Data Visualization Basics with Python

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Being as stylistically challenged as I am I decided to pick up O'Reilly's Data Visualization Basics with Python video course to see if I could pick up any pointers. Really quite glad I did!

The course is presented by Randal S. Olson who seems to be very comfortable in his role. I usually dislike courses where the presenter remains unseen but here I barely noticed.

Although the course has its name in the title, Python only comes around in the latter half of the short course. Sometimes I find things like that annoying but here it made perfect sense.

The first half of the material concerns itself with the very basics. How you can tell stories with data and what stories you might wish to tell. It discusses the types of chart you might wish to use. Common pitfalls and best practices are mentioned.

I particularly liked that Olson drew attention to colour blindness and offered advice on how to make your charts accessible.

A nice list of resources for datasets on which to practice is also provided.

The second half of the material works with Jupyter notebooks to give examples of how individual chart types are implemented. Olson explains how each chart is plotted and the various options available.

Throughout the course Olson takes care to recommend that you practice with the examples in the accompanying notebooks.

The videos are bright and the O'Reilly design goes well with the narration. The slides used are done so to good effect. They accent what you hear and are not cluttered with information. The entire course flows well and is easy to follow.

At one hour you are not going to get an in depth look at data visualisation, but what you do get is an excellent insight as to what is possible.

You can pick it up directly from O'Reilly.


I'm a software developer and father of 2. I love python and data which is good because they go well together =D