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Best Way to Learn R
R is popularly used for data analysis, machine learning, statistical computing, data mining, bioinformatics, and for making statistical software.
There are some best ways you can follow to learn R effectively and quickly. I have outlined some of them in this article.
These are the guides I use whenever I want to learn a new technology or programming language.
If you follow these guides and act on what I have highlighted, you will be able to work with R in no time.
Here are the best ways to learn R
CHOOSE A PATH
If you want to learn R effectively, you must first determine what you want to use R for. R was designed for statistical computing, but it can be used for many other purposes.
R can be used for machine learning, Data Analysis, statistics, developing statistical software, and more.
Although the basics are going to be the same for all these fields, it is important to choose just one path for a start and you can branch out later.
Choosing a specific path makes learning less complex. If you want to use R for machine learning, then you need to focus on libraries like CARET, e1071, RandomForest, etc.
If you want to use R for Data Analysis, then you need to learn libraries like ggplot2, Dplyr, simplevis, plotly, etc.
Once you have a defined path, it becomes easy to learn R because you will only focus on the technologies and libraries related to your field.
Once you have chosen the path you want to take, you can learn more by watching free tutorials online.
For example, if you want to use R for data analysis, you can focus on watching tutorials on data analysis with R.
There are many platforms and channels that offer amazing free R tutorials. Youtube is the best platform to find free R tutorials.
Channels like FreeCodeCamp, R Programming 101, DataCamp, Simplilearn, Tutorials Point, and many others offer free tutorials on R and many other programming languages.
Once you familiarize yourself with the fundamental of R programming through free tutorials, its time to practice what you have learned.
Practice is the best way to gain a deep understanding of R. Practice, practice, practice, and practice. Practicing is the best way to learn any technology or programming language.
The more you practice, the more you will know how much progress you are making. You cannot learn R simply by watching others use it.
You need to work with the language yourself, only then will you be able to know how much you have learned and what you need to work on.
I cannot say this enough, practice, practice, practice and practice.
Building projects is the best way to practice working with R. When you have chosen your path and have learned the basics, use your knowledge to build simple projects, then keep working on them to cement your understanding.
In the process of building projects, you will come up against many challenges and bugs, and in the process of solving these challenges, you will gain valuable problem-solving skills that will help you beyond those R projects.
You can find many free datasets that you can use for practicing and building projects on Kaggle and other platforms.
TAKE ONLINE COURSES
As you build projects, you can take a step further and take an online course or a Bootcamp.
These online courses especially those offered by big companies like Udacity, or Coursera will help you gain a unique understanding of industry standards.
For example, Google has a Professional Data Analytics course on Coursera that takes 3 – 6 months to complete. The programming language used in this course is R.
In the process, you will learn the industry standard for Data Analytics and you will be able to work on a real-world project at the end of the course.
JOIN ONLINE COMMUNITIES
Another best way to learn R is to join online R communities. These can be Facebook Groups, forums, subreddits, or platforms like Stack Overflow and Github.
Online communities are important to help you keep up with recent development in your field. They can also help you when you get stuck.
TAKE CHALLENGES AND TESTS
Once you have a certain level of understanding of R, it is easy to get comfortable.
But you must challenge yourself to work on more advanced concepts than those that you are already comfortable with.
You can begin to work on data structures and algorithms, you can also participate in online challenges, hackathons, and tests.
These challenges will help you to develop different ways of approaching and solving problems.
You can find different types of challenges and Hackathons in different fields on Devpost.
Devpost is a home of hackathons, by participating in these hackathons, you can win amazing prizes and open up many windows of opportunities.
Reading R and programming books is another best way to learn R. In my article Should Programmers Read Books, I highlighted the best kinds of books that programmers should read.
Reading books has many great benefits for programmers. It will help you to increase your level of focus and engage your brain in great mental exercises.
CAN I LEARN R ON MY OWN
Yes, R is not a very difficult language to learn and work with. You can learn R on your own by following the R documentation or any well-laid-out tutorial.
Even without any coding experience, you will be able to pick up R more quickly than many other programming languages used in the data ecosystem like Julia, or Java.
Whatever you do, make sure to practice and build projects, this is among the best ways to learn R. You should also challenge yourself to learn advanced concepts that you are not comfortable with.