Python Code Optimization Tutorial – Complete Guide

Our increasing reliance on technology has underscored the importance of learning programming languages. Among them, Python has carved out a unique place due to its simplicity and versatility, which makes it a darling of both beginners and experts alike.

What is Python Code Optimization?

Python code optimization essentially refers to the process of modifying your code to make it more efficient or effective. In other words, you’re attempting to improve your code’s performance and speed, as well as the memory it uses.

Python code optimization helps in powering up your application and enables it to work faster and sometimes needing fewer resources. It ensures that the code executes far better than before, thus enhancing user experience and your app’s overall performance.

Why Should I Learn It?

As a Python programmer, it’s integral to understand how to optimize your code as it helps in delivering a product that is faster, more reliable, and utilizes fewer resources. Not only does it enhance your resume, but it can also help you troubleshoot and improve existing projects or work in high-stakes environments where efficiency is key.

As you go deeper into this tutorial, you will learn about many commonly used optimization techniques, through engaging examples and game mechanics, along with why they are useful.

Ready to turbocharge your Python prowess? Let’s kick things up a notch.

CTA Small Image

Use Built-in Functions

Built-in functions are quite optimized and faster compared to writing your code structures. See the example below:

# Non-optimized code
def square_numbers(nums):
    result = []
    for i in nums:
    return result

# Optimized code using built-in function map()
def square_numbers(nums):
    return map(lambda x: x*x, nums)

Using List Comprehensions

Python’s list comprehension is a more optimized way of creating lists compared to a regular for-loop approach.

# Non-optimized code
nums = []
for x in range(1,11):

# Optimized code using list comprehension
nums = [x*x for x in range(1,11)]

Using Local Variables

Local variables are always faster to access than global variables.

# Non-optimized code (global variable)
global_var = "global"
def test_func():
    for _ in range(100000):
        var = global_var

# Optimized code (local variable)
def test_func_opt():
    local_var = "local"
    for _ in range(100000):
        var = local_var

Using Generators

Generators are a great way to optimize memory, as they yield one item at a time and hence use less memory.

# Non-optimized code (list)
def firstn(n):
    num, nums = 0, []
    while num < n:
        num += 1
    return nums

# Optimized code (generator)
def firstn_gen(n):
    num = 0
    while num < n:
        yield num
        num += 1

Note that these are just a few of the numerous optimization techniques available. By keeping these in mind, you can write cleaner, faster, and more efficient Python code. Let’s move on to more advanced optimization techniques.

Using Sets and Set Operations

Performing operations like membership tests are faster on sets compared to lists.

# Non-optimized code (list)
my_list = list(range(10000))
-1 in my_list   # this operation will consume more time

# Optimized code (set)
my_set = set(range(10000))
-1 in my_set     # faster operation

String Concatenation (Join)

When working with strings, using the built-in function join() for string concatenation is more optimized in comparison to the ‘+=’ operator.

# Non-optimized code
s = 'Zenva'
for _ in range(10000):
    s += ' Academy'

# Optimized code
s = 'Zenva'
s = ''.join([' Academy' for _ in range(10000)])

Using in-built Modules

Python’s in-built modules such as itertools and collections offer many functions which can optimize the performance of your code. Here’s an example using the Counter() function from the collections module.

# Non-optimized code (custom function)
def get_counts(seq):
    counts = {}
    for item in seq:
        if item in counts:
            counts[item] += 1
            counts[item] = 1
    return counts

# Optimized code (using Counter() from collections)
from collections import Counter
def get_counts_optimized(seq):
    return Counter(seq)

Using Local Variables in Loops

When working with loops, it’s more efficient to bind variables used in loop conditions and computations to local variables.

# Non-optimized code
def test_func(items):
    result = []
    append_result = result.append
    for item in items:
        append_result(item * 2)
    return result

By focusing on these advanced Python optimization techniques, along with the basics we discussed, you can vastly improve your Python code’s efficiency and execution speed. This not only aids in better computation but also in conserving memory, leading to a more holistic and finely tuned application.

Where To Go Next?

Now that we have shown you the ropes of Python code optimization, where do you head next in this Python programming journey?

At Zenva, we provide a comprehensive Python Mini-Degree. This is more than just a course – it’s a doorway into the fascinating world of Python programming. With us, you will dive deep into coding basics, algorithms, object-oriented programming, and even game and app development. Just picture yourself creating games, building apps, and developing AI chatbots. All of this can be within your reach.

The curriculum is fitting for beginners and seasoned developers alike. Our flexible learning options coupled with access to live coding lessons provide an enriching learning experience.

Our certified instructors are always available for guidance. As a part of this program, learners earn completion certificates and build a Python portfolio that reflects their skills and knowledge earned throughout the course.

In addition to the Python Mini-degree, we host a wide collection of Python Courses you can explore to fit your interests and level.


Diving into the world of Python programming offers an exciting journey into the realms of technology, artificial intelligence, data science, and game development. With the Python code optimization techniques you’ve learned today, you’re equipped to write efficient, effective, and super-powered code that can take your Python projects to new heights.

At Zenva, we believe in empowering you to achieve these heights through our hands-on courses. Want to delve deeper into Python? Our comprehensive Python Programming Mini-Degree is your next step towards large-scale programming projects and a rewarding career in tech. It’s your time to code and conquer!

Did you come across any errors in this tutorial? Please let us know by completing this form and we’ll look into it!

Python Blog Image

FINAL DAYS: Unlock coding courses in Unity, Godot, Unreal, Python and more.