What is Python?
Python is an easy to learn, general purpose programming language that has developed into one of the most popular programming languages since its first release in 1991 and is now widely used by companies such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Reddit, Netflix, Amazon and Uber.
Python is not only easy to learn, but also simple to use and easy to read which enables you to write code faster and collaborate more effortlessly. It is one of the prime choices for data science and artificial intelligence as it features a rich pool of libraries to transform, visualise and analyse data and is used in technology, finance, healthcare, retail, and ecommerce for those purposes.
Python vs R: Which is right for you?
R is another very popular programme language for data science and both have their pros and cons without there being a clear winner. Python is easier to integrate with other software and is more versatile. Python is the better choice when it comes to web applications, software development, task automation and integration of analysis with web applications and production databases. The R analysis ecosystem is superior and provides a much larger number of libraries specialised in different types of statistical analysis and its ggplot library is still the gold standard when it comes to data visualisation.
Programming experience: Python and R are both easy to learn with many online resources available to continue to learn independently. If you already know another object-oriented programming language Python might feel more natural to you.
Your environment: Which programming language do your peers, fellow students or teachers use? What is more common in your field of study? Do future employers or job sectors that you might target after graduation have a preference?
Your goals: Some models and visualisations might be better supported in R than Python. Also consider your long-term career goals. If you aspire to become a software developer, you might prefer Python.
Python for Data Science Workshops
The Digital Skills lab is offering the Python workshops in a new format this year using the online learning platform Dataquest (see below for more information). All Python workshops will be held on-campus. Click on the links below to book your place or express an interest so that you are notified as soon as workshops are available to book.
These workshops take place in LBR.R.08 located on the lower ground floor of the library. Computers are provided.
This workshop is not available online.
All software is provided on lab computers. If you are using your own laptop during the workshops please ensure you have the required software installed as below.
- Anaconda Navigator (Mac / Windows) Note: You will have to install Anaconda Navigator to be able to use Python and Jupyter Notebooks. Run the installer. Do NOT change any of the default settings. For help on installing Anaconda, please see this video.
Access to Dataquest
To start the online learning on Dataquest, please follow the steps below :
- Open the survey to request a Dataquest account. We aim to provide you with access within 1-2 working days.
Once you have received an email from Dataquest to inform you that you have been granted with access:
- Please go to the Dataquest website and register your account with your LSE email address. Do not use your LSE email address and LSE password in combination.
If you can't find what you're looking for, please email email@example.com or attend one of our drop-in sessions for advice.
We also have workshops and self-study courses in R. See below if you're not sure which is right for you.
In the Python for Data Science you will be learning Python through the online learning platform Dataquest. Dataquest offers courses on topics related to Data Science and Data/Machine Learning Engineering. You will have complete flexibility to choose courses from Dataquest based on your personal learning goals and switch between online self-study and supported in-person learning on-campus depending on your learning preferences and changing schedule.
Dataquest offers courses for complete beginners, and intermediate to advanced Python users, which makes these workshops suitable for learners with varying degrees of experience.
You can choose individual courses from the course catalogue or follow a skill and career path which combines courses for a specific topic or career goal into a sequence to work through. Our Python experts can help you decide which course or skill/career path to choose from. An overview of all available courses and learning paths is available in the Dataquest course catalogue.
The Python workshops are one-hour long and you will work with fellow learners, utilising your prior experience, web searches, and in-application Help features to find the solutions to real-world problems, with a Python expert on hand if you get stuck.
We have put together this resource to provide an introduction to Python, the Dataquest UI and the available Python courses.
Click on the link below to check availability and book your place:
Python for DataScience
The Python training series is a meaningful task based introduction to Python coding language. The instructors provide guidance when needed throughout the independent partnered learning experience. Very grateful for this resource!
Laura Stahl, Department of Anthropology