Nature's article about Python first page

Nature published this week an article about the usage of Python programming language in science. This article is in the same serie the other one I already described about R.

Pick Up Python

Python is for me the most beautiful programming language I know. I'm very comfortable when I can program with Python, but I can't use it in my professional environment because it's neither used or well-known.

In the Nature's article, they describe a new exciting job in the academic field: 'data professor'. Because today a large part of our scientific work involve data, students have to learn data skills. Biostatisticians are maybe not the best teachers for this because they focus on biostatics instead of the tools. Programmers neither are maybe not good teacher because they often have no idea about the others science fields and don't understand the basics needs of students in science.

First recommendation in this article: learn Python. There are various good reasons: it's open-source, free, popular, have a simple syntax, abundant online resources and nice frameworks for scientific.

Python is a general-purpose language and for this, it's more a the Swiss army knife programming language where R is more specific for statistics. Python is maybe not the best tool for statistics. Nevertheless, if one have to do more than data analysis ( e.g. developing a web app or a website related to his work), all the work should be done in one unique language. Then, there is no problems of importation-exportation, data format and language mixing.

The Python logo

One of the most interesting idea of this article is what says Jessica McKellar

Programming languages are popular only if new people are learning them and using them in diverse contexts [...]: new users extend the language into new areas, which in turn attracts still more users.

For my part, I think Python should be the perfect common language for all the professionals involved in data science: core scientific (physicians for my part), IT professionals, biostatisticians and decision-makers. If these professionals use the same programming language, they would be able to communicate efficiently when implementation time of an idea come.

As a medical resident in Public Health, I see my role as an interface between these professionals. Python should be an excellent tool to facilitate this interface.