What happens when two professors of Statistics get together and decide that they want to find a better way to teach Statistics to their students?
Why the R programming language is born of course!
From humble academic beginnings in 1993, R has exploded in popularity to become one of the world's most widely used programming languages for data analysis and statistical computing.
R is an open-source programming language specialised for working with data.
It includes powerful capabilities for statistical modelling, data visualisation, and data transformation.
Over the years, R has grown to become a universal language of data science.
Some key reasons for R's popularity include:
- Strong statistical computing foundations - R was designed by statisticians for statisticians. It has fantastic built-in functions for tasks like regression, hypothesis testing, time series analysis, and more.
- Cutting-edge machine learning - With the rise of AI, R has become a preferred choice for machine learning. It supports all the latest ML algorithms and techniques.
- Top-notch data visualisation - R makes it easy to create stunning data visualisations and graphics with just a few lines of code.
- Vibrant open source ecosystem - R has over 19,000 packages available on CRAN covering nearly any data-related task imaginable. The R community is constantly growing.
- Versatility - R is used across academia, tech companies, banks, government agencies and more. It can handle small scripts to enterprise-scale analytics.
While Python has emerged as a major competitor, R remains a top choice for manipulating, analysing and visualising data.
Here's a quick comparison between R and some other popular languages:
- Python - More general purpose. Better for building production apps. R has the edge for statistical modelling and visualisation.
- SQL - Better for querying and manipulating structured databases. R is better for ad-hoc analytics on diverse datasets.
- Java - A robust general-purpose language. R is more specialised for data tasks. Slower to write but faster to run.
- Matlab - Also popular in academic settings. R has broader open-source packages and community support.
For manipulating, exploring, and gaining insights from data - R stands out as a top choice among data scientists and analysts.
Its specialised capabilities make it well worth learning.
And what’s more, there are many resources available online for you to start learning R for free today.
Here are eight top resources for learning the R programming language for free:
#1 - Codecademy
Codecademy's Learn R course is a great introduction to the R programming language, focusing on its applications in data science.
The course is designed to give you essential skills like coding in R, data organisation, data cleaning, and data visualisation using popular packages like dplyr and ggplot2.
With a syllabus that includes 16 lessons, 10 hands-on projects, and 10 quizzes, the course covers foundational topics ranging from basic R syntax to advanced statistical methods like hypothesis testing.
Ideal for those interested in statistical analysis, data visualisation, and data science, this course provides a nice foundation built around the central data science concept: The DataFrame.
#2 - Programiz
Programiz's Learn R Programming course offers a step-by-step tutorial format to guide you through the essentials of R programming.
The course is organised into key sections that include an introduction to the language, flow control mechanisms, various data structures, and techniques for data visualisation and manipulation.
With a focus on both foundational concepts and advanced topics, the course also provides valuable insights into why one should learn R and offers additional resources for further learning.
Ideal for those new to R or looking to deepen their understanding, this course aims to provide a holistic view of R programming.
#3 - Guru99
Guru99's R Tutorial for Beginners is a detailed course designed to take you from the basics to advanced topics in R programming.
The course is divided into several key sections, including an introduction to R and its installation, data preparation and manipulation, programming fundamentals, data analysis techniques, and machine learning applications such as regression and decision trees.
It also provides real-world examples to supplement lessons on various R functionalities like loops, functions, and data frames. Additionally, the course offers essential "Must Know" lessons comparing R with other languages like Python and SAS, as well as career-guiding resources like interview questions and book recommendations.
A basic understanding of statistical concepts is recommended for those taking the course.
#4 - Posit Cloud (formerly RStudio Cloud)
Posit Cloud's tutorials (formerly RStudio Cloud), formerly known as RStudio Cloud Primers, offer a convenient and hassle-free way to learn R programming.
These tutorials are accessible directly from your browser, eliminating the need for any software installation.
