Ditching Excel for Python

ycombinator discussion:

I have one dispute in the following:

On that note, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own experiences with technology-driven change in the reinsurance industry, where I worked as an analyst from 2017 until recently.

During these three short years, I observed a radical shift in data analysis methodologies. Excel-based models, which had seemed top-of-the-line suddenly were too slow and too rigid; Integration with 3rd party data sources, which was once a luxury, became the norm; And analysts began to utilize scripts to accomplish many labor-intensive tasks typically performed by hand or in spreadsheets.

I added the emphasis. I assume she’s referring to models implemented in Excel that had been considered top-of-the-line, but even in 2007, I can’t think of any serious numerical computing in Excel would be seen as top-of-line. It was always second best, at best.

Lots of things to engage with in the piece, though…

Oh, and I came across the original link via this twitter thread:

Python Smython. Cobol is where it’s at!

Think COBOL is dead? About 95 percent of ATM swipes use COBOL code, Reuters reported in April, and the 58-year-old language even powers 80 percent of in-person transactions. In fact, Reuters calculates that there’s still 220 billion lines of COBOL code currently being used in production today, and that every day, COBOL systems handle $3 trillion in commerce. Back in 2014, the prevalence of COBOL drew some concern from the trade newspaper American Banker.

I created an excel spreadsheet for group health benefits underwriters (something to do with pricing) back about 20 years ago. Last I heard, it’s still in heavy use.

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Also, at least online, I don’t understand why some people are moving to python. We’ve been using php for a coons age and it’s not getting older, it’s getting better. Last version brought execution speed up to be comparable to compiled programs. Hopefully I’ll be retired before php is.