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Why Python is a good choice for academics

I’ve been thinking about the role of Python in higher education. There’s a lot going on in that space, and the TL;DR version of this post is that I think Python is a good language choice for academics. If you’d like to hear my reasons, I have three:

  1. Python has a wide range of possible use cases, from web development to data analysis, to machine learning, to general scripting, etc. This broad range of uses is great for academics, who often do many varied types of work. On the other hand, there are some things that Python does less well, but overall it is very multi-purpose.
  2. It is also very widely used, which makes solving Python problems easier. There is a huge amount of helpful material online, from blog posts, to online courses, to StackOverflow posts. There are also many IRL Python communities; there is probably one that meets somewhere near you. The community is generally helpful.
  3. Python code is relatively easy read. This makes it useful for effectively communicating ideas, which is especially important to academics.

None of these reasons will be news to people who already work with Python; they are features that are well known in the community. Nor will this likely be convincing to committed enthusiasts of other languages. That’s fine with me. Those are just my $0.02 as to why Python is well suited to academic work.

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