Right now, if your needs are more than what Excel or Tableau can easily handle, your options are pretty limited, and all of them are intimidating. Data Chefs wants to change that. We think there should be a continuum of tools so that as your needs become more complicated, you can gradually learn more. And we believe that if the data science community truly wants to empower everyone, we need to smooth the learning curve between these tools.
To get there, we think the programming language Python, its pandas library, and the IPython Notebook tool are good foundation to build on. Here’s what we think Python/pandas need to push them to the next level:
Code Making Tool. Why should someone who wants to move beyond Excel have to give up working visually and go straight to code? We’re creating a simple proof of concept of a wizard-like tool that would help a user through the steps in analyzing their data. They point-and-click, and the tool produces an easy to read snippet of code they can use right away plus links to info on how the code works, the concepts behind it, and other tricks they might want to learn next. That way novice users get the best of both worlds: they get to be productive right away while taking small baby steps in beginning to learn to code.
Cookbook and Classes. Once you’ve taken the first small steps in learning to code, you’re still going to need help. So we are creating an online cookbook aimed specifically at the needs of people who are comfortable with Excel and other drag-and-drop tools and are just starting to learn Python/pandas. And we are also starting to create materials that can be used either for teaching a class or for self-study.
Smoothing pandas’ Edges. While we want to make it easier to learn pandas, we also want to make pandas easier to learn. There are some features of pandas that are pretty hard for beginners who aren’t scientists or financial types to understand. The same is true for data visualization and other libraries used with pandas. So Data Chefs is going to work with the communities around pandas, etc. to smooth down some of the edges.
If you are either a learner or an expert and you’re interested in getting involved, sign up to become part of Data Chefs.