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Most Popular Programming Languages for Data Analysis

Princess Ogono-Dimaro - March 05, 2022

Data analysis helps businesses make better decisions to reach their full potential. The data needs to be gathered, cleaned, and analyzed to extract useful insights. Data analysts use the best programming languages to gain information from structured or unstructured data.

Data analytics is a science field that uses processes and algorithms to understand consumers’ needs. This guide will give you the information you need about the most popular programming language for data analysts.

What Is Data Analysis?

Data analysis involves the process of changing, cleaning, and processing raw data. It also extracts relevant information from data to make informed decisions. Data analysts provide a risk analysis that helps companies make the right decisions, according to trends. The analysis results give valuable statistics and insights presented in tables, charts, graphs, and images.

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What Are Programming Languages?

Programming languages give instructions to computers. A high-level programming language is typically more user-friendly and easier to read and write than a low-level programming language. The source code of high-level languages uses a syntax that is easy to read.

This is converted into a low-level language that the central processing unit can recognize. Popular high-level languages are C, C++, Java, and JavaScript. Processors run low-level languages without the need for an interpreter. They are machine languages that computers understand directly.

What Programming Languages Do Data Analysts Use?

Although there are a variety of programming languages, some are better suited for data analysis than others. The most popular programming languages for data analysts are Python and SQL. Some analysts may use R for numerical analysis, statistical computing, and statistical analysis.

Best Programming Languages to Learn for Data Analysis

  • Python
  • SQL
  • R
  • Java
  • Scala

Which Programming Language Is Best for Data Analysis?


Python is a popular language and a perfect choice for data analysis. This multi-purpose, object oriented language is easy to read and works well for data analysis. It can be used to extract information, create coding applications, and build websites.

To use Python for this purpose, you may be required to download libraries to reduce the amount of required coding. The programming language has a wide range of applications and is beginner-friendly. However, it can take time to set it up for data analysis.


SQL is a powerful scripting language that allows users to communicate with relational databases, search within them, and collect data for use. It is a popular data science programming language with an intuitive syntax that is quite easy to learn since it is built for a specific purpose. You can learn to analyze business data using SQL, as it’s efficient for data manipulation.


R is a primary data science language used for data analysis. This easy-to-learn language doesn’t require as many extra libraries as Python and allows you to find trends and patterns in your data. It can be used to make stunning visualizations for data or build statistical models.

Data analysts use R because it offers statistical packages for quantitative applications. They include neural networks, phylogenetics, advanced plotting, and nonlinear regression. R is also an open-source language designed to accommodate changes.


Java is a general-purpose language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). This high-performance language offers powerful tools for integrating analytical methods and data science into a codebase. Many modern systems today are built on the Java backend. This language is an important tool for data applications.

Java enables seamless portability between platforms. This makes it able to write computational intensive ML algorithms and specific production codes. It is ideal for dedicated statistical applications and ad hoc analyses.


Scala is a programming language with functional and object oriented approaches. The multi-paradigm language runs on JVM, which is why many data analysts prefer to use it, especially those who work with high volume data sets.

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Scala performs well with Apache Spark, the cluster computing framework. This makes it easy to work with massive collections of data. Scala is compiled on the Java bytecode making it possible for the language to work with Java. It offers a wide variety of features for both data analysts and data scientists.

Which Programming Language Should I Learn First?

Python is the earliest programming language invented and one of the first you should learn to pursue a career as a data analyst. It is one of the most popular programming languages because it is easy to use. Even though Python is a general-purpose language, it is inherently object oriented. It supports multi paradigms such as procedural to functional and structured programming.

These features make it useful in several settings and not just for data analysis. The language has less than 1,000 iterations making it faster for data manipulation. Its packages also make natural data processing easy. Analysts can easily read data in a spreadsheet using a CSV output in Python. It is a powerful tool for a range of tasks, including deep learning algorithms, natural language processing, and scientific computing.

