Intro to Word Clouds & Python

In this hands-on data visualization training, you'll learn how to make a word cloud using Python. You'll analyze the lyrics of the Beach Boys' famous song, Barbara Ann, and dive into basic data visualization techniques.

Why learn about word clouds & Python?

Learn about word clouds for free

Our Intro to Word Cloud lessons are free — that way you can set your schedule and learn Python fundamentals at your own pace.

Explore your future in tech

Our lessons are the best way to experience if learning data visualization is for you. Explore whether you’re passionate about pursuing data analysis as a career, or if you just want to brush up on some skills.

Prepare for a data science bootcamp

These lessons are the most efficient way to get real hands-on experience and to learn the data analysis basics you’ll need to get into our immersive data science course.

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What you'll learn: data visualization and word clouds using Python

Let’s say that you want to count up how many times each word in a song appears. Without a computer, it would be difficult to organize and time-consuming. You would have to record all of the lyrics on paper, cross out all of the duplicates and then count the number of times each of the words occurs in the lyrics. Additionally, you wouldn’t have the ability to do any visualizations.

Using Python, it's much easier. Together, we'll make a list of all the words in a song's lyrics, create a set of unique words, generate a word frequency table, chart the table on a bar chart, and build a word cloud visualizing higher frequency lyrics.

String Data Types

Learn what string data types are and how to create them.


Learn how variables are used to store data and access information.

String Methods

Learn how str() functions, .lower() methods, and .replace() methods are used to when analyzing a list.

Sets vs. Lists

Learn how to create a set and discover the difference between a set and a list.

Graphing Frequencies

Use the dict dictionary data types to create a frequency dictionary and use the matplotlib to create data visualizations.

Word Clouds

Learn parameters you can use to create a word cloud and gain insight into your data.

Other free data science tutorials at Flatiron School

Introduction to Python

Using a list of top travel locations, learn about list data structure and how to manipulate its contents.

Learn Python

Intro to Binomial Distribution

In this intermediate workshop, use Python to demonstrate how data can optimize hotel profits.

Learn Binomial Distribution

Ready for a career in data science? Learn more about our immersive Data Science course.
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Frequently asked questions about word clouds, Python, and data visualizaiton

What is a word cloud?

Word clouds are a simple way to show how often a specific word or phrase appears in a given data set. As a word's frequency increases in that data set, it grows larger in the word cloud, whereas less frequent words appear smaller.

The purpose of word clouds is to provide contextual information about a data set in a visual and easy-to-digest way.

What is data visualization?

Data visualization is the visual representation — charts, tabs, maps, and much more — of big data and statistics to make those data sets easier to understand. As data — and capturing data — becomes more important across every industry, understanding that data and gaining actionable insight from it is more critical than ever, and data visualization makes gleaning those insights more efficient and effective.

What is a frequency table?

A frequency table is a table that lists items and shows the number of times the items occur. Frequency tables can easily be translated into histograms, making it easier to read.

Why is data visualization important?

In short: humans are visual learners, and graphics, charts, tables, word clouds, and many, many other forms of data visualization help people understand large data sets more easily.

Data visualization — data vis, for short — is an "easy" way to make information universally understood.

What is Python?

Python is a general-purpose coding language. This means that, unlike some other languages, it can be used for other types of programming than web development alone. Python can be used to manipulate and manage big data sets, and is known for being able to perform complex mathematical computations, which makes Python the most important programming language in data science.

What can you do with Python?

Python is best used for automation, back-end web and app development, software development, processing big data, system scripts.

Automating tasks is extremely valuable in data science and will ultimately save you a lot of time, and provide valuable data — this is why Python excels.

How long does it take to learn Python?

Compared to some other language, Python is pretty easy to learn, but the answer to this question really depends on what you want to achieve. You can learn some basics in Python in just a few hours, but to really start getting comfortable with Python probably takes a few weeks of intense training.

It is also important to know that even people with years and years of experience don’t know everything about Python and its abilities because Python is a language that keeps evolving.

What is Python used for?

Python is a general-purpose programming language with a broad range, meaning that it can be used for things like software development, writing system scripts, and mobile app development. Python can also be used to read data files and analyze data sets, making it an attractive language in data science.

Further reading: The Best Programming Languages to Learn for Data Science

What courses and workshops does Flatiron School offer?

Flatiron School teaches students the skills they need to become a software engineer, data scientist, cybersecurity engineer or analyst, or product designer.

If you're looking to start a new career, those are the courses for you.

We also offer free introductory experiences for beginners in coding, data science, and cybersecurity.

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Is Flatiron School's free Intro to Word Clouds really free?

Yes, Introduction to Word Clouds & Python is entirely free, just like the rest of our workshops and tutorials.

If you're looking to learn data visualization techniques and how to use Python to organize and parse data — for free — this is a great place to start.