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Work smarter, not harder, with Python

Two bright green pythons

Here at CRC, weve been focused on working smarter, not harder, by utilizing different skills and adding new tools to our tool belt. One of those tools is Python, and it has been a lifesaver for streamlining our data processes, saving us time and increasing productivity.

What is Python?

Python is a simple, yet powerful programming language that is relatively easy to learn. It can be used for a variety of things, including to create practical programs that automate tasks on your computer, as a support language for software developers, and in web and internet development. Its often compared to other programming languages like C++, Java, and JavaScript. Python is compatible with many operating systems including specialized and/or older operating systems like Solaris and Linux.

Why use Python?

Python has been a useful tool in saving the time we spend on boring (although necessary) data tasks, such as data mining, preprocessing, and cleaning. For one of my projects in particular, Python has been a real-time saver by allowing me more time for other (more exciting) tasks like data analysis and visualization.

How weve used Python

A program in Python was created to automate the monthly task I had of cleaning program enrollment and attendance data. Before the program was created, I was responsible for exporting the data from a web-based social sciences software, linking participant ID numbers, cleaning the data, and then formatting it for appendage into a database; depending on the size of the dataset and the number of participants needing to be assigned new IDs, this would take me at least a few hours to complete.

After the program was created, all I had to do was export the data from the web-based software, plug it into the Python program, and let Python do its thing! Once done running the program (which took a matter of mere seconds), Python would spit out the cleaned, formatted data for me ready to be appended to the database. It would even provide me with a list of participants that needed to be assigned IDs.

Take Away

Let Python work for you! It is a powerful tool that can be utilized to help you accomplish many data tasks that are tedious, time-consuming, or otherwise plain boring.

Have you used Python to help you with your work? Let us know in the comments below!

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