“I found Dataquest’s approach refreshingly different. Dataquest finds a balance between being too easy and being so hard that you get discouraged.”

Francisco Sosa

Sr. Data Scientist

Course overview

In this course, you’ll build a critical understanding of the inner workings of Python and basic computation. You’ll also explore basic number systems, methods of encoding data, how to work with text files, and the best way to optimize data usage. Finally, you’ll learn how to develop simple techniques for reading and writing to files, converting between encodings, and optimizing data usage. This course will put you on your way to mastering Python for data engineering.

Best of all, you’ll learn by doing — you’ll practice and get feedback directly in the browser.

Key skills

  • Defining how Python represents data
  • Defining encodings
  • Processing text files
  • Optimizing data usages

Course outline

Programming Concepts in Python [4 lessons]

Binary and Positional Number Systems 1h

Lesson Objectives
  • Identify how computers represent information internally
  • Define the decimal number system
  • Define the binary number system
  • Apply other number systems like octal and hexadecimal

Encodings and Representing Text in a Computer 1h

Lesson Objectives
  • Define encodings
  • Define bytes objects
  • Identify some of the most popular encodings
  • Define multi-byte encodings
  • Define Unicode
  • Decode bytes
  • Find encodings

Reading and Writing to Files 1h

Lesson Objectives
  • Employ different modes of opening files
  • Apply context managers
  • Process different encodings when reading from files
  • Write to files
  • Convert between encodings

Memory and Disk Usage 2h

Lesson Objectives
  • Define fix bit integers
  • Define internal representation of integers
  • Define the two's complement representation
  • Determine how much memory a variable takes
  • Reduce the disk usage of data with encodings

The Dataquest guarantee


Dataquest has helped thousands of people start new careers in data. If you put in the work and follow our path, you’ll master data skills and grow your career.


We believe so strongly in our paths that we offer a full satisfaction guarantee. If you complete a career path on Dataquest and aren’t satisfied with your outcome, we’ll give you a refund.

Master skills faster with Dataquest

Go from zero to job-ready

Go from zero to job-ready

Learn exactly what you need to achieve your goal. Don’t waste time on unrelated lessons.

Build your project portfolio

Build your project portfolio

Build confidence with our in-depth projects, and show off your data skills.

Challenge yourself with exercises

Challenge yourself with exercises

Work with real data from day one with interactive lessons and hands-on exercises.

Showcase your path certification

Showcase your path certification

Impress employers by completing a capstone project and certifying it with an expert review.

Grow your career with

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for learners who complete a path

Aaron Melton

Business Analyst at Aditi Consulting

“Dataquest starts at the most basic level, so a beginner can understand the concepts. I tried learning to code before, using Codecademy and Coursera. I struggled because I had no background in coding, and I was spending a lot of time Googling. Dataquest helped me actually learn.”


Jessica Ko

Machine Learning Engineer at Twitter

“I liked the interactive environment on Dataquest. The material was clear and well organized. I spent more time practicing then watching videos and it made me want to keep learning.”


Victoria E. Guzik

Associate Data Scientist at Callisto Media

“I really love learning on Dataquest. I looked into a couple of other options and I found that they were much too handhold-y and fill in the blank relative to Dataquest’s method. The projects on Dataquest were key to getting my job. I doubled my income!”

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