I don't care what language you use; just solve problems

Chip Oglesby bio photo By Chip Oglesby

First let’s get this out of the way

Ah the great language wars of the past three years where we waxed poetically over using R vs Python for data analysis. Enough digital ink has been spilled to last us for ever, so here is what I think:

If you’re a programmer and you want to get into data science, you’ll want to learn Python. If you’re an established data analyst or classic statistician, you’ll want to learn R.

I say that mainly because of the mechanics of the languages themselves and not what they actually do. You can write crappy code in either and it’s still crappy.

I don’t think it really matters what language you use

Really, I don’t. I find that one of the best ways to stay on top of job trends is to constantly look at what my favorite companies are looking for in candidates.

Recently I came across a post that said something like You need to know Python but we'll consider you if you know R. I found that rather interesting.

I guess if you don’t take standardization into account I don’t know why it would matter if you use R or Python. If I were hiring you for a position, I’d rather know that you can solve problems in whatever language needs to be used, within reason.

I’ve been trying to think of a good reason why you might only want a candidate that knows a specific language? R for example has caret and Python has scikit learn. If you know the basics of one, you should be able to dive-in and debug a piece of code if your coworker is having a problem.

I think that companies like StitchFix do a great job of letting their employees use whatever tools they need to get the job done.


I care much more about your ability to think programmatically and solve problems than I do the language you do it in. Yes there is beauty in code and in the world of business a lot of times we just need to G.S.D. (Get Shit Done).