Is it Possible to Choose the ‘Wrong’ Programming Language?

Some people worry about choosing the wrong language for data science because they fear it will be a waste of time and effort. However, there is no such thing as the wrong language. Most are excellent languages to place on your resume. Whichever you choose to learn will be valuable in the tech field.

How to Learn Data Analysis

Becoming a data analyst takes some time. This is because you need to learn certain topics that prepare you for the workforce. You can enroll in an online coding bootcamp or an online course. These programs help you to learn the basic concepts and advance to more complicated topics in data analysis.

Learn Fundamentals

The first step to learning data analysis is mastering the fundamentals. You also need to cover tools for data analysis such as Hadoop, Spark, Microsoft Excel, programming languages like R and Python, matplotlib, tableau, and ggplot2 to help you create beautiful visualizations.

Learn Programming Language

Once you’ve got the basics, focus on one programming language. The most popular programming languages for data analysts include Python, SQL, and R. Each has pros and cons. You also need to remain up to date with data analysis tools such as querying languages and spreadsheets.

Practice Building Visualizations

Practice will help you to master what you have learned so far. You need to use programs like PowerBi, Tableau, Plotly, Bokeh, and Infogram for this step. Begin to build visualizations on your own to see how you can apply what you have learned. Tools like Excel are also important because it helps you to make calculations and graphs by simply adding information into the cells.

Join Forums

Learning is never complete until you join a community of experts in the field to exchange ideas. It helps to join forums where data analysts share their work. You can use the information to sharpen your skill. Some forums to consider include Reddit, GitHub, and LinkedIn.

How to Learn Data Analysis: Top Resources

  • Khan academy . This website offers tutorials on statistics, math, linear algebra, and calculus. It is perfect for people who have no knowledge of data analysis.
  • Kaggle . This platform offers resources and tools to help you learn data analysis. Users on the platform can publish complex data sets, build models, and explore them.
  • KDnuggets . KDnuggets offers tutorials in data mining, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and machine learning. It also contains educational tools for professional development.
  • GitHub . GitHub is not just a code repository. It contains projects and tutorials on machine learning and data analysis. You can also use the platform to build your portfolio.
  • DataCamp . This interactive platform offers data analysis courses and can come in handy for complete beginners in the field.

Ready to Break into Tech?

Data analysis is a crucial field that helps businesses get ahead of their competition. This field reduces the risks associated with uninformed decision-making. To analyze data, you need to work with certain programming languages. Python is one of the recommended languages to learn first because of its ease of use and has other useful features.

There are other programming languages you can learn for data analysis. They include SQL, Scala, Java, and R. To learn data analysis, master the fundamentals, learn a programming language, practice building visualization, and join forums.

Best Programming Languages for Data Analysis FAQ

Which programming language is best for data analysts?

The best programming language for a data analyst is Structured Query Language (SQL) because of its ease of communicating with databases. However, Python is a better option for other main data analysis functions, such as analyzing, manipulating, cleaning, and visualizing data.

Is C++ good for data analysis?

C++ is excellent for data analysis because it has rapid processing capabilities. While it may not be a data analyst’s favorite, the programming language offers a quick compiler that comes in handy for data analysis.

Is Python good for data analysis?

Python is an excellent programming language for data analysis because of its basic syntax, many frameworks, and reduced need for writing lines of code. This high-level, general-purpose programming language is also useful in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Is Python better than Java for machine learning?

Python is a better option than Java when it comes to artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analysis because it is a multi-purpose programming language. Some developers prefer it over Java because it offers accessibility, ease of use, and simplicity. Java may be faster, but Python is easier to use.

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Princess Ogono-Dimaro

About the author: Princess is an expert tech content writer whose work has appeared on Raffela, Play Junkie, Blockster, and Smartereum. She writes about arts and tech, and she has studied blockchain, cryptocurrency, and digital marketing. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Benin and also attended The Nigerian Law School.

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