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Mastering Python’s __init__: Unveiling the Enigma for Beginners

Hello there, Python enthusiasts! 🌟 Do you ever feel like you’ve hit a wall when you’re learning to code? Trust me, I’ve been there. One concept that had me scratching my head for the longest time was Python’s __init__ method. I mean, what’s up with the double underscores? And why do we even need it? Today, I’ll break it down for you, just like how I wish someone had for me back in the day. Let’s make __init__ less intimidating, shall we? 🌈

The Confusion Around __init__

When I first encountered the __init__ method, it felt like a riddle wrapped in an enigma. I saw it pop up in almost every Python class, but no one explained it in a way that clicked for me.

What is the __init__ Method Anyway?

a man in red shirt overwhelmed
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

The __init__ method is essentially Python’s way of saying, “Hey, let’s set up some attributes when a new object gets created from this class.” It’s like a constructor if you’re familiar with other programming languages.


  • Basic Python knowledge
  • A willingness to demystify __init__

Setting Up Your Python Environment

If you’re new to Python, make sure it’s installed on your computer. You can download it from the official Python website. We also have a tutorial on how o set up and install it on , Windows, Mac, and Ubuntu Here.

Let’s Build a Simple Class with __init__

Okay, hands on keyboards! 🎹 Let’s create a class for a Dog, using __init__ to set its name and breed.

class Dog:
    def __init__(self, name, breed): = name
        self.breed = breed
# Create a Dog object
my_dog = Dog("Fido", "Labrador")
# Access attributes
print(  # Output: Fido
print(my_dog.breed)  # Output: Labrador

Notice how __init__ sets the attributes? When we create a new Dog object, the __init__ method runs automatically, allowing us to set name and breed.

Breaking It Down

  • __init__: The mysterious method we’re talking about.
  • self: Represents the instance of the class.
  • name and breed: These are the arguments we pass in when we create a new Dog object.

The struggle to understand this seemed so trivial after it clicked. It’s funny how that works, isn’t it? 😄

The Mistake I Made

One mistake I made early on was forgetting to include self. Without self, Python gets confused and throws an error. Trust me; self is not self-explanatory when you’re a newbie!

Further Reading

If you’d like to explore more about Python classes and object-oriented programming, you might find these resources useful:

  1. Python’s Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) – Real Python
  2. Python Classes and Objects – W3Schools
  3. Corey Schafer’s Python OOP Tutorials

Wrapping Up

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So there you have it, my friends! The __init__ method isn’t so mysterious after all. I wish I had a guide like this when I was learning, but hey, the struggle makes the understanding even sweeter. 😊

Happy coding, and may your Python journey be less puzzling from now on! 🚀

Note: This article is for educational purposes, aimed at breaking down complex topics into digestible chunks. Keep coding and keep exploring!

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