Python and Data Science: Update

It’s been a month since I finished my edX class and I wanted to provide a quick(ish) update. Since I completed the course I’ve:

  1. Installed the Anaconda python package on my laptop. It includes a very nice editor called Spyder
  2. Worked at cleaning up my data spreadsheet of library data
  3. Realized that rather than hard coding specific columns to analyze, I ultimately want to be able to have a menu driven program where a user could ask to data items of their choice analyzed

The last item means I have more work to do with loops and working with headers from my spreadsheet. To get this work done, I am tacking back to learning more Python programming, this time from a book:

Matthes, Eric. 2016. Python crash course: a hands-on, project-based introduction to programming. Find in a Library

This book is in two parts. Part 1 is a general overview of Python, clearly explained with lots of hands on examples. Part 2 is devoted to using knowledge gained in part 1 in three different programming projects. Fortunately for me, the second project is all about data visualization, which is my primary interest in learning Python to begin with.

I’ve only been working with this book for a few days and I’ve worked through the first three chapters. Actually chapters two and three because chapter one was a step by step to getting your own programming environment which I already had. Chapters two and three were mostly review for me, but showed me a few new things about print() and working with lists. The hands-on examples gave me good practice. The author is really encouraging about getting you to play with your code — something missing from the edX course, useful as it was.

I’m looking forward to working on chapter four because it will cover using loops with lists. While I’ll be ultimately working with arrays and panda data structures, I expect some of this material to be relevant.

While the other Part 2 projects look fun, I will likely only do the data visualization project at this time.

I’ll try to write more once I get into the data visualization project in this book. I just wanted to let you know that despite a pretty busy life and the fluid political situation in this country, I’m still working on lifelong learning and hope you’ll find some time as well.


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