Interested in learning how to build a web scraping tool but not sure what coding languages you need to master, or how to implement one?
If so, you’re not alone.
There are thousands of new and intermediate developers who are looking to learn how to code useful, efficient web scrapers using coding languages they already know.
Why is there so much interest in this skill?
Because knowing how to code a web scraper, or data extraction tool, is highly prized in the tech job market. With so much data readily available online, companies in a variety of industries need a reliable, cost-effective – and again, efficient – way to get to the structured and semi-structured data that they need for research, competitive analysis, debugging, etc. From ecommerce to real estate to stock trading, web scraping tools can provide updated data in near real-time for businesses as well as their developers. If you know how to code a scraping tool, you’ll likely have no shortage of job opportunities.
Building Web Scraping Bot with Python, Udemy
Pre-requisites: Basic Python Knowledge
This easy-to-follow course for beginners teaches the basics of web scraping with Python.
In addition to getting acquainted with Beautiful Soup and how to work with static files, you’ll also learn a couple of practical projects. If you’re looking for a user-friendly course on how to build out simple email automation scripts, or extract data from an existing site, you’ll want to check out this highly-rated Udemy course.
*Udemy offers several limited-time-only discount periods per year, so you can get 50-80% discounts on course prices if you time it right.
Web Scraping and API Fundamentals in Python 2021, Udemy
This course is rated 9.2/10 on Coursemarks
Pre-requisites: Basic Python knowledge, Python 3, Anaconda distribution
Data Collection and Processing with Python, Coursera
Pre-requisites: part of the Python 3 Programming Specialization, so Python Basics, and Python Functions, Files and Dictionaries courses are recommended
Cost: Free – $$*
This course from the University of Michigan will teach you how to create and use data extraction across a host of different use cases. U of M is recognized for high-quality course offerings for developers, providing both absolute beginners and professionals with practical coding education. You’ll learn about complex data structures, how to process json data, and caching requested data – in addition to a range of other topics that will help you master data collection with Python.
*Most Coursera courses – this one included – can be taken for free after filling out a short Financial Aid application. If you don’t need a Certificate of Completion, this is a cost-effective way to learn new skills that will help your career.
Web Scraping in Python, DataCamp
Pre-requisites: Intermediate Python
In 17 video modules that span 4 hours, this course is a deep dive into the tools and technologies that underpin data scraping. With a greater emphasis on understanding the structure of html and XPath notation, DataCamp’s Web Scraping in Python course aims to teach users how to build scraping tools that scale. This course leans heavily on creating web scrapers with the Scrapy Python library, but learners can easily adapt their newfound knowledge to extract data with BeautifulSoup or Selenium. This is a great option for those on a data science career track, covering creating automated data scraping tools before you dive into how to import and clean extracted data in the follow-up course.
*DataCamp offers several reasonable pricing options, and offers students a free month to try their platform before committing to a monthly rate.
Cost: $-$$$* If you’re looking to jump into practical uses of data scraping as quickly as possible, this robust course from Packt is likely your best bet. The course modules cover a variety of real-world scenarios, including scraping from search engines, hotel and ecommerce websites – each with a different coding library, including CasparJS and Cheerio. The final module covers saving extracted data to AWS using a NodeJS server. They also offer the code bundle for the course on GitHub, so if you’re already a GitHub user – and who isn’t? – you have quick access to dig into the code immediately and start scraping. Packt offers a robust library of courses in a variety of formats, so if you learn better with an ebook than with video instruction, this is a good option for you.
*Offers competitive pricing, and 10-day free trial is available for new users
Whether you’re a coding ‘hobbyist’ looking to expand your skills, or a professional developer adding to your resume, knowing how to create a web scraper is a useful, practical data analysis skillset in this era of Big Data. With so much information readily available online, modern companies are looking to access that data, and to use it to improve their own products and services. In learning web scraping basics, you’ll help them unlock new opportunities to grow.