If you were following the news lately, you would have noticed the words “data science” or “data scientist” popping out on your social media feeds every now and then. That’s because we are talking about one of the most sought after tech jobs for 2018.

For the uninitiated, data scientists, simply put, are people who collect, analyze and visualize data.

According to a LinkedIn survey, jobs in data science in Singapore have grown 17 times from 2013 to 2017. Apart from the boom in IT industries around the world, the Singapore government has also been been pushing for more Singaporeans to join the tech sector through initiatives and programmes to equip them with relevant skills.

This demand for skilled data scientists is expected to increase 28% by 2020. So if you are looking to hop on the bandwagon of learning data science and becoming a data scientist, read on!

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Much like any other job in the tech field, you will need to be equipped with the right skills to begin your journey as a data scientist. For someone new to this field, the copious number of programming languages out there might be a little overwhelming.

But there’s no need to panic. That’s what we are here for—to offer guidance and insight to anyone with an interest in programming.

To help you, we have narrowed down 3 programming languages that we think are essential to learn if you want to become a data scientist.


Ah yes, Python, our beloved friend. Not the reptile python of course. We are talking about the fastest-growing programming language in the world.

Growth of Python’s popularity over time.
Growth of Python’s popularity over time. Image: stackoverflow.blog

You may have read that Python should be the first language to learn when you pick up programming. Among other plus points, it is an easy language for beginners to pick up and is applicable in many industries (in case you realize later on that data science might not be your thing)!

UpCode Academy is also offering you the opportunity to master the basics of Python in just TWO weeks. Sounds like a great way to get your foot into the world of data science right?  

So why Python?

Data scientists have to deal with huge amounts of data on a day-to-day basis and they need a language that complements their daily tasks—analyzing raw data, visualizing data and the like. That’s exactly what Python is able to offer with its various data science libraries such as NumPy and pandas.

Perhaps the above was not enough to convince you to learn Python. In that case, feel free to join us at our Python workshop happening on the 18th of October and take a look for yourself!


If you are certain that data science is your chosen career path, then you should seriously consider learning R!

Highly adored by many data scientists, R was originally built by statisticians to analyze data—the core of a data scientist’s job. Thus, the language is best suited to performing extensive statistical analysis on data sets.

An example of 3D Scatter plot created in R
An example of 3D Scatter plot created in R. Image: rdatamining.com

As a procedural language, R follows a set of steps (hence ‘procedural’) to carry out a programming task. The benefit of such a language is that you get “clear visibility into complex operations” which is often helpful when building data models.

There are also multiple tools available in R that provide visualization for your data, ranging from histograms to scatterplots. However, R is slow in its performance and is usually not recommended to beginners without programming background as the learning curve can be a little steep.


Go is an open-source language developed by Google—one of the biggest companies that make use of data science in its operations—and was released to the public in 2009.

The purpose of building a new language was pretty straightforward for the creators of Go. They wanted something that had a blend of ease, safety, and efficiency, which unfortunately could not be resolved well with the libraries or tools available at that point of time. Hence, Go was born.

The official mascot of Go language - the Gopher.
The official mascot of Go language – the Gopher. Image: github.com

The biggest pro of Go? It was built to be fast.

In data science, speed is generally helpful when you are processing large data sets. With its static typing support, Go also allows you to build high-performance systems.

Some of the Go libraries which are used in data science include gonum (statistics, matrices and more), gorgonia (machine learning), and dashing-go (creating dashboards).


Short for structured query language, SQL isn’t exactly a programming language but, it’s useful for data scientist looking to search and edit for data in a big database.

Knowing how to operate SQL can help save loads of time cleaning and looking for data.


Great for numerical and computational needs, Julia’s perfect for data scientists. One of the best features of Julia is that it’s got floating point calculations and linear algebra.