Morning coffee: scripting language

March 13, 2014

(This article was first published on There is grandeur in this view of life » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Several people have asked: what scripting language should biologists learn if they are interested in doing a little larger-scale data analysis and have never programmed before? I’m not an expert, but these are the kinds of things I tend to say:

The language is not so important; the same principles apply everywhere. Use what your friends and colleagues use so you can get help from them. I believe most people would answer Python. I would answer R. Don’t believe people who tell you that R is not a serious language. You’re already familiar with analysing small datasets in a statistics program. You can do that in R too, and then the step to writing code and handling larger projects is actually very short. Your data will very likely come in tables, and R is very good at that. You’ll also want pretty graphs, and R is very good at that too. Regardless, have a look at the other common languages as well. Practice working from a terminal.

Postat i:computer stuff, data analysis, english, morning coffee Tagged: #blogg100, R

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