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R vs Python: Which is Easier to Learn

Last Updated : 10 May, 2024
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Choosing between R and Python for ease of learning depends on your background and what you aim to achieve with the programming language. Both languages have their unique advantages and are preferred for different reasons in the data science community.


R vs Python: Which is Easier to Learn

Deciding between R and Python? Consider your goals! Python is generally easier to learn for beginners and offers broader use. If your focus is heavily on statistics and data visualization, R’s specialized strengths might be a better fit. Let’s have a closer look on the fact that why should we choose python or R.

Why Choose Python?

Reasons to Choose Python are as follows:

  • Versatility: Python’s strength lies in its ability to be used across various domains. Web development, data science, machine learning, automation, scripting – Python tackles them all. This makes it a valuable skill for a wide range of careers.
  • Readability: With its clear and concise syntax that resembles natural language, Python code is much easier to understand and write. This is a major benefit for beginners or when collaborating on projects.
  • Powerful Libraries: The vast collection of third-party libraries in Python is a game-changer. These pre-written modules provide functionalities for almost any task imaginable, saving you time and effort from reinventing the wheel.
  • Data Science Champion: Python has become a dominant force in data science. Libraries like NumPy (numerical computing), Pandas (data manipulation), and Matplotlib (visualization) provide powerful tools for data exploration and analysis.
  • Active Community: The large and supportive community of Python programmers is a huge asset. You’ll find a wealth of resources, tutorials, and forums to help you learn and solve problems.
  • Open-source and Free: Python is free to use and modify, making it accessible to everyone. There are no licensing fees involved.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Python code can run on various operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux) without modification. This simplifies development and deployment.
  • High Demand: Python skills are highly sought-after in the job market, offering strong career prospects for those who are proficient.

Why Choose R?

Reasons to Choose R are as follows:

  • Statistical Prowess: R is specifically designed for statistical computing and analysis. It offers a vast collection of built-in functions and packages specifically tailored for statistical tasks, making it highly efficient for this domain.
  • Data Visualization Master: R excels at creating high-quality and customizable data visualizations. The ggplot2 library, in particular, is renowned for its flexibility and ability to produce publication-ready graphics.
  • Academic Focus: R is widely used in academia and research due to its strength in statistical analysis. This makes it a popular choice for researchers and statisticians who need to analyze and visualize complex data.
  • Free and Open-source: Like Python, R is free to use and modify, making it accessible to everyone. There are no licensing costs involved.
  • Active Community: R also boasts a large and active community of users and developers. You’ll find resources, tutorials, and forums to help you with your R endeavors.

Python vs R : Popularity


R vs Python

While both Python and R are popular choices for data science, Python enjoys significantly higher popularity overall. Indices like PYPL and TIOBE consistently rank Python much higher, with a user base estimated at over 15 million developers compared to R’s 1.4 million. This translates to a wealth of online resources, tutorials, and community support available for Python learners.

Python vs R : Comparison

Criteria Python R
Ease of Learning Easy Moderate
Versatility Strong Limited
Statistics Good (with libraries) Excellent
Data Visualization Good (with libraries) Excellent (ggplot2)
Community Large and Active Large and Active
Open-source Yes Yes
Cross-platform Yes Yes

R vs Python: Key Differences

Key Difference between R vs Python are discussed below:


  • Python: General-purpose language. Used for web development, data science, machine learning, automation, and more.
  • R: Statistical programming language. Primarily used for statistical computing, data analysis, and data visualization.

Learning Curve

  • Python: Easier to learn due to its clear and concise syntax resembling natural language.
  • R: Steeper initial learning curve due to its unique syntax and focus on statistical functions.


  • Python: Requires additional libraries like Pandas and SciPy for advanced statistical analysis.
  • R: Offers a wider range of built-in functions and packages specifically designed for statistical tasks.

Data Visualization

  • Python: Powerful data visualization libraries like Matplotlib and Seaborn exist, but require some setup.
  • R: Particularly strong in data visualization with ggplot2 library known for its flexibility and high-quality customizable plots.

Community & Resources

  • Python: Large and active community with a wealth of online tutorials, forums, and resources.
  • R: Active community with strong support in academia and research, but resource availability might be slightly less than Python.

Other Considerations

  • Speed: Python generally executes faster than R, especially for computationally intensive tasks.
  • Deployment: Python excels in production environments due to its well-developed frameworks. R might require additional work for deployment.

Choosing Between Them

  • Python: Ideal for beginners, versatile projects, or when data analysis is a part of a broader development workflow.
  • R: Perfect for statisticians, researchers, or projects heavily focused on statistical analysis and data visualization.

Python vs R: Which Language Should You Learn?

Choosing between Python and R depends on your priorities. Python is easier to learn and offers broader application, making it great for beginners or those needing a general-purpose tool. If your focus is heavily on statistics and data visualization, R’s specialized strength might be a better fit.


  • For Complete Beginners: Python is often recommended due to its straightforward syntax and versatility. Its wide range of applications and the extensive support available from the community make it an appealing first language to learn.
  • For Those with a Statistical or Research Background: If your work is heavily focused on statistics or you’re coming from a research environment where R is commonly used, you might find R easier to learn and more directly applicable to your tasks.

Ultimately, the “easier” language to learn is subjective and depends on your personal preferences, background, and the specific tasks you want to accomplish. Many data scientists end up learning both to leverage the strengths of each language in their projects.

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