Python and R have vast software ecosystems and communities. Both languages are also suitable for almost any data science task. (Related: Introduction to Data Science)

But learning both languages will take double the effort, the time and resources. Especially as a beginner who has no coding background, learning both languages would be too overwhelmed for you.

So, which language best suited for you?

In this article, we are going to share the difference between R language and Python language to help you decide which language should you learn if you are going to take up a programming language course.


“R” Programming

R is a programming language from a statistical computing background. So it’s easier to use for statisticians who are already familiar with different statistics programs like Stata, SPSS or SAS.

If you’ve done any research that requires you to use the above programs, then R is the easier language to learn. However, it has a steep learning curve for those without any research experience.

According to John Cook, an R expert, “R is more than a programming language. It is an interactive environment for doing statistics. I find it more helpful to think of R as having a programming language than being a programming language.” The interface will baffle anyone outside the world of research and statistics. Therefore, if you’re familiar with statistics, go with R. If not, then you should go with Python.

Related: Foundation in “R” Programming



Python, on the other hand, is closer to the popular imagination of what a programming language is. It’s also closer to human readability.

If R should be thought of as a statistics environment having a programming language, Python is the converse. It is a programming language that helps you do data science. This means it is easier for anyone with a computer science background or anyone with an understanding of any object-oriented languages to pick up the language.

Python’s main appeal is to build things outside of data science, but with the ability to apply data science. It’s the go-to program for engineers and developers. So if you are building things or integrating data, then Python should be the language that you speak. Python is the best tool for Machine Learning integration and deployment but not for business analytics.

Related: Introduction to Python



At the end of the day the choice between R or Python is pretty much depends on which programming language your company is currently using.

If your company is totally new and has not been exposed to any of the programming language, then you will need to know the objective of your mission: is it for statistical analysis or deployment purposes?

Once you have an answer to it, you will know which language to pick up for your own purpose.