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Learning Python for Data Analysis

A friend-of-a-friend who recently graduated from a great university with a non-STEM degree asked how to learn python for data analysis and data science. After understanding their level (zero programming experience) and initial goal (be able to analyse structured data in Python), I suggested they work through these resources, in this order, doing all exercises suggested in the text:

  • Learn Python 3 the Hard Way, exercises 1-39
  • Data Science from Scratch, chapters 1-3
  • Pandas for Data Analysis, chapters 1-6
  • These pandas exercises
  • Pandas for Data Analysis, chapters 7-12

I also told them…

If, after the first two items above, you want a slower introduction to Python, this coursera course would do the trick.

The Coursera course on Data Analysis covers some of the same ground as the above, and has good reviews. I’ve not used it myself so can’t say how the sequence of topics covered is different.

Most important:

  • Do the exercises. You will not learn otherwise.
  • Find some data you want to analyse yourself, and apply what you’ve learned to find answers to questions
  • Next time you reach for Excel to analyse some data, try to do the same analysis using python/pandas