Must Love Data Mondays: Why Python?

Why Python is considered the language of choice for data science?

I’ve been getting a lot of information from Quora, a question and answering site, with a great post about, How do I became a data scientist?  In this page there is a section about Python, why you should learn it, and how to learn it.

I’m trying to complete a high-level analysis on why the language is popular.  I think it comes down to a few key points:

  • Large community
  • Good REPL
  • Strong core libraries
  • Contains important features from R & Mathematica including notebooks, such as IPython Notebook.
  • Easy to learn

There are a number of languages that satisfy a few of the above points but only Python seems to combine all of them.  This has made it an essential tool for data scientists.  It allows them to quickly learn the language, create programs that work, solve a problem, and can be quickly visualized.

How to Learn Python?

There are a number of sources to learn Python.  I’ve listed the Quora page above.  A number of people on the site recommend Zed Shaw’s, Learn Python The Hard Way, for its combination of book and exercises.  There are also a number of recommended courses on Udacity, namely CS101.

I was using Zed Shaw’s Learn Ruby The Hard Way so I’ve decided to use his popular Python version. My goal is to complete it by April 4th, which means I’ll completing two exercises a day.  I’ll include an update of my progress in each Must Love Data Mondays post.