Oct 18, 2019

Visual Studio Code pulls data scientists into the Microsoft ecosystem with revamped Python extension

Can data scientists love Visual Studio Code as much as developers do? Data scientists could be VS Code's next target, and they might be part of Microsoft's master plan to win over data-driven engineering teams.

The latest release of Microsoft’s Python Extension for Visual Studio Code brings native editing of Jupyter notebooks to the world’s most popular code editor. Data scientists can easily open, edit, and run notebooks in VS Code.

Jupyter notebooks are the lifeblood of data science. They separate code into runnable snippets followed by shareable outputs—like charts, visualizations, and tables. Today, however, most data scientists edit these notebooks with tools that developers typically do not use.

Such a disconnect is costly in today’s data-drenched and app-soaked world.

Data is more critical to software development than ever before. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics are redefining entire organizations. Teams can’t afford to keep engineers and data scientists in silos.

To unify these fractured development teams, Microsoft is pulling data scientists into VS Code.

Doing so will have two major effects.

First, data science will be more tightly integrated into the development process. Developers—who control what gets built and how—will be closer to data teams. Developers can build more powerful apps when data scientists play a larger role in the development process.

Second, Microsoft pulls more of the development stack into its sphere of influence and gains valuable mindshare among data scientists. Data scientists are leading a massive shift toward data-driven development. They can become strong advocates within tech companies for Microsoft Azure, including its AI and IoT services.

The net result is a world that is far more developer-centric and Microsoft-centric.

When technology stacks cater to developers, the entire software supply chain must use developer-friendly tools. Integrating Jupyter notebooks into Visual Studio Code is a major step toward pulling data scientists into this developer-centric world—and Microsoft’s world, too.

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