No matter the level of your expertise, learning never stops with web scraping. Even seasoned developers often find themselves discovering new techniques, whether it involves unblocking a target or tackling new page structures and elements.
Thankfully, the internet is abuzz with web scraping tutorials, lessons, and courses conveniently covering a wide array of programming languages. While Python is among the most popular choices for data extraction, alternatives like R, Node.js, or PHP, among many other, can also be implemented. With such an abundance of learning materials the only challenge is finding the right one.
In this article, we'll discuss effective methods to learn web scraping online and highlight five reliable sources to help you get started.
Founded over a decade ago, Udemy evolved from a simple virtual classroom software into a fully-fledged online learning marketplace, boasting over 213,000 online courses. This number also covers a vast array of topics, including data analysis, market analysis, fitness, humanities, and more.
For tech-minded people, Udemy offers excellent development courses, including comprehensive resources for web scraping. Here, both beginners and seasoned experts can easily find online courses tailored to their needs, with the current bestseller on how to scrape data Modern Web Scraping with Python using Scrapy Splash Selenium.
Udemy is a flexible platform offering courses in on-demand video format. The length of the courses depends on the skill you’re trying to master, as it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over 30 hours. Most importantly, Udemy’s courses are self-paced with no deadlines for enrollment or completion. So you can take your time completing the course materials, including various quizzes, coding exercises, and assignments.
If you’re interested in a single course from Udemy, a one-time purchase ensures you have lifetime access to it. However, for those looking to learn multiple subjects, a Personal Plan might be a better option. Starting at $16.58 per month, it opens the door to a curated collection of top courses.
Udemy’s approach towards instructors is quite inclusive, as almost anyone can become one. While each course undergoes a quality assurance process, being a certified educator isn’t a prerequisite. This inclusivity introduces a diversity of perspectives to Udemy but also varying course quality. As such, you’ll have to put in the work to find a good course.
Apart from courses eligible for Continued Professional Education (CPE) credits, Udemy doesn’t offer accredited certifications. Instead, they issue a certificate of completion.
While Oxylabs isn’t a learning platform, we provide a variety of valuable materials for sharpening your web scraping skills — all completely free of charge. Both our Scraping Experts lessons and webinars feature experienced web scraping professionals who share their industry insights and tips on how to master cutting-edge scraping techniques.
For those who enjoy a more relaxed learning approach, there’s a plethora of regularly published free tutorials in written and video formats. For your convenience, we also have GitHub repositories with code examples that can be easily cloned into your own code. Finally, every year, Oxylabs organizes a virtual web scraping conference, OxyCon, where industry leaders and enthusiasts gather in one place to network and exchange ideas.
Typically, Oxylabs learning materials come in video format, ranging from 10 to 30 minutes. Each video targets a specific web scraping issue and offers practical solutions. For some of our content, like Scraping Experts lessons and webinars, participants have the opportunity to engage in Q&A sessions, thus enhancing their learning experience.
All of Oxylabs materials are offered with unlimited access and completely free of charge.
The instructors at Oxylabs are experienced professionals in their respective fields, each bringing a wealth of practical knowledge. What’s more, Oxylabs offers a range of resources that cover both technical, business, and legal topics, providing a well-rounded learning experience.
While Oxylabs learning materials are developed for all levels of skill, from beginner to expert, no certificates are issued.
Coursera stands out for its focus on partnering with top-class universities and organizations to create top-notch online courses and specializations. It's an excellent resource for individuals seeking both skill enhancement and certifications that’ll help them embark on new career journeys.
In terms of web scraping, there are fewer field-specific courses. Instead, you'll find web data gathering embedded into larger professional development courses such as Python Specialization for Everybody. This makes Coursera a valuable resource for those interested in pursuing a specialization that encompasses web scraping as a crucial component.
Learning structure is versatile and depends on whether you want to acquire a new skill, pursue a specialization, or even complete an entire university degree. For the most part, courses are presented in a self-paced video format, often including quizzes, assessments, shareable work samples, and more. However, some learning paths, like academic degrees, will have a completely different structure.
