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Should I Learn R?


If you are new to programming and trying to decide where to start, the choices can seem endless. There are so many programming languages to choose from. How do you know which one is for you?

The R programming language may be one of the languages you ran into in your search. And you might be wondering if R is the language for you. To help you decide, let’s take a look at why someone would want to learn R, what it is used for, and how easy it is to learn.

Why should I learn R?

R is the programming language for data. It was designed for statisticians and is specialized for statistical programming. There are a multitude of libraries that give the language capabilities in data visualization and machine-learning. You might think this specialization limits the usage of R. Still, it is actually a popular programming language used in just about every industry you can think of.

Modern business runs on data. Every company has potential insights that would remain buried in the terabytes of data generated every year if it wasn’t for data analysts and data scientists. In fact, businesses of all types and sizes choose to unlock these insights in their data with the R programming language. So let’s look at some of the things you can use R for.

What is R used for?

R is one of the most in-demand programming languages in many industries. Here are some places R is used:

Healthcare

R is used in drug discovery to analyze the data in pre-clinical drug trials and to predict how a pandemic will spread in epidemiology. It is also used in genetics and bioinformatics.

Fintech

Fintech businesses use technology to handle money, and R is widely used in this industry. For example, quantitative analysts use R to devise trading models that automatically invest clients’ money in the stock market. In addition, banks use R to create credit risk models, fraud detection models, mortgage models, and loan stress test simulations.

Weather

The National Weather Service uses R to predict disasters, forecast the weather, and create weather forecast graphics.

Research

Academics and researchers use the R programming language extensively. Just about every course at Cornell involving statistical computing teaches R. University of California students are introduced to R to study statistics and data analysis.

Retail

Retailers and e-commerce businesses use R to assess risk and create marketing strategies. R’s machine learning technology capabilities are used to increase profits and sales through cross-selling and suggesting related products at checkout. Retailers also use R to model sales and target advertisements. The data analytics departments of Amazon and Flipkart both use R.

Manufacturing

Many companies use the R programming language to analyze customer feedback and improve their products. To improve the design and appeal of Ford’s vehicles, Ford analyzes consumer sentiment using R. With the help of R, John Deere can calculate how many spare parts and products are necessary based on crop yield and other data.

Social Media

Data abounds in the social media industry. Every time we use the internet, we are tracked. Each and every action is recorded in some database, waiting for an analyst to examine it. In many cases, a social media site’s only source of revenue is the data it has on its users and targeted advertising. R programs are used for social media analytics, segmenting prospects, and targeting ads.

Can I learn R on my own?

Of course, you can. In fact,many working programmers don’t have a computer science degree and have learned how to program outside of college. While many programming jobs do require a degree, it does not have to be in computer science. Programmers are in such high demand that programming skills are often all you need to get the job.

So building R programming skills on your own at your own pace is always a great option. But if you are new to programming, it can be tough to know where to start. Our Learn R course is designed for beginners. It starts with concepts that anyone can grasp and takes you all the way to becoming  an R data analysis expert.

How quickly can I learn R?

The time it takes to learn R depends on the time you devote to learning and what you want to do with the language. A beginner-friendly course like Learn R takes about 20 hours to complete. So if you have an hour a day to devote to learning R, then you can complete the course in less than a month. Of course, if you have more time, you can complete the course even quicker. You may also find you really like the language and want to spend more time learning and take more courses.

Where to learn R

Now you should know a little more about the R programming language. So what do you think? Is it the language for you? It might be if you are interested in data analysis, data visualization, or machine learning. And R programmers are always in demand in multiple industries because every modern enterprise needs data analysis experts to provide insights that help businesses grow and thrive.

If R is your language of choice, then check out our Learn R course. This will teach you fundamental programming concepts using R. You will learn how to organize, modify, and clean data, create data visualizations, and know the basics of statistics and hypothesis testing. To take your R education even further, you can take our Analyzing Data with R Skill Path for more hands-on training in statistical programming. For a deeper dive into statistics, you can try Learn Statistics with R.

June 28, 2021

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