R And Python: Two Growing Languages

David Smith notes that as fast as Python is growing, R is as well:

Python has been getting some attention recently for its impressive growth in usage. Since both R and Python are used for data science, I sometimes get asked if R is falling by the wayside, or if R developers should switch course and learn Python. My answer to both questions is no.

First, while Python is an excellent general-purpose data science tool, for applications where comparative inference and robust predictions are the main goal, R will continue to be the prime repository of validated statistical functions and cutting-edge research for a long time to come. Secondly, R and Python are both top-10 programming languages, and while Python has a larger userbase, R and Python are both growing rapidly — and at similar rates.

I had a discussion about this last night.  I like the language diversity:  R is more statistician-oriented, whereas Python is more developer-oriented.  They both can solve the same set of problems, but there are certainly cases where one beats the other.  I think Python will end up being the more popular language for data science because of the number of application developers moving into the space, but for the data analysts and academicians moving to this field, R will likely remain the more interesting language.

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