This cloud-based learning environment focuses on teaching the basics of R and is designed to be user-friendly, making it an excellent starting point for those new to data science.
What's more, Posit Cloud accounts are free for personal use, requiring only a login, which allows you to dive into R programming with minimal fuss and no financial commitment.
#5 - TutorialsPoint
TutorialPoint's Learn R Programming tutorial is tailored for software programmers, statisticians, and data miners interested in leveraging R for statistical computing.
This beginner-friendly resource offers a modular approach to learning R, covering everything from basic syntax and data types to advanced topics like various forms of regression, data visualisation, and specialised statistical techniques.
It also includes sections on data interfaces, dealing with different file formats like CSV and Excel, as well as providing useful resources like interview questions for job seekers.
This extensive tutorial sets a solid foundation for R learners and offers avenues for more advanced study.
#6 - Great Learning
Great Learning's Introduction to R course is a beginner-friendly certificate program that offers a comprehensive foundation in R programming.
The course covers essential topics, from variables and data structures to control mechanisms and packages, all taught by experienced instructors.
It emphasises hands-on exercises and real-world applications, including data manipulation, statistical analysis, and visualisation techniques like scatter plots and histograms.
The course aims to give you the skills needed for tasks like exploratory data analysis, predictive modelling, and even advanced data science projects.
#7 - Educative
Educative's Learn R from Scratch course provides an interactive, text-based learning environment that takes you from zero knowledge of R to an advanced understanding of topics like exception handling.
The curriculum includes sections on variables, R objects, operators, conditional statements, loops, functions, and input/output, among others.
The course emphasises hands-on coding practice within your browser, without the need for additional setups or installations.
The approach is designed to be twice as fast as video tutorials, and it includes built-in assessments and completion certificates to validate your learning progress.
#8 - Simplilearn
Simplilearn's R Programming for Beginners course is a free, self-paced offering designed to give both aspiring and current professionals foundational and advanced R programming skills.
The course curriculum covers a wide range of topics from variables, data types, and operators to loops, strings, and functions.
Suitable for software and testing professionals, data science enthusiasts, and aspiring programmers, the course includes 7 hours of video content accessible for 90 days.
Completing this course could open up opportunities for roles like data analyst at major companies, with the average R programmer.
The platform offering this course, provides a wide array of courses in various fields, enabling you to up-skill at your own pace.
We can’t mention free online resources without taking a look at YouTube, one of the largest hubs for learning how to code (and basically anything!)
Here are a few great YouTube tutorials for learning R programming:
- R Programming Full Course for 2023 - by Simplilearn
- Learn R in 39 minutes - by Equitable Equations
- R Programming Tutorial - by freeCodeCamp
With the rise of data science, R has positioned itself as one of the most important programming languages for anyone looking to work with data.
Its specialised capabilities for statistical analysis, machine learning, and visualisation make it a versatile tool for data professionals.
The great news is that R is open source and has a wealth of free learning resources available online.
Whether you're just starting or looking to expand your skills, this article highlighted some of the best free courses, tutorials, and videos to help you master R programming.
While R has a bit of a learning curve, these resources break down key concepts and allow hands-on practice to build up your abilities.
R's popularity is only growing. Taking advantage of these free learning materials is an excellent way to add this high-demand skill to your skill set.
With R programming knowledge, you'll be able to better analyse data, derive impactful insights, and visualise results to tell compelling stories - valuable abilities in fields ranging from finance to public policy and beyond 🚀.
So R you ready for success?
From your fellow ever-growing dev,
💙 If you liked this article...
I publish a weekly newsletter to a community of ever-growing developers, seeking to improve programming skills and stay on a journey of continuous self-improvement. Focusing on tips for powering up your programming productivity 🚀.
Get more articles like this straight to your inbox.
And stay in touch on 𝕏 @evergrowingdev
And if you're looking for the right tools to build awesome things, check out Devpages.io, an ultimate hub I built with 100s of developer tools and resources 🛠