Data science sexiness: Your guide to Python and R, and which one is best

Data science is the sexiest job of the 21st century. Data scientists around the world are presented with exciting problems to solve. Within the complex questions they have to ask, a growing mountain of data rests a set of insights that can change entire industries. In order to get there, data scientists often rely on programming languages and tools.

This is an excerpt of our free, comprehensive guide to getting a job in data science that deals with two of the most common tools in data science, Python and R.

Python

Python is a versatile programming language that can do everything from data mining to plotting graphs. Its design philosophy is based on the importance of readability and simplicity. From the The Zen of Python:

  • Beautiful is better than ugly.
  • Explicit is better than implicit.
  • Simple is better than complex.
  • Complex is better than complicated.
  • Flat is better than nested.
  • Sparse is better than dense.
  • Readability counts.

As you can imagine, algorithms in Python are designed to be easy to read and write. Blocks of Python code are separated by indentations. Within each block, you’ll discover a syntax that wouldn’t be out of place in a technical handbook.

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