As Coursera offers a wide range of learning approaches, the pricing naturally varies. Guided Projects come for as little as $9.99, but Specializations and Professional Certificates require a monthly subscription of $49 per month. It’s worth noting that some Courses offer a free-to-audit option, giving access to a portion of the course material free of charge.
Coursera employs a strict system for selecting both courses and educators, ensuring top-quality learning materials for students.
A wide range of accreditation options are available — from professional specializations to fully accredited university degrees.
Pluralsight, unlike Udemy or Coursera, is a fully technology-dedicated platform. However, the term technology is broad as you can participate not only in programming courses but also in digital design, search engine optimization, business development courses, and more.
For web scraping, you can choose from an extensive collection of online courses and labs. Moreover, they offer a tailored Learning Path titled Web Scraping with Python, which combines singular courses into a comprehensive program, taking learners from beginner to advanced level.
As mentioned above, Learning Paths combine multiple courses for those who don’t know where to start and need structured guidance. These can take as much as 44 hours, offering a holistic learning experience. Courses, on the other hand, are way shorter and focus on a specific skill or topic.
Alternatively, Pluralsight provides labs and certification prep activities, which serves as a training ground for upcoming certification exams.
Pluralsight runs on a subscription model tiered at Standard and Premium subscriptions. With the former, you get access to the course library as well as skills assessment, whereas the latter gives you extended access to learning materials, certification prep, coding challenges, and more.
While teachers don’t need to be affiliated with teaching institutions, Pluralsight implements a strict review process accepting less than 10 percent of author applications.
Pluralsight issues certificates of completion but not accredited certifications. Instead, they partner with accreditation services and offer exam preparation services.
Unlike all of the other platforms on this list, Class Central doesn’t actually offer its own online training courses. Instead, they curate a comprehensive directory of online courses, and that’s why we included it in this list. As web scraping courses are niche, it can take you a while to sift through different learning platforms and compare them based on different criteria.
Using Class Central as your starting point, you can conveniently filter courses by duration, level of difficulty, certification, or instruction language. What’s more, the platform prioritizes free (or free to audit) courses, allowing you to find the most affordable solution.
Learning is inherently personal, resulting in a highly unique experience for each person. While some thrive in a structured program, others might prefer the flexibility of uncovering insights from a few courses at once. Whatever the approach, we hope this article benefited both types on their path to learn web scraping.
To learn web scraping, you’ll first need to get the basics of a programming language that can be applied to web scraping like Python or Node.js. From there, you can follow tutorials on building your first scraper or take full courses on how to master web data extraction to get your web data gathering projects going.
With real-time data becoming a necessity for many businesses, extracting web data can be an excellent skill to have. However, in terms of how well it pays, it depends on many factors such as your skill set and whether you’re freelancing or working in a company.
For example, if you’re looking to freelance, specializing in such popular areas as e-commerce web data scraping might bring you good results. If you’re looking to work in a company, the pay will vary from business to business.
It completely depends on your level of expertise as well as the complexity of the projects you undertake. If you have prior coding experience, the basic knowledge for web scraping, like scraping data from HTML pages, will be easy to pick up. However, once you start dealing with more complex aspects such as advanced anti-bot detection techniques, it can get quite tricky.
Depending on your level of experience with coding, learning scrape data from websites can take anywhere from a couple of days to several months. However, mastering web scraping is a long process as websites can differ vastly, meaning you’ll have to constantly learn new techniques.
About the author
Enrika Pavlovskytė is a Copywriter at Oxylabs. With a background in digital heritage research, she became increasingly fascinated with innovative technologies and started transitioning into the tech world. On her days off, you might find her camping in the wilderness and, perhaps, trying to befriend a fox! Even so, she would never pass up a chance to binge-watch old horror movies on the couch.
All information on Oxylabs Blog is provided on an "as is" basis and for informational purposes only. We make no representation and disclaim all liability with respect to your use of any information contained on Oxylabs Blog or any third-party websites that may be linked therein. Before engaging in scraping activities of any kind you should consult your legal advisors and carefully read the particular website's terms of service or receive a scraping license.
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