Python Basics: The Random Module

The thing that made me fall in love with Python.

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

Hey guys! As I mentioned last week, I have just started my journey learning Python. As with any new language it is a little slow going at first, but I have started picking up speed and have really started to fall in love with it. One of the things that was a game changer to me this week was being introduced to the Random module and all of the methods inside it that you can use! Today, I’m going to break down the Random module, show you how to add it to your application, and the most important and commonly used functions within it.

What is Random?

Random is a module in Python that generates pseudo-random numbers for various purposes. It’s been super great for all of the silly CLI games I’ve been building, but also has fabulous uses for real life as well.

Importing Random

Importing Random in your Python file is super simple, and similar to importing React components if that’s something you know how to do. At the top of your Python document, simply type:

import random

That’s it! Now you can call on all of the random functions that your heart desires. Let’s break down a few of them that I love now.

Random Functions To Know

random.randint()

This function is the most commonly used in terms of returning random numbers. The function has two parameters, that are the range, and the function will return a random integer inside that range.

random.randint(1, 10) # returns a number between 1 and 10

This function is great for any sort of application where you need to rely on chance. Rock, Paper, Scissors! Heads or Tails! Roulette! These are all things with an equal amount of probability where you can assign each choice to a number.

random.random()

This function doesn’t take any parameters, and returns a number between 0.0 and 1.0.

random.random() # 0.3

random.choice()

This is definitely my favorite of the random functions. It takes as its parameter a list, and will choose a random item from that list.

fruits = ["Apple", "Pear", "Banana", "Peach", "Plum"]random.choice(fruits) # "Banana"
random.choice(fruits) # "Plum

This is a way of creating an even simpler game of chance; instead of having to assign each selection to a number, you can create an array of all of the choices like so:

choices = ["Rock", "Paper", "Scissors"]
random.choice(choices)

random.shuffle()

Another great one for lists, random.shuffle() will take a list and mix it up into a random order. Let’s use the same fruits list from above:

fruits = ["Apple", "Pear", "Banana", "Peach", "Plum"]random.shuffle(fruits) # ["Pear", "Plum", "Apple", "Peach", "Banana"]

These are the four functions that I have used the most, but there are plenty more. Check out more info about it in the Python documentation, and I also really like this explanation from W3Schools. Happy coding!

Blaire is a musical theatre performer who also moonlights as a full-stack software engineer. https://www.linkedin.com/in/blaire-baker