Shell-based plain text editors give you a quick way to edit texts
As a data scientist, you'll possibly end up working on a remote machine. This necessitates using a remote ssh session, usually in a terminal shell. At other times, in a pinch, you might need to quickly edit a file on your local filesystem and need access to a shell. Thus, knowing how to use/wrangle at least one of the built-in ones that are widely available in most systems will allow you to make quick edits on the fly.
The most important things to learn are to:
As long as you can master those three actions in any text editor, you're gold. Don't worry about other extensions and add-ons until you've mastered these steps and can execute them from memory.
Three of them are the most famous:
nano is usually available in most systems, and has a relatively low learning curve. You can also customize it to do syntax highlighting! (see: Enhance nano with syntax highlighting)
vim is the butt of many jokes on "how to exit text editors", but really it's easy:
:wq(the colon enters command-line mode, the
wstands for write, and the
In normal mode, there is also:
Shift + zz for save and quit, or
Shift + zq for quit without save. (h/t Arkadij Kummer for surfacing this one to me.)
If you need to save the file, you'll be prompted.
Enhance nano with syntax highlighting
Nano is pretty bare-bones. That said, syntax highlighting is the one biggest upgrade to plain text nano that one can make. Syntax highlighting in nano helps the way syntax highlighting helps in any other text editor: it helps you find the salient features of a language (flow control and loops, and error messages) that might be handy for reading code.
Anthony Scopatz has this repo of nano syntax highlighting configurations that you can use. It includes installation instructions as well!
Choose and customize your development environment
At the end of the day, we choose a development environment that we are most comfortable with. The interface with our colleagues is at the level of what we share, so this should not be the highest of your concerns. Nonetheless, let me showcase where some tools can be used. Above all, avoid religious wars about text editors. Be productive, stay productive.