Is Python really supplanting R for data work?

After years of chortling at those who could get worked up enough to launch flame wars over Windows vs. Mac vs. Linux or iOS vs. Android, I seem to be engaged in one of my own: Python vs. R.

Except this one isn’t quite the same, since we’re not arguing over which is better for data analysis (I’ve got no idea, since I know little Python beyond “Hello, world”) but which is more popular. And for that claim, sorry, I think some data is required.

It started with a piece headlined Python Displacing R As The Programming Language For Data Science. Now, if you’re not familiar with R, one of the most appealing things about it is its large community and thousands of add-on packages making it easier to do tasks ranging from analyzing your Twitter feed to creating interactive graphics. If R is going to be “displaced” for data work, meaning the community is likely to dwindle, that’s a pretty serious charge.

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