Can I be a data scientist without learning Python?

Data science professionals & aspirants being majorly from statistics background tend to face certain issues and problems using Python as it is a programming language based on OOPS concept. They are mostly comfortable using R as it majorly caters to statistical projects. However, for projects related to machine learning, knowledge of Python is required. Also, Python has a lot of inbuilt functions and commands which are important for data science projects. Hence, becoming a data scientist without learning Python is not impossible but definitely not advisable.

Absolutely. Python is one tool, there are many others. I do data science, but I don’t know Python more than to edit someone else’s code. My go-to tools are R, JavaScript (!), and Perl.

Much depends on which part of data science you’re interested in. Heavy text wrangling is typically better in Perl. Heavy computation is excellent in R. Web front ends and visualization, JavaScript is hard to beat (I use it server-side too, because Node.js is fast to write and very performant).

The other key language is SQL: it’s excellent for basic data reshaping at large scale (i.e., bigger than a machine memory). I use it a lot.

Finally, programming languages always come and go. When I graduated, COBOL was still in active use. It isn’t a good idea to pin any career on one language. Just play with them all, Python included.