Category: Web scraping

Skills Needed For Web Scraping; Detailed Guide

11 mins read Created Date: August 15, 2022   Updated Date: February 22, 2023
In this article, we told you about the basics of web scraping, why web scraping is used, what skills you need for web scraping, and why you should learn web scraping. Let’s see how to prepare yourself for this work!

Web scraping, which is often used for purposes such as price tracking, enriching models used for machine learning, collecting data to be used in financial fields, tracking consumer emotions, and gathering information about news, takes large amounts of data from websites. Although internet browsers can show you the content on the websites as well as bring the data to you, it will be extremely tedious and time-consuming to constantly collect different data from different sources manually. Using web scraping, you can automate this manual process and easily extract data from websites.

In this article, we told you about the basics of web scraping, why web scraping is used, what skills you need for web scraping, and why you should learn web scraping.

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Web Scraping Fundamentals

Web scraping, which can also be referred to as crawling or spider web, is the process of collecting data from an online resource on a predetermined website, and this process is carried out completely automatically. Even though web scraping is a great way to help you get a large amount of data in an extremely short time when done automatically, the server where the source of these contents is located will be extremely stressed. Server owners, knowing that servers will be under stress, do not allow many websites to put them all together and prohibit web scraping. However, web scraping can be used and acceptable as long as it does not impair the primary function of the online resource, i.e. the website.

Although web scraping has legal difficulties, it still continues to be popular and used. The most important reason why web scraping is used so much is that analysts need this data in an organized way. Considering that the various learning model and analytics engine is gaining more importance, people need to get raw data. Web scraping, on the other hand, continues to be used by anyone who needs raw data, as it is the easiest way to gather information.

Why Use Web Scraping: Four Typical Web Scraping Practices

Although web scraping can be used in almost any area you can think of, we have mentioned the four most typical web scraping applications in this section. These applications can be listed as social media sentiment analysis, e-commerce pricing, investment opportunities, and machine learning. Let’s take a brief look at them now:

  • Social media sentiment analysis: Even though social media posts have a short shelf life and almost the majority of posts lose their popularity in just a few hours, we can see how society tends when we look at social media posts collectively. Although many social media platforms use APIs that allow 3rd party tools to access data, such data may not be enough for you. If you want to do social media sentiment analysis, you should scrape social media sites and take a detailed and real-time look at trending emotions, expressions, and topics.
  • E-commerce pricing: Since the products of e-commerce sellers are listed on more than one website, it is necessary to examine more than one website at the same time to perform a price analysis on a product. Because manual scraping is extremely difficult, you can use web scraping to monitor product pricing across multiple platforms and choose the market where you can maximize your profits.
  • Investment opportunities: Real estate investors need to do a lot of research to discover promising neighborhoods before they can invest. Although there are many ways real estate investors who need a lot of knowledge in this field can use to obtain data, the best and fastest method is web scraping. By using web scraping, it is possible to obtain valuable information, such as on websites that list places where travelers can stay. In addition, using the information in these accommodation places, the highest rated accommodation can be examined and the opportunities that people who use the accommodation service are looking for can be determined.
  • Machine learning models: Web scraping is used so that machine learning models that need raw data to improve themselves and develop in general can continue and sustain themselves. With web scraping tools, a large number of data sources can be scraped in an extremely short time, and it is possible to have various data as texts and images can also be scraped. As machine learning models fuel technologies such as driverless cars, space flight, and image and speech recognition today, the accuracy and reliability of these models need to increase, and this requires accurate and raw information.

What Skills Are Needed For Web Scraping?

Want to scrape data from the internet but don’t know what skills you need to learn web scraping? So, in this section, we will talk about what skills are needed, how you can have these skills and how you can master these skills, and how people use these powerful skills in their daily lives.

Before you start, let’s say that the things you need to do to learn web scraping are to learn the programming language, acquire HTML, CSS, and JS coding skills, and inspect the elements on the web page. Now, with your permission, we can begin.

