Programming Best Practices for Data Scientist

programming best practices for data scientist

Data Scientist usually write code for either prototyping or production . You must be thinking whats the difference between them ? Your question is obvious . The clear cut answer is prototype is very specific use case but production is generalize . In this article you will get numerous technics for transforming your prototyping  to production one.This article – “Programming Best Practices for Data Scientist”  is design to give a mind set behind the data science production script .

Programming Best Practices for Data Scientist

1. Create a data pipeline –

Rather putting all logics in single place . Create configurable small functional modules.  By saying configurable I mean you have 10 steps in cleaning data . Create a property file and a data pipeline where you can control in each step by providing true and false value in property file rather than changing code base . Lets understand this with some example . Suppose You delete some column which you think garbage in the  data model . While putting that logic directly .You may create a function which needs a configurable parameter  as boolean . this Boolean variable gets value from property file . If you set true the specific function is perform on the data . Other wise the if the value in the property file is set false , It will bypass the function.

2. Proper Logging –

This is the very important when you are writing code for production. Because in prototype code base , we check the code output on the data file which we are assuming . In production user may vary data file which some time is not not expected . .Most of the time it is really easy to point the issue when code and data both are available for testing . The scenario is completely different with production . There you will not get the data just because client data is confidential .In that case you are completely relying on the logs file generated Right !

3. Unit Testing –

It is not only Programming Best Practices for Data Scientist but this is recommend for every body who code . Write the unit test cases for your module . In python I will recommend you to use unittest .

4. Code Optimization and performance –

Some time we write the code and test it on QA or staging environment . It is usually seen the data we use for testing may be smaller in size . Hence we do not see any performance issue . While in production it is in completely user’s hand  to provide the data . Some time their large data slow down the procedures too much and create performance related issues . So we should write the code in such a way , That the time complexity and space complexity should not increase exponentially with data .

5. Readability –

We all know about it very well . You should always write clean code . Again I will say it is not very specific to data science .Trust me it is not difficult . All you need to pay some attention . Its just a matter of habit . All you need to care about variable names ,write doc string and proper comments where it is require . All these help while inspecting bugs which are not caught while staging  . Because if you face any issue in production you have to resolve it in very less time . These small tricks plays very important role while inspection . It is really harder to understand other’s code if it is not written in standard format . I will suggest to follow a standard convention of naming variable and formatter across the organization.

There are few more Programming Best Practices for Data Scientist .But all above are enough in start and intermediate level.


I realize to share the topic when I face this issue in my real life . I prepared a predictive model for some demo prototype . After the demo the stakeholder decided to launch that model very quickly into production environment .  From their prospective every thing was ready .But there was tremendous amount of   remaining work to finish .From that date I decided to find those tricks which I documented in this article .

I hope you find this article – Programming Best Practices for Data Scientist  interesting and useful . If you need to add some other Best Practices on the top of this . Feel free to write us . You may contact us via social media channels or you may comment below .

Data Science Learner Team 

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Meet Abhishek ( Chief Editor) , a data scientist with major expertise in NLP and Text Analytics. He has worked on various projects involving text data and have been able to achieve great results. He is currently manages, where he and his team share knowledge and help others learn more about data science.
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