Your verification ID is: guDlT7MCuIOFFHSbB3jPFN5QLaQ Big Computing: Resources to Learn R for new users

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Resources to Learn R for new users

Historically R has a very steep learning curve, and there are many people who have become frustrated and given up before they achieved their goal of getting their R skills up to the level they need to make R useful to them in their field of interest. I am often asked to provide training to new R users which my current company and my previous company both do. In fact there are many companies that provide R training, and do an excellent job of it. The problem is this type of training is designed for a larger group of people and is simply not affordable for the single R user who wants to start with R or improve their skills.

There are some great books that can start you off in R. I actually learned R using the Baseball Hacks book by Joseph Adler which was a fun way to get me to the level I needed. I also know a number of people who started with R by using the R in a Nutshell also by Joseph Adler. While I have used this book in more recent times and have found it very helpful. Recently the R Cookbook by Paul Teetor has been recommended as a great way to start learning R. Again I have heard nothing but good things but this book. I have also heard that using Rstudio helps to speed up the process of learning R.

Also the R users groups are a good resource for help getting started in R. The Greater Boston R user group does a presentation before the main talk of the evening at each one of its meetups dedicated to addressing the needs of newer users. The slides for these talks are on their meetup site. A number of the people I have worked with used R-Help as a tool to assist them in learning R. I tried this a little when I started and it was not really helpful for me, but for people with other styles of learning it may be great.

If you are a member of ASA the  various chapter periodically do introduction to R training for a very low cost. A few months back the Boston chapter of the ASA did a one day introduction to R for around $25.

Recently David Smith of REvolution Analytics announced a series on online training courses for about $400 . There  are various training classes offered at industry conferences like Predictive Analytics World. You should expect to pay anywhere from $400 to $1,200 for a training class at these events. If you go to the New York Predictive Analytics Newbie R Training in October the instructor is Max Kuhn. You could not pick a better R instructor than Max.

I wish there where more resources out there to help the new R users along. I think choosing to approach R through a book or an introductory training class really depends on how you most effectively learn. I do believe that regardless of the path you choose installing Rstudio will help a great deal in your effort.

I know there have to be other helpful resources out there. If anyone knows of one please either email me or add a comment here, and I will add them to this post.