Why Python as programming language ?
I have been asked multiple time why did I chose python when I started to do programming.
Let’s be honest here, I am no developer. I come from marketing study, online marketing but I never had programming classes during my studies. I even though that doing Vlookup in Excel was a hard one J . Now I try to do as much as I can with what I have, in order to be more efficient in my daily job. Someone told me once that we should not let boring tasks stop us from doing great things. Unfortunately, there are always boring tasks to do…
So the solution was to make the boring tasks interesting and efficient enough so you don’t have to spend so much time on it.
So that is why I learned some code first, I learned it to automate and solve my (boring) problems faster than me.
Excel / VBA
At the beginning, like anyone else who works with data, I started with Excel. Excel is great, especially in the way that you can look at your data structure with your own eyes. It makes it easy to analyze, and so much functions are already there. Perfect tool… until there are too much data for Excel to handle it.
At that time, data model did not exist and therefore the limit can be very quick reach with analytics data.
However, I am still using Excel, and some VBA now, it helps in order to realize some computation in Excel and to create my own function if necessary. The language is very powerful and a good one to start with, it teach you the typing and how machine work as you would need to teach each step to the machine to realize your action. It explains to you that some basic interaction that you realize are not so easy when you explain it to the machine.
Linux / Bash
When I was Technical SEO Consultant, it was the first time that I had to deal with files larger than 1 GB… (So Excel is not possible in that situation). When you analyze the log files of a website for a period of 1 Month, it could be very complicated to do with regular tools.
At that time, I was in an agency and they were using mostly Linux or Bash scripts in order to realize the analysis.
This was my first introduction to real programming and it was harsh and dry but I liked it as I could see that there was no limitation for what you can do with some programing skills.
When I started to learn python, it was not in the hype as it is in 2017. I started to learn python in 2012. At that time, another language was very popular (Ruby). Why did I chose python (and I am so grateful I did) over Ruby? Mostly because I asked developer and the community looked a bit bigger already.
Nowadays I am so happy to have done that choice as this language is not only for Data Analysis but you can create website based on that (Instagram is using python 3), or a website crawler.
This language is very easy to use and easy to read. We will see in another article the different quality and default of python but for any non-developer user. I think this is one of the easiest programing language.
I have a personal belief that every Web Analyst would need a programming language at some point. I will go as far as I think most of the Online Marketing will have one too. (I come from Marketing and trust me, when I studied it was).
Some words about SQL as you cannot go forward on data analysis without crossing the world of SQL. It is a very precious language that you have to learn. However, more than data analysis, this language is mostly use for data exploration. Implementing algorithm is not as easy as it is on other programming language. It requires very advance knowledge of that language to do so. SQL and Database in general are very useful to store data and access it easily. It comes super handy for Python as it is an in-memory language. We will see that later what it means if you don’t know but SQL is a must now.
So at this end, the chose of Python was mostly made due to the big community available for helping on the Python journey. We will see later the best website to start learning Python.