Python vs R for Data Science?

Hello Experts,

I have embarked on a journey to learn Data Science with CodeAcademy. During my search/research I stumbled upon lots of discussions on choosing Python or R for learning Data Science. It seems to be a lot more important to choose either of those.

But as a newbie, want to understand, experts view? Why it’s important? I heard from people that R is an important language for Data Science to learn. Is that true?

Which one to choose? Why? If I learn Python, will I have to learn R also, or vice versa?

Any guidelines and help pls.


There’s so much out there on the web about this. If there is anything approaching a consensus, it’s that R is for you if you are have a good understanding of statistics, or find your studies carrying you in that direction. Most people agree that the native statistical ability of R is the best of the two.

For a gentler learning curve, but still with great packages for visualization (and, yes, statistics) in a general-purpose language in which you can also learn object-oriented programming, I’d go for Python.

I am not an expert in data science, so from a non-expert: Begin with Python. The basics of coding are the same in any language (it’s a basic theorem of computer science that all programming languages are fundamentally equivalent) , and it will be a while until you attain the proficiency you’ll need to delve into data. By then, R will come easily to you if you decide that you need it; you’ll have lost nothing by having studied beginning and intermediate Python.

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As someone who knows both Python and R and used to work as a data scientist of sort, I fully agree with what patrickd314 says.

R is designed for statistical analysis. Academic researchers in political science (and increasingly in economics) are using R for their data analysis.

Python is a general purpose language, allowing you to do many things other than statistical analysis. And it is designed to make it easy to learn and less prone to errors.

Personally I found Python easier to learn than R. One problem with learning R is that there are several alternative ways to do the same thing, and for beginners this can be very confusing.

If you choose R, I’d recommend Garrett Grolemund & Hadley Wickham’s R for Data Science, available for free online at

Unlike many other R tutorials, it starts with data visualization. So you know how to produce final outcomes first, which will motivate you to learn all the rather tedious data cleaning parts.

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Thank you Patrick. Sincerely appreciate.

Yes, it’s true that, there’s a lot on Web about it, but it’s more authentic to hear it from Codeacademy users, who explored the space on their own. It helps.

Thanks again for inputs. Very helpful.

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Thank you masakudamatsu.

Sincerely appreciate. So it seems that it’s good, to begin with, Python and keep on exploring space with R, esp when it comes to Statistics.

Thanks a ton for help and the link to the book too.

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