codes, this course is for you. David Joyner is really good at clarifying concepts, and the coding problems get tougher as you progress (at least for those new to programming). I will definitely recommend this course.
  • Joachim Schulze-lauen
    I could do this in much less than the required 20 words, just say super.
    The course is excellent, structure, concept, the high amount of excercises and problem sets make it a perfect learning medium. Thanks to David and please more of this.
  • Anonymous
    Absolutely amazing lecturer. Was the best course Python course I have taken so far. Lot's of practice and different formats of it helped me to learn a lot. Thank you so much!
  • Anonymous
    Great course overall, very comprehensive, challenging but doable. Lots and lots of practice which makes all the concepts stick in your head for good. 5 stars.
  • Anonymous
    The course is very well organized on a step-by-step mode, taking us from a very basic level to grasping the most difficult concepts. I’ve evolved a lot during the course. I’m very happy for chosen this course series to learn python from scratch. In addition to the concepts being explained in full detail, there are hundreds of exercises, which evolve in difficulty and allow us to master Python.

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