You Must Learn a Programming Language for Web Scraping

To learn Web scraping, which is a purely software-based process, you need to know and be proficient in at least one of the popular programming languages ​​such as Python or Ruby. If you want to make money from the internet and you are going to use web scraping for it, make sure that these two programming languages ​​are in your portfolio. We can also list and explain the programming languages ​​you can learn for web scraping as follows:

  • Node.js: One of the best programming languages ​​to use if you want to do web scraping or crawl data, Node.js can also be used to index different web pages in a single directory. You can also run a distributed crawl and perform web scraping projects at the same time with Node.js. However, it should be noted that the node.js programming language is only suitable for basic web scraping projects and is too plain to be used for large-scale projects.
  • C and C++: The most commonly used programming languages, C and C++ are programming languages ​​that are extraordinarily good and useful for web scraping as they provide a great user experience. You can easily use these languages ​​to build a basic web scraper, but let’s just say that these languages ​​are not suitable for building a web browser.
  • PHP: We can easily say that PHP is the best programming language for web scraping. Also, the PHP programming language is the most detailed program that can be used to develop powerful web scrapers and web scraper extensions.
  • Python: As an expert in Python, which is one of the most popular and best programming languages ​​for web scraping just like PHP, you can easily handle multiple data crawling and web scraping tasks at the same time, and you don’t need to learn complex codes to do web scraping with Python. Three of Python’s most famous and widely used frameworks are Requests, Scrappy, and BeautifulSoup. Although Request is less well-known than Scrapy and BeautifulSoup, it also has many different features that can make your job easier. The Scrapy framework, which is a good alternative to, is used to scrape data from dynamic websites. The last and most popular framework, BeautifulSoup, is an extremely powerful Python library with which you can run efficient and high-speed web scraping projects.


You Must Acquire HTML, CSS, and Javascript Coding Skills for Web Scraping

We mentioned that web scraping uses browser-enabled JavaScript libraries. At the same time, web scrapers help you scrape data from websites that use any structure of HTML and CSS tag structures. The more you know about this process and the more you repeat this process, the easier it will be for you to identify and scrape data from websites. You also need to know that websites are made up of several different HTML, CSS, and JavaScript codes. To acquire coding skills, you must thoroughly learn how HTML, CSS, and JS work.

You Should Learn How To Inspect Elements On A Web Page For Web Scraping

If you want to do web scraping, you must examine and identify the web page elements displayed on a website. Pages on websites may contain many, sometimes thousands, and sometimes more tags. Going through each of these tags one by one and manually trying to find what you’re looking for would be a waste of time and a truly near-impossible action to succeed. If you are wondering how to inspect elements on a web page, you can use Web Developer, Firebug, Webkit Inspector, or similar Inspectors.

If you have also learned how to inspect elements, you can start using web scraping as the next step. If you have these features and skills that we have listed for you, you should be ready to get your hands dirty and write a few lines of code using one of the programming languages ​​you have learned.

Why Should You Learn Web Scraping: Job Opportunities for Web Scraping

Now that you’ve learned what skills you need to be able to do web scraping, it’s time to know why you should learn to do web scraping. We can explain why learning web scraping is important through job opportunities. Now, in order to understand and explain these business opportunities more easily, let’s examine them in a list:

  • According to data collected from LinkedIn, Web scraping experts are sought in 54 different industries. If you want to learn which areas you can work in after learning web scraping, we can say that the first areas you can apply are Computer Software, Information Technology and Services, Financial Services, Internet, Marketing and Advertising, Computer and Network Security, Insurance, Banking, Management Consulting, and Online Media. If these areas don’t interest you, you can also use your web scraping skills to find employment in industries such as Oil and Energy, Construction, Consumer Goods, Defense and Space, Personnel and Recruitment, Hospital and Healthcare, Education Administration, and Government Administration.
  • Although people think that this skill can only be used in computer and technology fields, since web scraping is an activity done with the help of codes and technology, they are really wrong. Although it is extremely surprising, we can say that the job fields you can find once you have web scraping skills include human Resources, marketing, business development, research, sales, and consulting.
  • When we take a look at the publicly available data published on Glassdoor, salaries for various jobs range from $25,000 to $203k. Among these jobs, the highest-paying occupations are those that require web scraping skills, such as senior data engineer and data scientist. In other words, when you add web scraping skills to your skills, you can easily see that your monthly salary will increase exponentially.
  • When we look at the data published on Glassdoor, we can easily see that the computer and technology sector is among the ten best paying sectors. With your web scraping skill, which you can use to get involved in this sector, you can start to get seriously high salaries.
  • Considering the data we have obtained, we can clearly say that if you want to work in a technology company, you must have web scraping skills. While researching this data, we benefited from the data in the job postings of Google, a technology giant company with highly professional web scraping experts in the field of Software and Information Technologies. Youtube, which is also a subsidiary of Google, is also known to hire people with high-level web scraping skills in different job categories. Although Google places great emphasis on web scraping expertise in whatever field they hire, web scraping experts who apply to YouTube can work in Marketing and Communications, Software Engineering, Partnerships, Product and Customer Support, and Business Strategy.

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Let’s understand the importance of data visualization before start to work with web scraping.